NMPO dubs Makhan land grabbers, demands action
IMPHAL, 22nd Sep: Accusing Makhan of encroaching on both Maram’s territory and government land by illegally constructing a ground and a community hall inside the campus of Maram Horticulture Farm, Northern Maram People’s Organisation (NMPO) president Talu Dominic has urged the state government to take serious note of the situation, failing which NMPO would launch various forms of democratic agitations.
Speaking to newspersons at Maram Centre Guest House Sunday, Dominic claimed that the land on which the Makhan villagers are residing in was left behind by the forefathers of Maram. He recalled that some 30-40 years ago, Makhan villagers were allowed to settle in the area after a request was made. They continued to pay an annual tax to Maram till 1987-88 until an Assam Rifles Battalion was set up camp in the area after the incident at Oinam village.
After the AR camp was set up, Makhan fed false information to AR that Maram was associated with NSCN-IM and collected annual taxes from Makhan. As a result, many Maram leaders were arrested and tortured, and Makhan stopped paying taxes. However, the non-Manipuris residing in the area have been paying their annual taxes without fail till date, he conveyed.
Dominic further recounted that in 1977, the state government made a proposal for setting up the Maram Horticulture Farm. The leaders of Maram donated some area of land to the government, which led to the establishment of the biggest Horticulture Farm in the northeast. Later, in 2013, some Maram villagers took the permission of the village chief and set up another village called Noujei village. However, all 60 houses in the new village were destroyed the same year, he recalled. On hearing news of the incident, the then DC Senapati and SP Senapati immediately rushed to the spot and took the situation under control. It was further announced that the area of land was part of the disputed land. Both Maram and Makhan agreed not to enter the area until the inter-village dispute was resolved, Dominic added.
Soon after, the district administration issued a prohibitory order with regard to the incident. Naga People’s Organisation also issued its own prohibitory order. However, acting against the prohibitory orders, some Makhan villagers accompanied by camouflage clad armed men torched 21 houses in Maram and the nearby church, apart from shooting several rounds of gunfire, thereby causing serious injuries to many people, the NMPO president further recalled.
Later on, the District administration clamped down restriction under CrPC 144 in the area. In 2018, Makhan filed an FIR to the Police when Maram people were trying to construct a house in an area that the DC had designated to Maram. Some youth then tried to organise a mass prayer with the goal of helping to resolve the inter-village dispute between Makhan and Maram, but were prohibited from doing so, Dominic conveyed.
On the other hand, Makhan started leveling the ground of the disputed land, which is not only part of Maram’s territory but also included government land, by removing the fencing of the Horticulture farm and setting up a ground and a community hall. The gate of the farm was also destroyed and a waiting shed was set up in its place.
Contending that the people of Maram had appealed for peaceful co-habitation numerous times, the NMPO president said that instead of listening to the requests, Makhan continue to encroach on Maram’s land, even to the point of objecting to the high-tension electric post located within Maram village. This led to the torching incident on September 17, he stated.
Denying the allegations that the household residents were locked inside before setting the houses on fire, Dominic clarified that the people of Maram do not even kill animals, let alone harm a human being. Such baseless allegations were made by Makhan to mislead the people and portray Maram in bad light, he asserted.
Dominic then condemned Makhan for trying to grab the land of Maram by force, in addition to its encroachment on the land of Horticulture farm, which belongs to the government. He then appealed to the authority concerned to take serious note of the situation and take up requisite action, while threatening to launch various forms of intense agitations in case of failing to do so.
Chieftains of various villages in Maram and representatives of Bazar committee also attended the press meet.
Meanwhile, Publicity Wing of NMPO issued a press release reacting to the statements made by one Makhan (Ekhramei) Students’ Union in some dailies, ‘breaking all norms of composing lies and going further beyond the step of hoodwinking’.
The release stated that keeping aside any aspects of truth or facts, the genesis of concocting theories in coming up to dramatise claiming of land from Maram ancestral land with every passing moment along with all possibilities to add-on to dilute the hard facts, has been the basis of Makhan (Ekhramei) Students’ Union and other few groups of Makhan.
The release further stated that Makhan had clarified on its false claims few days ago that doors of those dismantled houses were locked from outside with an intention to burn the inmates alive. However, after the clarification, it has come up with another cook-up story, stating that in aftermath of September 19, the lives of thousands of students studying in Don Bosco College Maram were purportedly threatened. This version could be well explained by the apex students’ bodies officials – Maram Students’ Union (MKS), Mao Students’ Union (MSU) & Senapati District Students’ Association (SDSA) who, after suspicious of causing harm to students from certain elements, were prompted to have first hand physical spot visit and enquire into the rumours, at the College.
After satisfaction of the normal, peaceful and conducive environment of the college campus and the students, the students’ bodies went back. In any case(s), the security, peaceful atmosphere and credibility of the College, supported by the local populace are well-known. As such, it is hard to comprehend with what ‘sinister’ plan the good name of College is being dragged into the present issue, which is totally irrelevant and uncalled for, NMPO remarked.
In addition, ESU also attempted to malign the sub-power station at Maram Bazaar prior to September 17 incident, over the electricity shutdown for 3-4 days at Makhan Khuman and neighbouring villages, by seeking clarification from the officials and employees of the power station, who have assured to extend full co-operation to investigate into the matter to find out the truth by going into the bottom.
NMPO believes that such attempts of blowing things out of proportion with ‘whims & fancy’ views are not intended to implicate and defame all public institutions located in our area and twist the facts and figures, the release added.