What is ‘indigenous’ tribal? Manipur CM asks; Plans to visit Churachandpur district deferred

Imphal: Prohibitory order has been clamped and mobile internet services have been suspended in Churachandpur district

BY | Friday, 28 April, 2023

Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh’s plans to visit Churachandpur district on Friday have been deferred after the local legislator who had invited him decided to postpone the function in view of the tension which has gripped the district following protests and arson in New Lamka town over the eviction of Kuki villagers from reserve forest areas.

An unruly mob on Thursday night vandalised and set on fire the venue where the CM was scheduled to attend a programme at New Lamka town on Friday.

The mob also partially torched the newly set-up open gym at PT Sports complex at New Lamka which the CM was slated to inaugurate on Friday afternoon, police said.

“The local MLA had invited me to a celebration and to inaugurate the open gym,” the CM told reporters on the sidelines of an agriculture department function here.

“LM Khaute, MLA from Churachandpur constituency has requested me not to come now and said the open gym will be repaired soon,” Singh said.

Singh also questioned the “indigenousness” of the organisation Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF) who called an 8-hour shutdown and said “What indigenous people. We are indigenous people. Nagas are indigenous people. Kukis are indigenous people. What indigenous tribal?”

Meanwhile, prohibitory order has been clamped and mobile internet services have been suspended in Churachandpur district.

The District Magistrate of Churachandpur based on a report from the Superintendent of Police that there is a likelihood of breach of peace, disturbance to public tranquillity and grave danger to human lives and public properties clamped prohibitory order under Section 144 of CrPC in the tribal-dominated district.

An order issued by the Home department “said to prevent any disturbance to the peace and order the suspension of mobile internet services shall be in force for the next five days with immediate effect in Churachandpur and Pherzawl districts.”

The 8-hour shutdown of Churachandpur district called by the Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ILTF) to protest the eviction of Kuki villagers from protected forests paralysed normal life in the tribal-dominated southern Manipur district on Friday.

The district headquarter, New Lamka town, where Chief Minister N Biren Singh was earlier scheduled to attend a programme, wore a deserted look as all private and public vehicles kept off the road except for those of security personnel.

Markets were closed with all shops and establishments pulling down their shutters, police said.

Protesters were seen blocking roads and burning tyres in the morning. They had also piled up debris at the entrance gate of the New Lamka town but this was later cleared by police teams.

So far, no report of any violence has been reported from anywhere in the tribal-dominated district, police said.

A huge police force has been deployed at all major junctions and large localities of the town to prevent any unwanted activities, an official said.

Read more: Mob sets fire to Manipur CM’s rally venue in Churachandpur; Section 144 imposed, internet services suspended

Manipur: BJP ally KPA accuses Biren Singh-led govt of persecuting tribals

You cannot copy content of this page