TODAY -

Claim of self styled chief of Ukha Laokhai rubbished
Govt sets record straight on Mt Thangjing
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 19 2024: Even as "self-styled" chief of 'Ukha-Loikhai' village has claimed that Thangjing falls under his jurisdiction, the village itself is part of the Churachandpur-Khoupum Protected Forest, revealed a Government order issued today.

The order clearly stated that Thangjing Hill Range and "the present day Ukha-Loikhai settlement falls within the boundary of this [Churachandpur-Khoupum] Protected Forest" .

It may be mentioned here that on February 20, 2023, the Forest Department and law enforcement agencies conducted an eviction drive at K Songjang village, which was situated within the boundary of the Churachandpur-Khoupum Protected Forest.

The District Forest Officer Noney had then stated that the settlement of K Songjang was new and inside the Protected Forest area against the law.

The village did not exist in the area before 2021 .

Meanwhile, the Government order stated that the claim of the "so-called Ukha-Loikhai village" chief is "fabricated and concocted, one with a mala-fide intention to mislead the general public.

The same has no locus standi and hence treated as non-est" .

Notably on February 16, Thengkhomang Haokip, 'chief' of Ukha-Loikha village had reportedly claimed ownership of Thangjing and he had allegedly asserted that nobody could interfere in the land under his jurisdiction.

The claim, however, was outrightly rejected as absurd by the Committee on Protection and Preservation of the Historical Rights of Koubru and Thangjing Hill Ranges yesterday.

Drawing the attention of the Government towards the misleading and absurd claim, the committee had sought legal action against the "self-styled" chief.

The committee had said, "While the history of Thangjing dates back to the era before Christ (BC), some groups who entered Manipur in the 18th century claiming ownership of the land is very appalling" .

Close on the heels of the committee's reaction, the Government order today said the Thangjing Hill Range was notified as Protected Forest under Churachandpur-Khoupum Protected Forest on September 19, 1966 under Section 29 of the Indian Forest Act, 1927, and the present day Ukha-Loikhai settlement falls within the boundary of this Protected Forest.

It said an order for setting apart Ukha-Loikhai from the Churachandpur-Khoupum Protected Forest was cancelled on November 7, 2022 .

Fresh inquiry in this regard has already been initiated by the State Government, it added.

The order further stated that "there are no records of the so-called "Haokip Reserved" notified under any Resolution/Act/Rules as per records maintained by the State Government contrary to the claim made by the self-proclaimed chief" .

The order emphasised that the Thangjing (Thang Ching) is a hill of historical importance and as such it was declared as a protected site under Section 4 of the Manipur Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1976 vide Gazette No 376 of November 14, 2022 .

Thangjing, a pilgrimage site and an integral part of Moirang Kangleirol, is a sacred shrine of the Meiteis which has been desecrated multiple times amid the current tension between armed Kukis and Meiteis since May 3, 2023 .

Fuelling the tension between the communities, a cross was installed at the sacred site by the Kukis on January 25 this year, and there has been an attempt to rename the hill range as "Thangting", one of many attempts to change names of places which many allege "is to erase the indigeneity and rewrite history" .

There have been attempts to change Churachandpur to "Lamka", after names of many places in Moreh have been found changed.

Meiteis of Moreh, who have been driven away by Kukis in the present conflict claim Heinoumakhong Leikai and Moreh Turel Wangma Leikai have been renamed as Chikim Village, Moreh Khunou Leikai has been renamed as T Yangnom Village, Moreh Khongnangthaba Leikai Bazar has been renamed as D Monophai Village, and Moreh Premnagar as Phaicham Village.

In 2023, a village chief had also accused Kukis of forcefully occupying Mankang Khunthak having village code 270730 and changing its name to 'Haolenphai' .


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