UKAL stresses for lasting solution over attacks at shrines

IMPHAL, Oct 16 : The Umanglai Kanba Apunba Lup (UKAL) has welcomed the move of all the stakeholders to come to the table and talk things over following the desecration of a holy shrine at Leimakhong Chingmang some time back but urged the State Government to work out a long term solution to make sure that such incidents are completely curbed in the future.
In a statement UKAL said that the settlement of the Leimakhong Chingmang incident is at best a brief solution and not much more than pampering those who are infringing on the faith and interests of another community.
The act of sacrilege at the shrine had occurred earlier also but the issue was worked out by some persons with two pieces of roofing sheets without considering the sentiments of the community which has been slighted, it said while adding the recent issue is going to end in the same fashion.
The issue indeed should not be given a communal tone, however, as attack or infringement on the faith or belief of a community is involved, relevant Constitutional measures should be invoked rather than agreeing to settle the issue on petty terms, it said.
There are numerous issues other than recent sacrilege at Leimakhong Chingmang as many shrines of various sylvan deities and sacred sites and places of cultural identities across the State have been attacked, it said while adding that efforts are on to displace the names of these places and sites as per the convenience of some community.
What is more saddening is lack of awareness or silence on the part of the State Government which is actually the guardian of all communities, said UKAL giving many instances of sites under threat of their name being changed or made to disappear.
Contentions, disputes and altercations are many as Thangjing had almost turned into Thangting, Salang Khul of  Kabui Salai Maiba has disappeared, trees adorning the sacred site of Koubru have been wiped out and converted into poppy farms, Chengei hill relating to Emoinu Ema has almost crumbled, sacred site of Heibok has been turned into patta land and the list goes on, it said.
These issues require a lasting solution, otherwise the tensions and hatred among communities will persist in the State, said UKAL while drawing the attention of the State Government to come out with an unbiased larger settlement plan.
To ensure protection of these sacred sites and the routes leading to them, UKAL submitted a memorandum to the State Government proposing things that can be done under provisions listed in the Constitution of India.
The memorandum seeks full and strict protection of religious shrines in the State under relevant laws enshrined in the Constitution, relevant punishment of those involved in attacking or vandalising the shrines.
It also sought intervention to ensure that names of historically and culturally significant places or sites are not changed or renamed.
UKAL also expressed hope that the Government, keeping the growing concern in view, will act and take up actions wholeheartedly.
If the Government fails to respond to their memorandum by October 31, UKAL will initiate measures to safeguard and protect the sacred sites which have been kept guarded by forefathers since ages from November 1.