New Delhi/10th March, 2023: A peaceful sit-in protest was held at Jantar Mantar today under the aegis of Kuki Students’ Organisation, Delhi & NCR (KSO, D & NCR) with full endorsement from several sister tribal organizations from the state of Manipur.
The protest was aimed at denouncing the N. Biren Singh-led BJP Government in Manipur for its allegedly illegal declaration of huge swathes of hill areas as forest reserves, protected forests, wildlife sanctuaries, etc.
“The state government has declared a huge chunk of tribal-owned and inhabited hill areas as its land circumventing the forest-dwelling communities by depriving them of a consultation,” said Robert Thongkholal Haokip, Assistant Professor, Centre for Law and Governance, JNU.
Worse, the state government had carried out a forceful eviction drive at K. Songjang village, Kangvai Sub-division, Churanchandpur district on 20th February last month under the garb of the alleged reserve forest. Kungpinaosen village of the same district is another one which has been served a show-cause notice that directs the villagers to vacate it for the same reason.
The same protests took place across most of the tribal inhabited areas of the state like Churachandpur, Tengnoupal, Saikul, Kangpokpi, and Jiribam, to name a few. Protesters in thousands took to the street to safeguard their constitutional provisions enshrined under Article 371 (C) of the Indian Constitution.
The protests were carried out even as the concerned District Magistrates had imposed S. 144 of Cr.PC with immediate effect on the receipt of a report from each Superintendent of Police that, there is the likelihood of breach of peace, disturbance to public tranquillity, and grave danger to human lives and properties within and around the jurisdictional areas of each District Headquarters.
Even while breaching the criminal law, the protests ended on a peaceful note except for Kangpokpi where it ended with an exchange of violent stone-pelting and rubber bullet-shooting between the protesters and the police with minor casualties from both sides.
This is Mr. Paojakhup Guite reporting from Jantar Mantar, New Delhi (I am pursuing an MA in Media Governance at the Centre for Culture, Media, and Governance, Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) University, New Delhi. I may be contacted at email@example.com).
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