TODAY -

TI Sadar Hills clears its stand on Mount Koubru
Source: The Sangai Express

Kangpokpi, July 12 2021: Following the recent salvo of allegations over the ownership of Mt Koubru, the Thadou Inpi Sadar Hills Kangpokpi District have reiterated its stand on the matter.

Seikhojang Sitlhou, general secretary, Thadou Inpi Sadar Hills Kangpokpi stated that the recent salvo of allegations from different quarters about encroachers at Mt Koubru, the call for evictions of encroachers, etc are but a much-ado-about nothing as the fact remained that there are no encroachers at Mt Koubru and the pride of Manipur stands tall with all its pristine glory, the scenic beauty, the trees, the shrubs and the flora & fauna, side by side in harmony with the tribal aborigines, the Thadou-Kukis, through ages.

He alleged that the diatribe against the local inhabitants from the likes of communally inflamed organizations such as Kangleipak Kanba Lup(KKL), Federation of Haomee(FOH), and Liangmei Naga Council(LNC) incited by the Government of Manipur is truly an attempt to dislodge the local inhabitants and deprive them of their age-old source of livelihood which only exposed their communal, parochial mindset and ill-begotten sinister design for land grabbing.

He pointed out that there are no encroachers at Mt Koubru and no civil society organization based in Kangpokpi has ever laid claims on Mt Koubru barring, the LNC while adding that the LNC's claim of Liangmai Naga community ownership over the Koubru mountain range is not only outrageous but ridiculously devoid of the facts of history.

He continued that the Koubru range serves as a northern boundary of the Imphal valley, slowly rising from the Leimakhong hill range and thereafter running down the valley joining the Laikot hill range (in Senapati area) .

The foothill areas are inhabited by tribal habitats mainly the Thadou-Kuki tribes dating back to the pre-British era.

Therefore, insinuations that the present settlers (Kukis) of the Koubru foothill valleys, who are aborigines of the land, as encroachers is a misnomer, and the war cry for eviction is but unwarranted, unjustified, and a blatant disregard to humanity and civilization, he added.

The Thadou Inpi Sadar Hills Kangpokpi General Secretary also said that the declaration of the so-called Kanglatongbi-Kangpokpi Reserved Forest(KKRF) of 1968 was an arbitrary declaration trampling upon the right to livelihood of the tribal settlers in violation of the principles laid down in the Indian Constitution, the safeguards bestowed upon tribal hill areas of Manipur.

"This is evident from the then protest that was held by the Kukis and their Chiefs in 1955, spearheaded by leaders like (L) PC Misao of Kangpokpi with their slogan KK Reserve Bandh Karro echoing far and wide across the hills of Manipur", he asserted.

He also said that the modern-day greed-driven poppy plantation by few misfits of the society, is but a universal ill which engulfed the entire hills of Manipur from the late 1990s and Mt Koubru is no exception while adding that such an act is condemnable by all, and all efforts have been made on a war footing, with the Government reigning in all CSO's, Chiefs, and the public, to eradicate poppy plantation.

He further said that Koubru is a tourist attraction and pilgrimage point to valley Meiteis has been well acknowledged by the inhabitants, the aborigine tribes surrounding Mt Koubru.

Every pilgrim, picnickers/hikers have been welcomed with open arms through ages, and complaints are seldom lodged about the littering of the sacred mount with heaps of garbage, including empty beer/liquor cans/bottles, ganja etc, tobacco and tobacco products, leftover by the pilgrims/devotees and hikers.

He also pointed out that Koubru is equally sacred and revered by the aborigine Thadou-Kuki tribes surrounding the hills through ages pre-Christian and also in the Christian era before adding that in the era of animism, the Thadou-Kuki worshipped the unseen force whose abode is the Mt Koubru, with rituals through their high priest called Thempu and their folktale is replete with legends of an alliance formed between the unseen forces of Mt Koubru for war and military exploits.

He alleged that claims and counter claims of ownership of Mt Koubru, sadly, is a recent development, initiated by the so-called Kangleipak Kanba Lup, soon backed by Anti-Kuki organizations Federation of Haomee and the like, with an exclusive claim of sacred ownership over Mt Koubru, with plans for Temple building which only opened up the Pandora's Box.

The Liangmei Naga Council seizing the opportunity and quickly jumping into the bandwagon is intriguing, their vested interest and ulterior motive when the Liangmai Nagas have no habitation anywhere near Mt Koubru, he said and added that the nearest Liangmai habitation so to speak is Makhan near Leimakhong on the far southern tip of the Koubru range and the Thonglang area on the far northern tip.

Sitlhou mentioned that eviction based on Kanglatongbi-Kangpokpi Reserve Forest, by default, would mean the eviction of the entire Makhan village and Thonglang area of the Liangmai Nagas.

While KKRF in itself is still mired with controversy, there is no clear demarcation line of the so-called KKRF to date and therefore the question of evictions has not arrived yet, he said and wondered what ails the organizations like KKL, FOH, LNC, and the like for the racial attacks on the Thadou-Kuki inhabitants, branding them as foreigners, and encroachers in their own land.


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