Updated on 31 Jan 2021, 1:10 pm
Six villagers of Konsakhul village and five police personnel sustained injuries during a confrontation at National Sports University site on Friday.
Konsakhul Area Joint Action Committee has also declared indefinite bandh in the state from January 31 midnight along the national and state highways including a ban on all national projects in Naga inhabited areas.
However, essential services including medical emergency, fire brigade, media, power, water supply and telecommunication services will be exempted, as per the Committee. It demanded immediate suspension of the officer in-charge involved for shooting live rounds to the protestors.
According to the villagers, police fired tear gas and live bullets at villagers who were heading for a peaceful demonstration at National Sports University site.
As informed by the villagers, two villagers among the six are in serious conditions. The villagers have also collected empty bullet cases to prove that the police fired live bullets.
Speaking to the Imphal Free Press, advisor of Konsakhul Area Joint Action Committee Adonpou Abonmai said they are not against other villages surrounding the university but demand the state government to acknowledge the true owner of the land and settle the land dispute.
Adonpou said the villagers have submitted memorandums to the Centre, authorities of the state government, demanding that the construction of National Sports University should be halted until the controversy over the land is solved.
Demanding the same, the villagers have also conducted a press briefing. However, there has been no response from any authority concerned.
Adonpou said, “The villagers were heading for a peaceful demonstration towards the university. But, the police fired tear gas shells and live bullets before we even reached the university.” As the police fired live bullets, the villagers also retaliated in whatever ways they can, he added.
The villagers welcomed the construction of the university but the true land owner must be consulted, he asserted.
The advisor also said that the university has been constructed without the approval of Konsakhul village, the true land owner of the university. Konsakhul has documents to prove that the land belongs to Konsakhul, he mentioned.
He said that on January 27, the villagers also snatched the keys of the machines/ vehicles used in construction of the university to draw the government’s attention. However, the construction still continues, he added.
According to police sources, five police personnel including SDPO, Lamphel Thomas Thokchom and four commandos were injured when the protester pelted stones. The police personnel warned the villagers to refrain from any violent activities. But as the mob continued to agitate, the police fired tear gas and dispersed them.
Police sources also reported that they were doing their duties at the NSU site to protect and prevent unwanted incidents.
During the incident, one excavator and one Maruti 800 car were vandalised by the protestors. When the agitators were dispersed, some of the agitators torched the temporary huts belonging to the construction workers.
Meanwhile, National Sports University, Haraothel Protection Committee (NSUHPC) stated that the incident clearly indicated that villagers of Konsakhul are against the construction of NSU at Haraothel.
The village chief of Konsakhul can take the matter to the Court if they are against the construction of the university, a release signed by the working chairman of NSUHPC, I Ranjan Singh stated.
The release stated that the incident could have been avoided if the volunteers of the committee were allowed to protect the site along with police personnel.
Stating that a window pane of NSU was damaged by live bullets fired during the incident, the release added that the state government should enquire the village chief of Konsakhul in connection with the incident and should arrest the person involved in firing of guns.
The committee urged the state government to give it the responsibility of protecting the construction site (NSU) if the state police failed to protect it. The village chief of Konsakhul should compensate for the damage occurred during the incident, the release added.