Last Updated on February 17, 2023 by SPN Editor
Talking to the media in Kangpokpi town on Thursday, the Gorkha leaders led by Sagar Gewali, former ADC Sadar Hills councilor, and Man Kumar Yogi, chairman, Lamchok, alleged that the Thonglang Atongba Village Authority (TAVA) has intended to grab Gorkha’s grazing land by putting up signboards in the name of their forefather’s historical monuments when there are no such monuments related to Thonglang Atongba within Irang Part-I jurisdiction.
Denying the claim of Thonglang Atongba Village Authority (TAVA), the Gorkha leaders of Irang Part-I contended that signboards were put up in Irang Part-I jurisdiction and not in Thonglang Atongba jurisdiction as claimed by the village authority.
Strongly refuting the Thonglang Atongba Village Authority’s alleged fabricated historical monuments story within Irang Part-I jurisdiction, the Gorkha leaders pointed out that the place where the signboards are put up legitimately falls under Irang Part-I Gorkha Grazing village land and TAVA cannot claim the ownership of our occupied land just by a concocted story.
Sagar Gewali also rejected TAVA’s claim of the Gorkhas paying Rampon (customary land tax), the Gorkha leaders maintained that Thonglang Atongba village has a separate jurisdiction while Irang Part-I is specially reserved by the then Government and Manipur State Durbar since 1920 for Gorkha’s Grazing Reserve as the Gorkhas residing in the area paid grazing tax which we continue paying it till now to the State Government, and there is no question of paying Rampon or Customary land tax to them.
As per the Gorkha leaders, Thonglang Atongba Village Authority on August 26 put up sign boards at Manedara, Ghimerethari, and Chuchekhop under Irang Part-I jurisdiction, which the Gorkhas considered an intention to grab Irang Part-I Gorkha Grazing village land and its ownership.
Meanwhile, the TAVA said that every monument that stands within Thonglang Atongba village jurisdiction has a great historical attachment to them and is their identity and pride. “It is the responsibility to protect and preserve the monuments since our forefather’s time. Apart from putting up sign boards, more significant activities in order to protect and preserve these legendary monuments are in the pipeline. The monuments are many centuries old and were erected by superhuman and deities of the ancient Thonglang village.
TAVA also claimed that the Gorkhas who have been allowed to settle by paying Rampon (traditional land tax) have destroyed some of the priceless ancient monuments for farming activities. Such a callous act of disrespect to the ancient monuments is nothing but a direct challenge to the unquestionable ownership of the land.
Rejecting the claim of Thonglang Atongba Village Authority (TAVA), the Gorkha leaders of Irang Part-I contended that signboards were put up in Irang Part-I jurisdiction and not in Thonglang Atongba jurisdiction as claimed by the village authority.
Considering the intent of the Thonglang Atongba Village Authority can provoke communal tension between the Gorkha villagers and Thonglang Atongba villagers, the Gorkha leaders approached Deputy Commissioner Kangpokpi with a complaint and requested the district administration to remove the signboards at the earliest to avoid any communal tension.
Recalling past similar incidents, the Gorkha leaders pointed out that Thonglang villagers frequently disturb the peace-loving Gorkha community of Irang Part-I in some way or other for the past many years.
In 2016, Thonglang Atongba villagers burnt down the residential house of Gyan Bahadur Bomjan, a village chairman at 9 miles Poudel Basti which resulted in the setting up of a police outpost. However, the outpost was withdrawn during the pandemic COVID-19.
Taking advantage of the withdrawal of the police outpost, the villagers of Thonglang Atongba on September 7 last started encroaching on the land at 9 miles Poudel Basti and fell down many trees. On our complaint, the then Superintendent of Police Kangpokpi called both the parties, and an understanding was signed on September 9, 2021, narrated by the Gorkha leaders.
Even after the agreement, Thonglang Atongba youth started quarrying and cutting rocks at 9 miles Poudel Basti and they were driven away by the police and the district administration team, they added.
A press release signed by TAVA chairman Ch Kohopou however, alleges that the Gorkha complainants namely Kherga Tamang, Sagar Gewali, and Man Kumar Yogi are no more residents of the Thonglang areas and they are in-fact the instigators and trouble creators who have been misleading the peace-loving common people of the Thonglang and its adjoining areas.
It may be mentioned that the hon’ble High court of Manipur order WP(C) No. 911 of 2018 dated 19 August 2021 and W.A. No.29 of 2021 ref:- WP(C) No. 911 of 2018 dated 23 August 2021 passed an order(s) appointing of Gaon Bura ( GB)/ Chairman was held Null and Void. Whereas the Deputy commissioner of Kangpokpi order No.DC ( KPI)/1/Legal/2019 order dated 16 June 2022 has canceled order No.ADC ( KPI) 12/70-08 dated 6 May 2008 issued by Additional Deputy Commissioner, Kangpokpi regarding the appointment of Goan Bura / Chairman of Irang part -1 stands canceled. The district administrators are also requested to be more sensible in entertaining cases like this one. Such kind absurdity will only provoke one another and disturb the peace.
The Gorkha challenges the TAVA’s claim of Gorkha leaders being no more residents of Thonglang areas, they rebutted that they were never residents of Thonglang Atongba areas since birth rather they are bonafide residents of Irang Part-I and there is no question of us being no longer a resident of Thonglang area.
Censuring the statement of TAVA about many more prominent activities in the pipeline to protect and preserve their legendary monuments, the Gorkha leaders said that the TAVA statement clearly demonstrated their intention to flare up communal tension which the authority concerned should take immediate action.
The Gorkha leaders also appealed to the district administration and other authorities concerned to immediately remove the illegal signboards put up within the jurisdiction of Irang Part-I Gorkha’s Grazing land to avoid any unwanted communal incidents.