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Stop occupation of tribal land and settlement at Moreh Chikim village: TSA

IMPHAL | Oct 23

Thadou Students’ Association (TSA) has expressed strong objections to the alleged grabbing and occupation of “tribal land” at Chikim Village in Moreh, where a plan for settlement of non-tribal population is underway.

After hearing news of construction of houses and work activities to build hundreds of houses for non-tribal population in tribal land at Moreh Chikim village, a team of TSA visited the site and confirmed that the settlement plan is indeed happening in full swing, said a release. This has to stop as such activity in tribal land sharply contravenes the tribal peoples’ right to their land, it stated.

It has been learnt that a house under construction at the site belongs to one commanding officer of the Assam Rifles battalion at Tengnoupal, colonel Nectar Singh, the release informed.

The master plan or the plan lay-out of the colony, showing map of the settlement with demarcation of roads and distribution of house plots said to be up to 500, has spread on social media with community members voicing their anger and concern, it said.

The release further said that it is possible that the army officer might have used his position or influence to acquire the land in connivance with some unscrupulous government officers and anti-social elements from within the community, but this is without the consent of the community and is unacceptable.

In the early 1990s some valley people requested for a piece of land to build a temple, later named Kondong Lairembi, in the area where the said settlement is now being built, it further said. In good faith, community leaders (MTC, now HTC) at the time agreed to give a small piece of land with the condition that it has to be used only as a place of worship or for construction of a temple, but not for residential purpose in any manner or under any circumstances, it further informed.

The sudden appearance of construction of houses and earth work to establish a large Meitei colony in the said “tribal land” took everyone by surprise as this land and all the surrounding areas have always been tribal land since time immemorial, it said.

As a community we will not hesitate to reclaim the land given for the said temple (Kondong Lairembi) at Chikim village now that it is being used as a tool to grab land and set up a colony against the wishes of the land owner tribal people, it stated. This construction and the plan to establish a colony of valley people in the said hill tribal land has to stop immediately and the land be handed back to the rightful traditional land owners as such activity hurting the sentiments of tribal land owner community is potential of causing a communal flare up, it said.

Government authorities concerned also must investigate into the matter urgently and take up appropriate actions against any wrong-doing officers and any other individuals or parties involved in this unlawful transfer of tribal land to non-tribal, it continued.

For the sake of mutual respect, communal harmony, peace and justice, TSA would like to ask whoever is constructing or planning to construct or carry out the settlement plan to stop immediately, it further said. Should this call be not heeded, TSA will rightfully launch protest with the support of all tribal communities and right thinking citizens of the state until the settlement activity stops completely, it added.

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