Manipur is the ancestral land of all those who built the civilization and erstwhile kingdom of Manipur with the blood and sweat: PAPPM

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Imphal: Being a voluntary social organisation dedicated to working towards peace and progress in Manipur, People’s Alliance for Peace and Progress, Manipur (PAPPM), it says, it is very much disturbed by the recent developments in Manipur whereby various tracts of land of Manipur are being claimed as ancestral land by some groups claiming to represent Kuki tribes, who came to Manipur from outside and given shelter by kings and Maharajas as well as by Government of India.

The recent incident is the claim of Thangjing hills as ancestral land by some students groups claiming to represent to Kuki tribes, the people’s alliance said in a press release on Sunday.

Thado-Kuki tribes are well known to move continuously from one place to another until they reach a safer place to shelter. There are historical records of migrating from Kale-Kabaw -Mythia valley to Chin Hills and then to Lushai Hills and Cachar plains looking for safer places. They finally reached the territory of Manipur during the reign of Maharaja Narsing (1844-1850), when there was mass exodus from Lushai hills and Cachar plains due to persecution there, it said.

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Maharaja Narsing gave them shelter in Manipur by giving land free of cost. Maharaja was assisted by the then British Political Agent, McCulloch in this task. They were also employed in the Manipur Army thus becoming good subjects of Manipur. The migration of Kuki-Chin Tribes in Manipur continued even after independence. There are official records indicating that some of them were settled in Manipur as refugees to escape persecution by the then Burmese authorities. All the documents and historical writings establishe the fact that Thado-Kuki Tribes have come to reside to Manipur as outside settlers seeking for a safe place,  it added.

“So it is quite strange that some hilly tracts of Manipur are being claimed as ancestral lands by some organisations belonging to Kuki tribes of Manipur. This is quite evident from the recent claim of Thangjing Range as ancestral land of Kuki tribe,” the people’s alliance said.

Thangjing hill is a sacred place for all the people of Manipur, who have toiled throughout the ages to build a civilization and the erstwhile kingdom of Manipur. The erstwhile kingdom of Manipur which existed prior to the merger to Dominion of India in 1949 is well recorded in written history for more than two thousand years. PAPPM would like to state on record that the erstwhile Kingdom with Kangla as capital was built with the blood and sweat of people settled in Imphal valley, Kabaw valley, Cachar valley along with the various indigenous hill tribes residing in surrounding hills, it added.

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PAPPM also believes firmly that the valley settlers came down from their original settlement in surrounding hills and mountains besides some groups of people migrating from other parts of Asia. Being the ancestor worshippers, original settlers of Manipur still firmly believes that the mountain tops like Koubru, Thangjing and Nongmaiching etc are the sacred places being the abode of their ancestors and go for pilgrimage every year, it said.

In this context, claim of Thangjing Hills as exclusive ancestral land by some groups of people who came from outside and settled in Manipur is very mischievous and is intended to disturb social harmony of Manipur, the people’s alliance said.

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This incident also exposes the very fact that some groups of people are taking advantage of the non-existence of land use policy in the state to claim vast tracts of land which belongs to the whole people of Manipur, it added.

In the light of the facts, PAPPM strongly feels that immediate steps are necessary to prevent the future occurrence of any conflict based on land issues.

PAPPM draws the attention of the Prime Minister of India and chief minister of Manipur for ‘formulation of a land use policy for the whole state of Manipur; legislation allowing all original settlers of Manipur state to buy land and settle in any part of the state without legal restriction; and identification, detection and deportation of those who are not Indian citizens’.

It said it drew the leaders’ attention to the issues to bring peace and progress in Manipur.

“We, therefore, would like to express our earnest appeal the Government of India and Government of Manipur to act on the above issues a long-lasting peace in Manipur and hence North-East India,” PAPPM said.

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