AMADA's balm to NC Hills victims
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, April 01 2009: A joint relief team of All Manipur Anti-Drug Association and Zeliangrong Students' Union, Manipur yesterday distributed relief materials to the Zeliangrong villagers who fled North Cachar Hills district of Assam and have taken refuge in different parts of Tousem sub-division of Tamenglong district.

The displaced villagers belong to Zemei sub-tribe of the Zeliangrong community.

They fled North Cachar Hills district following outbreak of violent incidents and threat on their lives and started arriving at Tousem sub-division in last week March.

They are currently taking shelter at makeshift relief camps set up at different parts of the sub-division including Mandeu, Phaklong, Pumdam, Najakok villages, etc.

It is said that armed insurgent group of Dimasas which constitute 34 percent of the total population in North Cachar hills district, started targeting Zemei villagers for their alleged opposition to the demands of the insurgent group including renaming of the district as Dimahasaorzi, imposition of Inner Line Permit system among all the tribal people and 80 percent job reservation for the Dimasas.

Around 20 innocent Zemei villagers have been killed by the Dimasa outfit so far and social organisations of the Zeliangrong community based at Assam have already submitted a memorandum jointly highlighting the issues to the Union Home Minister.

The total number of Zeliangrong villagers who have fled North Cachar Hills district and taken refuge at various makeshift relief camps set up for them in different parts of Tousem sub-division is estimated to be over 600 but the relief team could not visit all the relief camps for distribution of the relief materials.

The relief team could only directly interacted with around 132 displaced villagers putting up at the relief camp set up at the old building of the primary health centre located at Tousem headquarters and at the relief camp of Mandeu village where around 160 displaced villagers are taking shelter.

Nonetheless, the relief materials for the rest of the displaced villagers staying in other relief camps were handed over through the Tousem Relief Camp Committee.

The relief materials provided include 100 mosquito nets, 250 blankets, 600 toothbrushes, 298 toothpastes, 260 soaps, 116 candles, 59 match boxes, 16 bags of rice each containing 50 kgs, 2 bags of salt and 2 tarpaulins.

Apart from the contribution from the Indian Red Cross Society, Imphal and FCS Department of the Government, AMADA had also reportedly contributed from its annual expenditure in arranging the relief materials.

During the visit, the relief team had also taken a medical team along with them for medical examination of the displaced villagers.

The required medicines have been provided by the Family Welfare, Health Directorate, TB Cell, Malaria Department and Prakasha Medico.

Interacting with mediapersons on the sideline of relief distribution, secretary in-charge of Tousem Relief Committee Agnis pointed out that Tousem sub-division is the most underdeveloped area of Tamenglong district and after the incident of Bamboo flowering that have ravaged all the food crops by the rodent, the difficulties of the people have become manifold.

Inspite of that they have welcomed the Zemei villagers who have fled North Cachar Hills district.

Expressing apprehension over the possible sanitation related problems and outbreak of diseases among the displaced villagers putting up in the makeshift relief camps, Agnis drew the attention of the authorities concerned for taking up necessary prevention measures.

Urging the Government of Manipur to ensure the security of the displaced villagers, he also called upon the Government of Assam for taking up necessary steps to bring peace and normalcy in North Cachar Hills district so that the displaced villagers could go back to their respective villages.