Pukhao villagers protest rampant extortion

By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Nov 13: Several organisations at Pukhao in Imphal East district have questioned whether the Government is giving a free hand to an insurgent group whose cadres are “collecting taxes” in broad daylight.
In a joint sit-in protest organised today at Pukhao Ahallup Community Hall, they alleged that cadres of a Kuki outfit under SoO (Suspension of Operation) agreement with the Government are collecting taxes in plain sight near Saikul police station.
The joint sit-in protest was organised by Pukhao Naharup Pana, Pukhao Ahallup Pana, Pukhao Khabam Pana and Pukhao Laipham Pana.
The protest vehemently condemned “attempts to “include or convert” land belonging to Imphal East under Kangpokpi district.
While urging the Government to clearly demarcate land boundary between the two districts, the protesters said land belonging to Imphal East district cannot be taken away by any means.
Armed group under SoO agreement may threaten the people, but they will not take the land belonging to Imphal East district. Names of places cannot be changed and given new names as a means to justify their “illegal” claim over the land. The Government must constitute a boundary commission at the earliest to clearly demarcate the actual boundary, said the protesters.
Village Development Committee Pukhao Naharup general secretary Naorem Nageshwar Meitei, who took part in the protest said, different communities in the region have been living together peacefully for years. However, attempts to paint Uyok Ching, given to Pukhao by then Manipur Darbar, as under Kangpokpi district and Sadar Hills has caused tension among the communities. These attempts to annex land belonging to Pukhao has potential to disrupt the peaceful coexistence of the communities and harm ties that have always been there.
During the sit-ins the protesters stated that there is no restriction to people of other communities in doing business at Pukhao. However, cadres of a Kuki outfit under SoO agreement with the Government are collecting yearly and daily taxes from people of Pukhao who went for business north. They alleged that the cadres are collecting the taxes in plain sight near Saikul police station.
As the police are turning a blind to them collecting the taxes, one may ask if the Government is allowing this. Further, armed cadres have also now begun to cross into the areas of Pukhao and threaten the people. If conditions and rules of the SoO agreement are not enforced in total, many unwanted things may happen in future, they said.
The protesters held various placards denouncing “attempts” to include land belonging to Imphal East under Kangpokpi district, and urging the Government to constitute boundary commission to demarcate the land boundary between Imphal East district and Kangpokpi district.