TODAY -

KPA pours invectives against Govt
Source: The Sangai Express

Kpi, April 26 2023: Amid the buzz of the widening rift in the BJP Government, one of the political allies of the BJP, the Kuki People's Alliance has launched a verbal attack on the Biren Singh-led Government.

The Kuki People's Alliance or the KPA also accused the Government of "persecuting the tribal people in the State" .

The KPA in its official meeting held yesterday discussed the demolition of a more than 50-year-old Church at Checkon, eviction drives inside forests and the impasse over ST seat reservation at RIMS.

In connection with the demolition of the Church at Checkon, Imphal, the KPA stated that in Manipur, Christianity is nearly all exclusive to the tribals in the hills and despite constituting almost 50% of the population of Manipur, the tribals have only 33% political representation.

It also stated that the demolition of the Church in the wee hours of April 11 was a corollary to the demolition of the Tribal Colony at Chekon itself.

The Tribal Colony where the Church was situated was envisaged in the late 50s to accommodate the "lowest of the lowest rungs of Govt employees, even among the ST category".

That the quarters consisted mainly of Type-1 accommodation is self-explanatory and illustrates the intent and magnanimity of the Government then.

It was meant to mitigate the problems of accommodation faced by the hill people who took up employment with the Government at the "lowest of salaries" and did not have their own residences in Imphal.

The portion of the land was demarcated/gifted from the Maharaja's estate for the purpose of "quarters for the lowest rung of the Scheduled Tribe Government employees".

The gesture was in tune with the very spirit of the Constitution, the efforts towards welfare and upliftment of the weakest of the weak, it said.

KPA added that the stone inscription at the site of the Tribal Colony at Checkon clearly stated, "This land is given by the Maharaja of Manipur for construction of Government quarters for the Scheduled Tribe Government employees" .

It further stated, "The Tribal Colony has been demolished and in its place, a colony is being constructed for the elite of the Govt employees, leaving in the lurch the lowest paid employees who will now have to fend for themselves" .

On forest issues, the KPA stated that the forest-related statutes, the Forest Act of India 1927 and its consequent orders and notifications presuppose and acknowledge the existence of individuals and communities already living on the land and that their rights were not to be abridged.

It, therefore, makes it incumbent on the part of the Government to demarcate the settlements and their area of socio-economic activity for the purpose of excluding them from the proposed Reserved Forests/Protected Forests (RF/PF) .

"Therefore, it is only after the demarcation of the existing settlements that the existence of the RF/PF ipso facto became a reality.

It goes without saying that without demarcation and exclusion of the settlements, the RF/PF themselves will resultantly be without demarcation and thereby rendered non-existent.

The onus is on the Govt Department to verify the existence of the forest residents.

The onus is not on the residents to prove their existence.

It is therefore a grave irony that the villagers are made to produce pattas and jamabandis, etc and even when in some instances they do possess such documents, such documents are ordered for annulment and cancellation thereby rendering old established communities as encroachers on Govt land," it added.


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