Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Peace rally in Mnp’s hill district turns violent


Superintendent of Police (SP) of Kangpokpi district was among several people including police who sustained minor injuries as one of the peace rallies carried out in Manipur’s Kuki dominated hill districts turned violent on Friday.
Kuki Students Organisation (KSO)-GHQ on Friday with the support of several civil organizations carried out peace rallies at various places in Kangpokpi, Churachandpur and Tengnoupal districts today.
Thousands of people participated in the rallies carried despite the promulgation of restrictions including assembly of five or people that likely turn violent under sections of 144 CrPC.
Defying the restrictions, a large number of people from across the district converged at Brig Thomas Ground at Kangpokpi district headquarters to take part in the rally.
The rally kicked off around 11.20 am and when they reached the DC office to submit a memorandum, a strong police force stopped them from further proceeding while informing about the restriction under section 144CrPC promulgated by the DC.
When the participants tried to forcibly march forward, a commotion broke out between the police and rallyists.
To quell the rallyists, the police resorted to firing tear gas shells and mock bombs. Some personnel also fire real bullets in the air in their bid to disperse the participants. The rallyists also pelted stones towards the police.
In the melee, minor injuries were inflicted on both sides. Kangpokpi SP Th Bikramjit was among the police officers on duty injured in the clash. The situation calmed down only when the police allowed some leaders of the Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM), Kangpokpi district and KSO GHQ to proceed and submit a memorandum addressed to the Governor of Manipur to the additional DC.
Talking to reporters after submitting the memorandum, vice president of KIM Kangpokpi Thangminlien Kipgen alleged that the district administration tried to foil the peaceful rally of the tribal people by imposing restrictions under 144 CrPC.
He alleged that the restriction given to the peaceful rally was against the right to assemble enshrined in the constitution of India.
“We are here only to air our grievances in the form of a memorandum to the Governor through the deputy commissioner of the district,” he said.
He urged the concerned authorities of the state government to listen to the grievances of the innocent people instead of using force. Similar rallies were also carried out in Kuki dominated areas in Churachandpur and Tengnoupal districts too, defying the restrictions imposed by the respective district administrations.
However, there were no reports of any untoward incidents even as the rallies were stopped midway by the police and security forces and submitting of memorandums to the respective DCs were allowed by leaders of the rallies.
The rallies carried out under the banner “Justice toward tribal land rights” were carried out to register a strong protest against the state government’s eviction drives in the claimed reserved forest hill areas.
Recently, the authorities of the Manipur government evicted a newly established village at Kangchup Chiru in Kangchup Geljang sub-division and K Songjang village in Henglep sub-division of Churachandpur districts.
Various Kuki based tribal bodies and students’ body KSO-GHQ have been strongly protesting against the eviction drive alleging that tribal inhabited villages or land under private ownership and land under traditional chiefship have been wrongly declared as reserved forest areas.
In the memorandums submitted to the Governor through the DCs, the rally organizing bodies sought the Governor’s intervention to stop the state government’s ongoing survey in the hill areas. They alleged that the government move was to extend reserved forests, protected forests, protected sites, wildlife sanctuaries and extension of land revenue in the scheduled hill areas.
They further demanded the state government to stop serving show-cause notices issued to the scheduled hill areas and tribal villages by the state forest department for eviction.

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