Sielmat (zoramobserver.com): The Kuki villagers from Tamenglong District and Jiribam have written to Manipur Chief Minister expressing their desire to be under Pherzawl District.
In a letter signed by Sominthang Doungel (Chairman, Pol Affairs Kuki Inpi Manipur), Jangsat Haokip (President Kuki Inpi of Tamenglong District) and Blessing Hmar (Secy United Chiefs Committee, Jiribam).
The leaders said that all the 39 Kuki villages within Tousem and Nungba sub-divisions of Tamenglong District and Jiribam District wanted to join Pherzawl District citing sevral dificulties in the present administration.
“There are as many as thirty nine (39) Kuki villages within Tousem and Nungba sub-divisions. The nearest Kuki village from Nungba sub-division office is about 30 km. All the Subdivision and Deputy Commissioner offices are located only in Naga areas. Similarly, the Kukis in Tousem have to go to Tamenglong, a distance of about 120 km for any office related work. As such the Kuki people could not avail any government schemes, facilities and developmental benefits in the kacha Naga dominated districts of Tamenglong.The sufferings of the Kukis in these areas are exacerbated by the activities of the NSCN-IM,” the leaders said.
They also stated that the Kuki villages that “survived the NSCN-IM onslaught” have not reaped the benefits being under Tamenglong District.
“As in the past, Kukis continued to suffer the disadvantages associated with the district headquarters which are located predominantly in the NSCN-IM stronghold of kacha Naga dominated areas. For the last two decades the District Headquarters in Tamenglong, rather than serve as administrative units are killing fields as the Kukis who proceed there to avail their rights seldom return home safely,” they claimed.
AGAINST PANCHAYAT SYSTEM
They also narrated the lost of their tribal rights after the upgradation of Jiribam District.
The district “was formerly recognised as Hill Areas from 1948 to the status of a district with six other districts vide Order No. 25/6/2010-IAS/DP, 8th December 2016 by the office of the Governor of Manipur and the same issued in the Manipur Gazette No 16/20/2016-R,8th December 2016, the Kuki villages have been debarred from paying Hill House Tax and their villages have been administered under the Panchayat system without their consent.”
“The State Government’s forceful administration of the Kuki villages in Jiribam under a Panchayat system is nothing but a deliberate action to subvert their traditional chief system and their status as Hill villages and to seize their rightful lands and gradually assimilate them into the larger community,” they said.
INCLUDE ALL KUKI VILLAGES UNDER PHERZAWL DISTRICT
“Therefore, we on behalf of the Kukis in these areas of Tousem sub-division and Nungba sub-divisions of Tamenglong and Jiribam districts in particular and the Kukis of Manipur in general in expectation of the full protection of our ancestral lands and our constitutional rights approach your kind benevolence to consider our cases and include all Kuki villages and their lands in Tamenglong and Jeribam into Pherzawl District,” they added.