TODAY -

Militarization in Manipur and Namching resistance

Jiten Yumnam *

Volunteers of Maha Kabui Namching Youth Club and Women's Society blocked Keithelmanbi-Maha Kabui stretch :: Oct 1 2012
Volunteers of Maha Kabui Namching Youth Club and Women's Society blocked Keithelmanbi-Maha Kabui stretch :: Oct 1 2012 :: Pix - TSE



Namching Mahakabui village in Senapati district in Manipur hits media headlines once more in October 2012. Again for the same reason as in the year 2004, of villagers steadfastly resolving against any transfer of their village land to the Assam Rifles, a paramilitary forces of India involved in counter insurgency in Manipur in India’s North East and which operates under the highly controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958. Way back in 2004, the villagers stiffly and successfully fended off the Manipur Government officials who came to demarcate land for transfer to Assam Rifles. The villagers still recounts how the Chief Minister of Manipur, Mr. Okram Ibobi in 2003 fled for his life as womenfolk, infuriated by the arbitrary land acquisition moves, chased him away from the village.

The villagers of Namching are worried again that the State Government would forcefully acquire 24.51 acres of land from their village to hand over to 9 Sector Assam Rifles to convert into a firing range. The villagers had legitimate reasons for their stern opposition to any further land confiscation and transfer. The villagers still laments how the Government of Manipur confiscated 209.98 acres of their land in 1991 without their consultation and consent and transferred forcefully to 28 Assam Rifles without any compensation and rehabilitation. The villagers deeply regret losing their rich tract of fertile land, which they used for Jhum farming and cultivation of spices, seasonal vegetables, fruits. These areas is also laden with rich forest and naturally is a source for their perennial waters.

Permanently losing this reliable and primary livelihood source of the villagers in all these years without receiving a single compensation from the Government will naturally haunts the villagers with big nightmarish experiences and these memories can never and simply be wished away. The villagers of Namching Mahakabui villages submitted series of memorandums to all concerned authorities of the Government, seeking the cancellation of eviction order for allotting lands to the Assam Rifles. Notwithstanding these submissions, the SDC of Kangchup, Mr. S Birojkumar issued an eviction order on 18 September 2012 for demarcation of 24.51 acres of land in Mahakabui Namching village.

With the lack of accountability from previous arbitrary land transfers in 1991 still looming large and as the villagers of Namching still insisting on their rightful compensation for their lost land, any further move to acquire land from their village would simply be an insensitivity and disrespect of their rights and survival dependence over their land and resources and also to their longstanding demands.

The fresh land imbroglio at Namching village is associated with Government efforts to convert the proposed land to a firing range for the Assam Rifles. As the area planned for acquisition is also water and agriculture sources for the villagers, any further loss of their land would only mean inviting more miseries and sufferings for the villagers. Creation of firing range near residential areas can also have other serious concerns, including causing civilian and domestic casualties.

One may recall that the village authorities of Khunkhu village, located near Leimakhong Army base in Manipur, complained that the Army authorities continuously used the area in the vicinity of the village as a field firing range since 1938 without compensation for damages caused to the village, constituting a direct violation of the Maneuvers, Field Firing and Artillery Practice Act, 1938 and UN Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007. The Khunkhu villagers also contended that intensified field firing and artillery practice in the area, including use of bombs and stray bullets have killed and injured villagers and their domestic animals. Indeed, the villagers filed a petition to the Guwahati High Court in 1997 and there are complaints that the Court’s direction in September 1998 to shift the firing practice from time to time and to award compensation for any casualties has not been adhered to et al.

The controversy of land transfer to military at Namching village once again brought into fore the issues of militarization and related multifaceted impacts on daily lives of all indigenous peoples of Manipur. Manipur is already one of the most militarized areas on Earth after India’s military response to the self determination movement in Manipur with full application of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958, which permits full deployment of Indian Armed Forces in Manipur to subdue ongoing self determination movement. However, militarization process also led to conflict with the communities over land and other human rights violations. Community resentment against military land takeover is widespread in Manipur. The villagers of Waithou in Thoubal District put up strong opposition against land allotment of the Tangjeng and Waithou Hills to Assam Rifles2. People of Heingang and Khabam Lamkhai, Matai, Lamlongei, Luwangsangbam etc in Imphal East strongly resisted Government effort to acquire land for military in 2005. More than 500 acres of land has already been occupied by several paramilitary units of Indian Army from Sangakpham till Koirengei in Imphal East District of Manipur3.

In addition to civil rights violations, extra judicial execution, arbitrary arrest and torture etc due to military deployment in Manipur under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 19584, one of the most serious impacts of militarization is also on women and children. The people of Luwangsangbam Matai village, which now borders the IG Assam Rifles South HQs, are witness as to how a housewife from their village was raped by personnel of the 25th Assam Rifles, Mantripukhri on 11 October 2001. There are countless victims of rapes and sexual harassment committed by security forces. Ahanjaobi, Mercy Kabui, Rose, Thangjam Manorama etc, the list is simply endless. Militarization can also led to impact on peoples economic means as several times, villagers residing in and around the Loktak Lake complained of military restrictions on their normal daily fishing activities at Loktak Lake and also the destruction of their fishing gears during military operations and due to military deployment all around Loktak Lake.

Besides confiscation of ancestral land, the militarization process also targets educational complexes and historical sites. There has been a longstanding demand from the students of Manipur University to shift the Assam Rifles currently occupying the Langthabal Hills, an important historical and cultural heritage site, located within the university premises. The Chinga Hills and the Langjing Hills etc where the Meitei people worship their ancestral deities and considered sacred, has been occupied by Assam Rifles and Central Reserve Police Force, representing a desecration of our cultural sites.

Militarization is also associated with introduction of unsustainable development projects, as evident by the militarization of Mapithel Dam site, Loktak Project site, Khuga Dam etc5. Usually, any call for sustainable, participatory and human rights based development would immediately lead to militarization of those specific project sites. Indeed the UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples Rights, Mr. James Anaya expressed strong condemnation with the Mapithel dam construction and the militarization process and application of emergency legislations in 20086.

The militarization process already hastened the fast worsening food sovereignty of Manipur as scores of acres of prime agricultural land, which community depend for growing food, is increasingly converted into non productive assets, including setting up military camps and firing ranges. Namching is one prime case where its agriculture land is usurped for military purposes. Peoples’ legitimate call for protection of productive agricultural land and to ensure their participation in development decision making are also met with brute use of force7.

Militarization and impacts on civilians has for long been overlooked in Manipur. Its increasing evident that militarization process has disturbed the profound relationships of Indigenous peoples in Manipur with their lands and territories. Confiscation of prime agricultural land and resources without the consent of the communities has led to considerable social and cultural impacts, and also posing a threat to the physical integrity and survival as peoples. Militarization in residential areas has far wider and serious implications with the local economy and livelihood and survival issues. The presence of army camps right in residential communities also interferes with the social and cultural life and fabric of communities and led to militarization of civilian spaces, restriction of peoples’ free movement and interfering in people’s daily lives. It also creates fear psychosis and insecurity among the peoples, making people vulnerable to suspicion and humiliations. Time’s rife enough to fully assess the multifaceted and holistic impacts of militarization, such as physical and psychological impacts.

The Government of Manipur should recognize that efforts to acquire more land from Namching Village for Assam Rifles will only undermine the survival and livelihood of the villagers of Namching and render the villagers more insecure and uncertain about their lives and future. There should be no land acquisition without the free, prior and informed consent of the villagers of Namching. Article 11 of the UN Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples stipulates that no military activities shall take place in the lands of indigenous peoples, unless freely agreed upon by the indigenous peoples concerned.

The UN Special Rapporteur on Housing Rights, Ms. Raquel Rolnik, in its communication to the Government of India on the forceful evictions at Lamphel Yaipha Leikai in July 2011 stated that there should be no forceful eviction as it constitutes a serious infringement of human rights8.The villagers of Namching should rather be provided adequate compensation for their land confiscated arbitrarily for the Indian Army in 1991. Its time to end unjust confiscation of peoples land, destruction of people’s livelihood sources, civil rights violations, annihilation of peoples futures, more so in the name of peace, development and national security. Its long proven militarization is no solution to political conflicts but rather a lumpen process for any civilized society.


* Jiten Yumnam wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on October 20, 2012.



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Laisram Birendra Kumar: PadmaShri Award
  • Ballot Jam 2.0 #4: Gallery
  • Torture under custody & communal colour
  • The solace of phanek :: Poem
  • Interface between Politicians and Youths
  • Is Manipur heading for a hung verdict
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • Racial discrimination incident at Jamui
  • MSAD Sangai Cultural- Thabal Chongba
  • Free & fair practices in election : Video
  • IHR breakthrough in test tube baby
  • NSCN (I-M) summons ex cadre
  • Women outnumber males, few in election
  • Territorial integrity and corruption
  • PM Narendra Modi #1: Gallery
  • Shopping List for Shivaratri #1: Gallery
  • Letpao, Behring, Kidongam :: eMing
  • Speech by Meidingu Leishemba Sanajaoba
  • Annals of Christianity in Ukhrul District
  • Will Naga CM ease tensions in Manipur
  • Mohammedan SC bow out of 2nd Division
  • Respecting federalism
  • Trekking to Dzukou Valley #2: Gallery
  • Politicians & youths Interface : Gallery
  • Of Gifts and Talents
  • FA :: Not the final pact : Ravi
  • Elements trying to sabotage talks: IM
  • Unmissable chance to vote for real change
  • Countdown to the National Science Day
  • Preview : Mohammedan Vs Neroca
  • PM Modi Public Meeting at Langjing
  • Restrictions on Vehicles plying on NH-37
  • Festival of Ritual Narrative: Gallery
  • Angkor Wat @Cambodia #4: Gallery
  • Clouded leopard - in danger of extinction
  • WHO affirmed adventists' diet
  • The Onset of Spring :: Poem
  • Quality not maintained- Leimaram Road
  • 1st randomisation of EVMs
  • Not conducive for polls now stand ..
  • This election matters
  • Protest: Framework Content :: Gallery
  • Free Education for Orphans:: Gallery
  • Consequence of violence on children
  • Generate job with greater public investment
  • Danger of pushing for election ....
  • Cosmic love affair
  • Orphans Free Education in Private Schools
  • NTC on Rajnath's statement
  • Najima braves fatwa, bias to contest
  • Don't use FA for electoral gains : CSOs
  • Danger in dirty game
  • Laishram Sarita Vs Zsofia Bedo #5 :: Gallery
  • Indian democracy on the verge?
  • Naga women must be empowered : ZSUD
  • Undertaking journey of self-discovery
  • Who is Kailash Satyarthi
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • International Mother Language Day
  • Condemns incident of rape in Hauz Khas
  • IndiGo takes off on Manipur mission
  • Sanjit father offered cash to drop case
  • No hidden agenda; stop playing games
  • Assuring piped water supply
  • Trade connection with Southeast Asia #1
  • Ballot Jam 2.0 #3: Gallery
  • Open letter to politicians #3
  • ...PM will have to answer the people
  • SVEEP campaign at TG Hr Secondary
  • 6th Major Bob Khathing Tournament kick-off
  • Tripura Web Media Forum launched
  • Pragjyoti Intl Dance Festival ends
  • Blockades choke Manipur's economy
  • Standing assurance from Rajnath: Politicize
  • Rajnath on Framework is sceptical
  • Travelling in Ukhrul Dist #1 :: Gallery
  • Shumang Leela Fest Award #2 :: Gallery
  • Satherjit Thiyam: Choreographer : Gallery
  • Much ado about Babu-dom
  • Puya Paba Tambagi Workshop begins
  • Poll theatrics in Manipur
  • Myanmar Meetei mou at temple
  • Sadar Hills District Demand :: Articles
  • 9th Pragjyoti Intl Dance Fest starts
  • Defeating administrative convenience
  • Biju Ningombam (Photos) #3 :: eRang
  • Framework agreeement protest:: Gallery
  • Ballot Jam 2.0 #2: Gallery
  • Tale of two voices- Inspired & the Unsung
  • Election & blockade & scare campaign
  • MU Seminar : NE India & South East Asia
  • Teaching the Teacher at NEHU, Shillong
  • Women Group formed in Ukhrul
  • Training on EVM/VVPAT for women
  • Laihui @Tanglei Music Festival :: Gallery
  • Pakhang No. 1- Lila Fest #2:: Gallery
  • Open letter to politicians #2
  • Aligarh Univ- place for Women Education
  • Political consciousness- self introspection
  • My torn shirt will cost millions 1 day
  • Sadar Hills Demand 2011-2017 : Timeline
  • Films by Ri-Mita Bolsabi with Phukan
  • Zeliangrong sentiment deeply hurt: ZB
  • 2017 not to be a repeat of 2012
  • Toying with the ultimate paradox
  • Ballot Jam 2.0 #1: Gallery
  • Laishram Sarita Vs Zsofia Bedo #4 :: Gallery
  • ESU, Wangkhei: Women League Winner
  • Women Reservation-Naga Customary Law
  • Last ray of hope
  • The Lamp Right up My Street :: Poem
  • Pragjyoti International Dance Festival
  • Foreigners defy visa rules in NE
  • Demand for ILP System :: News Timeline
  • Reopening the BT Road killing
  • Time to walk the talk
  • Landscape of Manipur #5: Wallpaper
  • U-17 football tournament: Gallery
  • Open letter to politicians #1
  • Ambassadors For Christ
  • Lonelier in love :: Poem
  • Political riddle - framework agreement
  • Playing with fire, a fear factor
  • ILP Demand from 2012 :: Photo Gallery
  • Khangkhui Cave @Ukhrul #2: Gallery
  • SSS MANIFA - Film Awards #4: Gallery
  • Lui-Ngai-Ni : Naga Seed Sowing Festival
  • Occupation of Schools by Security Forces
  • RISS: Innovative Park with Recycled Material
  • History, pathology, prophylaxis of rabies
  • Involve the States more in higher education
  • 14th Sentinel Cup, Equestrian concluded
  • War of words : Other important issues
  • The unheard Calls
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #1 : Ooba
  • AMUCO Foundation Day :: Gallery
  • For The Better Democracy
  • Call centre as career options
  • How to contest polls with Rs 3.1 lakh
  • Walk-in-interview at Mizoram University
  • Xenoh Corporate Football Challenge 2017
  • Powerful statement from RN Ravi
  • Using integrity issue as a tool in election..
  • Sagon Kangjei (Polo) #4
  • Northeast One (Robert Naorem) :: Gallery
  • 'Beating of the Retreat' #3 :: Gallery
  • Maharaj & Bizando poll chat, eavesdropped
  • River :: Poem
  • Indira Gandhi's one-minute function
  • United Naga Council Statement on Feb 12
  • Banning UNC not the answer: Half baked
  • Pakhang No. 1- Lila Fest #1:: Gallery
  • Pinky Jangra Vs Claudia :: Gallery
  • Bequeath good air to our next generation
  • Politics of economic blockade in Manipur
  • You're a mere Muslim woman!
  • Why humanity remember Gandhi
  • Blockade may impact Naga talk: Ravi
  • Trainers wanted at Ascend Studio
  • Why should only blockade be an issue ?
  • Singju Fest @Khangabok #3 :: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Keep Thy Heart With All Diligence
  • Women's reservation to correct traditional...
  • Satherjit Thiyam: Choreographer :: eRang
  • Sihai Lotae @Ukhrul : Gallery
  • Manipuri language & its literary traditions
  • Mina Uthum Onkhiba :: Funga Wari
  • Gita-Govinda- Drama Fest #1: Gallery
  • Blockade-Looking for solution @wrong place
  • View from tribal language perspective #2
  • A Myanmar Meetei leisabi in Yangon
  • Sadar Hills District Demand :: Articles
  • Khoupum Valley & Cave #4 : Gallery
  • NEROCA Vs SS, Kolkata:: Gallery
  • Singju Fest @Khangabok #2 :: Gallery
  • UNC's Leaders @Imphal Airport:: Gallery
  • Tanglei Cup - opening day :: Gallery
  • Snowfall at Dzukou Valley #2 : Gallery
  • Wareppa Naba :: Profile of Theatre Actor
  • First floating School at Loktak :: Gallery
  • SSS MANIFA - Film Awards #2: Gallery
  • Indigenous Medicinal & its importance
  • Peace Rally- Imphal to Jiri:: Gallery
  • 'Carrying lives in hand' :: Gallery
  • Kabuliwallah @Dance Drama Fest:: Gallery
  • Republic Day @Kangla #2 : Gallery
  • Interpreting the Princess & the Frog
  • Keibul Lamjao- Drama Fest #2: Gallery
  • Manipur: Champion @ National Thang-Ta
  • Final Match :Women's Polo #2 : Gallery
  • Gaan Ngai @Moirangkhom #2: Gallery
  • Yotsinkhidoure - ILP Special Song : Ooba
  • Khangkhui Cave @Ukhrul #1: Gallery
  • Kachai Lemon Festival : Gallery
  • Kakching Lamkhai :: 360 View Panorama
  • Meiteilon Folk & Tangkhul duet : Ooba
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #3: Gallery
  • HSE examination Schedule 2017
  • HSLC examination Schedule 2017
  • Sanamanbi Sanarei :: eRang Classic
  • Summary Of Electoral Rolls Released
  • Priyanka Rajkumari #2 (Photos) :: eRang
  • Khunung Eeshei/ Ema Emoinu #3 : Radio
  • 60th CC Meet Semifinal #2 : Gallery
  • 60th CC Meet Semifinal #1 : Gallery
  • Imas from Nupi Lan: Gallery
  • SPONSORED ADS