TODAY -

36 houses burnt down over land dispute
5 men involved in the arson arrested

Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, May 03, 2013: Altogether 36 houses in Silent Village, which lies along the border of Senapati and Imphal East district, have been burnt down by a mob of over 300 people from the neighbouring village of Seijang following a land dispute this morning.

The unfortunate incident took place around 11 am.

At least five people who were allegedly involved in the act have been apprehended by personnel of 16-Assam Rifles and subsequently handed them over to the Police.

Following the incident, personnel of Imphal East Police Commandos, IRB personnel and personnel of 16-AR have been deployed and security measures scaled up to prevent further unwanted incidents from happening.

Top police officials are also camping in the village to calm down the situation by interacting with leaders of both the warring villages.

Narrating the incident to Hueiyen Lanpao, SR Abele, a villager of Silent informed that around 300 villagers from Seijang came to their village in the morning today.

As they thought that they might have come to the village for cutting wood, none of them in Silent village paid much attention.

But all of a sudden the villagers from Seijang started dividing themselves into groups of 6/7 and surrounded every house.

Remnants of a burnt down house in Silent village.<BR><BR>(inset) An elderly man trying to salvage from what were left in his barn.
Remnants of a burnt down house in Silent village.

(inset) An elderly man trying to salvage from what were left in his barn.


Then, they asked all the members in the family including women and children to come out.

After all the family members have come out of their respective houses and made to stay in the Church of the village, the villagers from Seijang burnt down all the houses.

A Maruti Van, a Power Tiller, a Motor Cycle and other properties were destroyed beyond redemption, the villager added.

SR Abele further informed that the place where the villagers of Silent are staying has been on dispute for the last many years.

The land dispute had even been fought in the Court and the villagers of Silent won the case.

Since then the villagers of Silent have been staying peacefully.

SR Abele also demanded the Government to pay compensation for the houses destroyed and built new houses for the villagers who are now in a state of complete disaster.

On the other hand, Waikhom Ibomcha, General Secretary of Seijang Development Committee informed Hueiyen Lanpao that the disputed land has been given to one Waikhom Thambou of Seijang village to raise and plant trees by the State Darbar in 1932.At one time, the boundary of the land extended upto Naibni River to the North, Khaijin Sinphamlok to the South, Nongmangkha Lok to the East and upto the plains in the West.

He further informed that earlier only two Kuki brothers were living on the eastern side of the land.

They were seen settling in the area till 1962 by the present generation.

At that time there was not a single person of any other tribe settling in the area.

However, after the area where the two Kuki brothers were living was occupied by another person of a different tribe, more people of the same tribe began coming to settle in the area.

As a result, dispute began to rise and a case was fought in the Court from 1971 to 1974 in which the villagers of Seijang won, he claimed.

Ibomcha went on to assert that with the passage of time, the Government of India announced the hill range as reserve forest area in 1975.However, the land in dispute which is meant to raise and plant trees was not covered by reserved forest area as announced by the Government of India.

Nonetheless, during the course of the long dispute, a number of new houses have been constructed despite various appeals from the village authority of Seijang not to construct new houses in the disputed area.

The villagers also complaint to the Government officials and also approached the village Chiefs of Silent in this regard and requested them not to expand their village any further.

Today around 300 villagers of Seijang came out to measure the length and breadth of Seijang village and proceeded towards the disputed land area.

The villagers tried to convince the people of Silent village that the area of Seijang village extends upto the disputed area and tried to mark the area by erecting logs of wood as poles.

In the course of the demarcation process, a number of house which were found constructed by encroaching beyond the marked area were burnt down by people whom turned into a mob ultimately.

However, none of the houses which were constructed beyond the boundary of Seijang village were destroyed by the mob.

Apart from that, none of the villagers of Silent were harmed or used foul language by the mob.

So, the five villagers of Seijang who have been arrested by AR personnel should be released immediately without ay condition, he demanded.

Meanwhile, ACOAM Lup Kangkleipak, Communist Party of Kangleipak, All Manipur Intellectual Forum, UCM, Saikul Area Naga People's Organisation, AMSU, Kuki Students Organisation kangpokpi and various other CSOs of the State have condemned incident.

While drawing the attention of the government to prevent recurrence of any unwanted incidents, these social organizations have also appealed to the general public not to incite communal violence and urged the State Government to solve the land dispute at the earliest possible.


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