TODAY -
Villagers allege UG harassments
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 28 2009: Even as the fourth round of meeting of the Joint Monitoring Group was held today along with leaders of Kuki UG groups which are signatories to the Suspension of Operation (SoO) truce with the Government of India and Manipur, reports have been recieved of constant harassments meted out by armed cadres of the SoO signatories to the people of villages situated along the embankment of Thoubal River in Imphal East district.

According to reports, the armed cadres in camouflage have been coming to these villages at night time and harassing the people with monetary demand and snatching of mobile phones and in case of failing to entertain their demands, the armed cadres subject the people to physical torture.

As a consequent, the people of these villages, who rely mainly on agricultural activities and gathering of pebbles from Thoubal river, have not be able to take rest at night after the day's hard work fearing atrocities of the armed cadres.

In such a situation, vigilant Meira Paibis have been taking their turns in patrolling the area at night time by dividing themselves into groups.

In protest against the conduct of the armed cadres of the SoO signatories, a Wakat Meepham was also staged today at the community hall of Leirongthel Pitra today.

After the Wakat Mee-pham, a protest rally was also taken out in and around the area later during the day.

Participating in the rally, the protestors carried placards inscribed with slogans like 'Allow us to live in peace', 'Don't deny our rights to live peacefully', etc.

According to people of Leirongthel Pitra, the armed cadres have been frequent-ly coming to the villages at night and after gaining for-ced entry search the houses by pulling out mattresses and opening almirahs.

Sometimes, the armed intruders identify themselves as KNF-P and sometimes as USRA cadres.

If the monetary demand of the armed intruders were not entertained, the family members were threatened and their mobile phones snatched and anyone who tried to stop the armed intruders from snatching the mobile phones were beaten up.

The armed intruders also repeatedly pestered the family members with questions like who else in the family are UGs.

Over and above deman-ding Rs 5,000 from every rice mills, Rs 50,000 from every saw mills, Rs 5000 from every owner of Jeeps, Cars and Tata trucks, Rs 10,000 from bus owners, the armed intruders like never before have also recently demanded payment of hou-se taxes ranging from Rs 5000 to Rs 10000 and even upto Rs 1 lakhs in accordance to the condition of the houses.

Following the presence of the armed cadres, none of the trucks from Imphal have been able to come to the area for collecting the pebbles gathered by the villagers from Thoubal river.

Even the autorickshaws are plying in the area after paying monthly taxes to the armed cadres who do not even spare the labourers engaging in breaking boulders and collecting sand from the with demand of Rs 100 each.

From each quarry sites, the armed cadres have also imposed taxes upto Rs 10,000 and above.

It is conveyed that the eastern headquarters camp of KNF-P is located at Bongba Khullen situated not very far from the post of the IRB deployed for the security of Mapithel Dam and IRB personnel could no nothing to stop the KNF-P cadres from sneaking to the nearby villages, though there had been instances in the past in which IRB personnel beaten up KNF-P cadres after being rounded up for their alleged excesses.

The villagers also informed that the secretary of Leirongthel Youth Development Club has not been able to go out for work for around 2 months now after being beaten up by the alleged KNF-P cadres for failing to collect and hand over the demanded amount/taxes.

Unable to bear with the constant harassments of the armed cadres, the villagers have categorically stated that if there is end to the harassments and the matter could not be resolved through talks then they would have no alternative to fight back with no fear for death.

However, the villagers informed that one thing that is really confusing to them is the denial of both KNF-P and USRA from involving in any of the anti-social activities being carried by the armed intruders at night.

It is said that some of the cadres of USRA are in Sabal Village and talks had been held with the chief of the village on February 22. During the talks, the village chief had assured that none of the USRA cadres would venture out of the village without his permission.

The village chief had also stated that the USRA cadres consider the villagers of the surrounding area as their own brothers and sisters.

The aggrieved villagers further conveyed that their problem had already been brought to the notice of the MLAs of Heirok and Andro Assembly Constituency.

But it has been of no help and they continued to live in fear and uncertainty.


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