The Sadar Hills Tribals' Union on Land and Forest (SHITULF) has adopted resolutions on various tribal issues, including land and forest in Sadar Hills, Kangpokpi district in its emergency meeting on November 7.
The press communique signed by the union chairman, M Dominic, and general secretary Thangminlen Kipgen reiterated that the Sadar Hills Tribals' Union on Land and Forest was formed with the main objective to protect the Sadar Hills tribals of its land and forest from external forces that seek to encroach upon or illegally acquire land on July 4, 2022, and it will function along the provisions of the Indian Constitution by dint of Article 361(C).
Sadar Hills Tribals' Union on Land and Forest is a conglomerate body of all tribals of Sadar Hills Kangpokpi district, mainly those belonging to the Kuki and Naga communities.
The union leaders stated that it had an emergency meeting at the Autonomous District Council Bhavan, Imphal on November 7 with various tribal bodies and chiefs discussing matters pertaining to tribal forest rights and ownership of the forest and other land matters wherein the state government had outrightly claimed many villages of Kangpokpi district to be overlapping with many non-hill districts of the state.
The emergency meeting, according to the union, was also attended by tribal villages chiefs, association leaders, developmental bodies, and various civil bodies including prominent civil bodies like the Sadar Hils Chiefs' Association (SAHILCA), the Nongmaiching Area Chiefs/Chairman Khullakpa Association (NACCK), Kuki Inpi Phailengmol, Island Block Development Committee, Bungpi Area Chiefs' Association, Vaiphei Peoples' Council Eastern Block, etc.
After a threadbare discussion on the various agendas which included the rationalisation of police jurisdiction and boundary under Kangpokpi district, the assembled house unanimously adopted various resolutions with regard to the protection of Sadar Hills tribals of its land and forest.
On the issue of overlapping villages between Kangpokpi and Imphal West districts vide GOM order No. DRO-106/14/2022-REV-REVENUE, SHITULF rejected the order as it finds it baseless that the state government would find confusion over its own issued gazette orders wherein every village is clearly demarcated within a certain district.
It is also confusing to assume that MLR and LR Act 1971 would find its way into the hill districts which is clearly forbidden by Art 371(C) wherein the Revenue department has no such say or authority in villages within Sadar Hills of Kangpokpi district, it added.
It also resolved that the wnion would appeal to its elected representatives to implement the previous 2013 order of the state government to transfer all land records to the concerned Deputy Commissioner.
On transferring of Reserved forests from Kangpokpi district to Imphal East district under the Central Forest Division, the affected villages through SHITULF strongly rejected the gazette order of File No. DRO-105/4/2022-REV-REVENUE and questioned the rationality behind encroaching upon non-revenue un-surveyed villages and declaring those hill villages as revenue villages for the sake of “better forest administration”.
It is surprising to note that these hill villages are being “stolen” under the guise of the forest administration, which is illegal, undemocratic, and unconstitutional, it stated and resolved that the SHITULF shall appealed to the state government to follow the due process of law and rectify/quash its order, if not, any untoward escalations in this regard will be solely the responsibility of the state government.
On the issue of rationalising of Kangpokpi district police jurisdiction, the house resolved to approach and entrust the three MLAs of the district at the earliest to take up the issue in the strongest terms for the welfare and better administration of the district police and also resolved to submit memoranda to the elected representatives for setting up more Police stations and outposts and bringing in all villages under Kangpokpi district under the supervision and authority of SP Kangpokpi.
The meeting also resolved to delegate a team under SHITULF to meet the Chairperson of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes at Delhi to raise the concerns of the tribal populace of the district and to also submit a memorandum to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India within 2022.