No refugees from Tuinuphai: Leaders clarify
Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, January 08 2014: In order to clear the air of misunderstanding surrounding Tuinuphai village and its land, Churachandpur district's Tuinaphai village leaders in a joint press communiqu� have detailed the Tuinaphai village impasse.

According to the village leaders, Letsei Vaiphei, holder of 'absolute ownership' and 'possession of Tuinuphai village and its land' received a letter from one Michael Zou, 'home secretary' of Zou Defence Volunteers (VDF) on December 19, 2013 .

On the strength of that letter, around 31 persons led by Tongkhogin Tungdim and Jamlal Lhungdim forcibly entered Tuinuphai village on December 20, 2013 in one truck and one Tata Winger van, along with weapons.

They camped at the vacated house of Kaizathang Tungdim, now permanently settled at Zouveng, Churachandpur.

He is also one of the masterminds and owner of the truck in which the group was travelling.

On December 21, 2013, they went about with the business of conducting social work in the village without informing the concerned authority which is against tribal customary law, Christian practices and the law of the land.

Confrontation was inevitable but the timely intervention of the church and village authority members prevented the situation from spiralling out of control.

Eventually, Tongkhogin Tungdim and party left Tuinuphai village around 4:30 pm.

When the party reached Churachandpur, a conspiracy was hatched to mislead and misrepresent the facts of the situation by setting up refugee camp at Zogal Hall.

Local media was called in and photo session organized.

An absurd and ridiculous figure of about 100 persons from 30 families fleeing Tuinuphai village was fed to the press.

Shortly afterward, they left for their respective houses.

They falsely accused the USRA of threatening them when the fact of the matter is that it was the ZDV which initially started the whole tension to mount, they said.

Based on false allegations, they filed FIR at Churachandpur Police Station on December 22, 2013 against ten innocent villagers of Tuinuphai.

On the basis of the FIR, the police conducted spot enquiry and no evidence was found to substantiate their allegations, the press note stated.

According to the joint press communiqu�, on Christmas eve, December 24, 2013, Tongkhogin and party were escorted back to Tuinuphai village by the police as directed by deputy commissioner (incharge) of Churachandpur ostensibly to celebrate Christmas.

The commander of Sangaikot GR camp, OC/Sangaikot along with Letsei Vaiphei proposed that the genuine villagers who fled Tuinuphai out of concern for safety be resettled in the village.

But this was vehemently opposed by Tongkhogin Tungdim who insisted the whole party would settle or none at all.

It is difficult to understand how people who have never been a part and parcel of Tuinuphai village since its founding were insistent on settling in the village just a day before Christmas, or those who have left Tuinuphai village 5/6 years back insisted on returning! The attitude of the deputy commissioner (incharge) is also highly condemnable.

It is a biased, which has the potential to pit one tribal against another, as it could eventually snowball into a large scale communal violence, they added.

"As per the direction of the district administration, the Assistant Commissioner T..KSimte conducted spot enquiry on January 7, 2014.Disrupting the official work of a government servant, around 30 women entered Tuinuphai village using one Tata winger and one Tata Magic, and attacked the unsuspecting women of Tuinuphai village and the bewildered officials were rendered mute spectators to the whole incident.

The intervention of the village chief and authority members could not prevent five women from being beaten up, with Tingbem, aged about 45 years, sustaining head injury," the joint press release further said.

It is difficult to understand as to how the district administration allows the outsiders to enter the village, and in the process disturbing peace and tranquility in the village, also disrupting the officials who were on duty.

Now it is amply clear that there are no refugees from Tuinuphai village.

While appreciating the generosity of AMUCO and UCM in extending helps to people sheltered at Zogal Hall who claimed to be refugees supposedly fleeing Tuinuphai, we reiterate that there are no refugees from Tuinuphai village.

According to the village leaders, in fine, we strongly condemn all biased actions initiated at the civil society level and at the government level which could vitiate the situation.

We strongly condemn and the faults allegations levelled against the genuine villagers of Tuinuphai, and request all concerned to desist from carrying out false propaganda to hoodwink the public and the government.

"We appeal to the concerned authority that the real culprits be booked at the earliest for fomenting social tension in the area and for issuing misleading statements aimed at serving their vested interests.

We also appeal to one and all not to interfere in the internal matters of Tuinuphai village as the village chief and its villagers are competent enough to deal with its own problems.

If this warning remains unheeded, we will no longer remain silent spectators and any incident, damage, injury/harm will be the sole responsibility of any outsider involved," they cautioned.

The joint press communiqu� was signed by Letsei Vaiphei, Chief/Chairman of Tuinuphai Village, Ml Vaiphei, Secretary, Lutneipau Vaiphei, Member, Village Authority, Lunkhai Vaiphei , Member, Village Authority, S.Mangmin, President, Tuinuphai Youth Club, S.Dounminlian, Secretary, Tuinuphai Youth Club, Nemneilhing, Chairperson, KNP, Lamneilhing Haokip, Secretary, KNP, Kapsuanpao Haokip, Chairman, KKP, Henkholian Vaiphei, Secretary, KKP, Paulun Vaiphei, Chairman, Local Church Committee, Haupu Baite,, Secretary, Local Church Committee, LS Vaiphei, Church Building Committee and Mangminlian, Secretary, Church Building Committee.

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