A peaceful rally against the alleged BJP government's approach towards the tribal land rights and policies was held on March 10 in all Kuki inhabited districts of Manipur.
The peaceful rally according to the Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM) is an earnest appeal to the Governor of Manipur to intervene against Reserve Forest, Protected Forest, Protected Sites, Wildlife Sanctuaries, the extension of Land Revenue in the Scheduled Hill Areas of Manipur, and show cause notice issued to Scheduled Hill areas and tribal villages of Manipur by the Forest separtment for eviction drive.
Despite the prohibitory order issued by the concerned district administration, the peace rally was reportedly carried out in Churachandpur, Chandel, Ukhrul, Jiribam, Tamenglong, and Tengnoupal apart from other Kuki-inhabited areas and at the National Capital New Delhi peacefully. However, the peace rally at Kangpokpi turned violent when security forces stopped the rallyists from proceeding further for handing a memorandum addressed to the Governor at the DC office, Kangpokpi.
In a viral video, an Inspector of Police Commandos was seen manhandling and thrashing a lady with a stick along the National Highway while the lady was reportedly on her way to join the peace rally while the officer was also seen taking the mobile phone of a man sitting at a Pharmacy near the spot, which enraged the mob.
To control and disperse the mammoth crowd participating in the rally, security forces started firing teargas shells but the situation turned otherwise as the crowd reiterated by pelting stones at security forces. It was when the security forces began to indulge in blank firing.
The tear gas fired to disperse the mob were mostly expired while many empty cases of live bullets were also found on the roadside.
The confrontations culminated after Kuki Inpi Kangpokpi district leaders were allowed to hand over the memorandum at DC Office Kangpokpi. The memorandum addressed to the Governor of Manipur was received by Addl. District Magistrate/ADC Kangpokpi.
The peaceful rally was held in various parts of Kangpokpi district including Saikul, Phailengmol, Twibul, Moltam, Twilang, Chingdai Khullen, and Bungpi areas.
Thangminlen Kipgen, Vice President, Kuki Inpi Kangpokpi District told the media that the tribal populations of Manipur have been subjected to various discrimination and subjugation in the forms of Reserve Forest, Protected Forest, Protected Sites, Wildlife Sanctuaries, MLR Act, etc. which compelled them to decide under the provision of Article 19 of the Indian Constitution to assemble peacefully to show their grievances and opposition to the act of the incumbent Government and this was well informed to the District Administration.
The Kuki Inpi Manipur and the Kuki Students' Organisation General Headquarters also vehemently condemned the incident at Kangpokpi.
In the memorandum submitted to the Governor of Manipur, Anusaiya Uikey through DC Kangpokpi, the Kuki Inpi Kangpokpi submitted the various grievances of the tribal village chiefs and villagers and sought her intervention against Reserve Forest, Protected Forest, Protected Sites, Wildlife Sanctuaries, extension of Land Revenue in the Scheduled Hill Areas of Manipur and Show Cause notice issued to Scheduled Hill Areas and tribal villages of Manipur by forest department for eviction drive.
It stated that there has been an acute inflict of the tribal village chiefs and villagers in the scheduled Hill areas of Manipur beyond utterance by the Forest Department, Revenue Department, Art & Culture Department, Wildlife Sanctuary and National Parks Department, Government of Manipur.
It continued that the tribal of Manipur have always been the rightful land-holders since colonial times and as such, it would not be amiss to label the community as no less than being sons of the soil while adding that our customs and traditions are passed down orally and therefore, our conventional system has no written script. However, there are certain government notifications and orders which have recognized the existence of Many tribal villages of which proper records are maintained, it added.