TODAY -

Claiming ancestral rights over Thangjing : Lying with a design in mind
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: February 21, 2024 -



From Thangjing to Thangting to now claiming that the sacred site of the Meiteis fall under his jurisdiction, the self proclaimed chief of Ukha-Loikhai village has given a new understanding to bogus claims and distorting the history of the land.

Not something new for remember ‘ancestral land’ claim has also been raised over Mt Koubru and the bid to change the names of different settlements at Moreh should sum up the machinations at work here.

It is good to see the Government has come out with an official notification asserting that not only Thangjing but also the very Ukha-Loikhai settlement comes within the boundary of Churachandpur-Khoupum Protected Forest.

The question is when and how the so called Ukha-Laokhai settlement or village emerged and what steps have been taken up or are likely to be taken to evict the said settlement since it has come up inside a Protected Forest.

Thangjing Hill Range was notified as a Protected Forest on September 19, 1966 under Section 29 of the Indian Forest Act, 1927, according to the Government and here is a case of some elements wilfully entering a Protected Forest, setting up homes and later claiming ownership over a whole hill range.

This is something not acceptable and it is clear to all those who have been closely following the ongoing ethnic clash as well as studying the genesis of the clash that the eviction drive launched at K Sonjang village in February 2023, was one of the factors that goaded the people of Churachandpur to target the Meitei settlements at Torbung and Churachandpur on May 3, 2023.

The destruction of the open gym set to be inaugurated by the Chief Minister, the setting on fire a beat office of the Forest Department at Churachandpur, the high tension running through Churachandpur, all preceded the Tribal Solidarity March of May 3 last year and it is for this very reason, why The Sangai Express had earlier questioned why the Tribal Solidarity March was not banned in the first place.

Manipur and the world is witness to how attempts have been made to defile the understanding of a sacred site of the Meiteis at Thangjing and how a cross was found erected atop the hill range, all with the objective of laying ancestral claim on a land, a site which has been a holy site of one of the two indigenous groups of Manipur, the Meiteis.

The politics at play is not only mischievous but also devilishly devious.

From Thangjing to Thangting and the devilish design at work does not stop here.

After Moreh was ethnically cleansed of all Meiteis and others including the Tamils during the present clash, after the Nagas back in the 1990s, the names of a number of localities have been changed to give it a distinct Kuki-Zo tinge.

From Heinou Makhong and Moreh Turel Wangma Leikai to Chikim village is an example that may be cited of the bigger agenda to Kukiise the border town and it is not only the localities that have been renamed here but also Moreh Khunou Leikai to T Yangnom village, Moreh Khongnangthaba Leikai to D Monophai village and Moreh Premnagar to Phaicham village.

It is not only at the border town that names of localities have been changed to fall in line with the bigger agenda of Kukiising the place, but also right here in the heart of Imphal where attempts were made to christen a settlement as Vaiphei colony and the ruckus it kicked up sometime in the not so distant past.

All these examples coupled with what has been going on at Thangjing hill should be more than clear that all possible attempts are being made to distort the history and legacy of the land and this is where the Government would need to put in more energy in its attempt to blunt and neutralise all such sinister designs.

The method at work should not be missed.

From christening a place in a term that suits their identity, to later claiming indigeneity to the land and obliterating the history of the indigenous folks is the bigger agenda and this is all the more reason for Manipur to be on its toes and nullify all such attempts.

This should also explain the rationale behind the decision to welcome the steps to do away with the Free Movement Regime as well as fence the Indo-Myanmar border.



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