Imphal, the 4th November, 2018.
Reply to IKLTL’s rejoinder on occupation of tribal land at Moreh Chikim village
Apropos to the rejoinder made by the Ima Kondong Leirembi Thougal Lup (IKLTL), Moreh and Thoubal Apunba Lup (TAL) various local newspapers on 25th & 26th October, 2018, the Thadou Students’ Association (TSA) would like to state that all the fabricated claims made by the two organisations are devoid of any truth and totally unacceptable.
Every citizen of India is free to reside across the country, but at the same time the Constitution of India provides to safeguard and protect tribal people and their land and culture. In respect of Manipur, Article 371(c) of the constitution of India provides to protect and safeguard the tribal people of the state. The President of India had issued a statutory order i.e, The Manipur Legislative Assembly (Hill Areas Committee) Order, 1972 in exercise of powers conferred by Article 371-C of the constitution of India to the effect that the inheritance of property, lands, social, customs of the tribal and the allotment, occupation or use of tribal land for any purpose of the tribals of Manipur should not be disturbed.
The Manipur Land Reforms and Land Revenue Act, 1960 (MLR&LR Act) in its Section 158 also clearly states that no transfer of land by a person who is a member of the Schedule Tribes shall be valid unless the transfer is to another member of schedule tribes. The transfer of tribal land at Moreh Chikim Veng to non-tribal population is null and void.
The Hill Tribal Council (HTC) has also issued a clarification in a local daily newspaper on 26 October 2018, refuting the claim of Ima Kondong Lairembi Thoudang Lup. HTC clarified that following a request by some members of Meitei community, a small portion of land was given on February 25, 1997 only for the purpose of building a place of worship (Mandir) and not for settlement or any other purpose.
We would like to emphasise that the said land and the whole of Chikim Veng village previously belonged to Khudengthabi tribal village chief. Thus, the claim made by the Ima Kongdong Leirembi Thougal Lup, Moreh in regard to ownership of the land where Kondong Lairembi temple is situated and a Meitei settlement is planned is fabricated and absolutely false and unacceptable.
As citizens of India bound by a statutory law and constitution of India, we should respect each other and abide by the law for peaceful coexistence and communal harmony. If the small piece of land that was given in good faith only for the purpose of building a place of worship is exploited to annex and occupy tribal land, we will not hesitate to reclaim the land. While we appreciate that construction activity has halted since our first media release on October 23, we would like to caution Kondong Lairembi Thougal Lup, Moreh or any other groups or individuals against claiming the land or executing any construction for settlement plans. We would like to advise all concerned to not communalise this matter, but to respect the law and the rights and sentiments of the land owner tribal community.
Even as we would like to make it clear that TSA’s stance on this matter is non-negotiable, with respect we would like to earnestly appeal to those who attempt to unlawfully occupy and settle in the land to completely shun the plans to avoid any misunderstandings between different communities. However, if our appeals are not heeded and tribals’ rights to their land disrespected, we will not remain a silent spectator but fight vigorously for justice.
Information and Publicity
Information and Publicity
Thadou Students’ Association