Inaccurate statements in the article ‘Resolving Kuki-Zo-Chin and Meitei conflict’
I would like to bring out the following two inaccurate statements in the article ‘Resolving Kuki-Zo-Chin and Meitei conflict’ by Home Raikhan published in The Sangai Express on 24 July 2023:
1. Not being clear on how to proceed with the immigrants, Raja Nara Singh of Manipur handed over the case to the British colonial master for resolution.
During the reign of Nara Singh (As regent of the young King Chandrakriti Singh from 1834 to 1844 and thereafter Raja till 1850), Manipur was not under the British Colonial Rule. Major MacCulloch submitted on 18th July 1861, the Memorandum on the duties of a Political Agent of Manipur (Alexander Mackenzie p155-157) which included the following:
· A political agent was first appointed for the preservation of a friendly intercourse and as a medium of communication with Manipur and as occasion may require with the Burmese authorities and more specially to prevent border feuds and disturbances which might lead to hostilities between Manipur and Burmese.
· In the hills all around the valley, and to the west beyond the Barak and Mookroo, are Kookies over whom I exercise a general superintendence to prevent oppression of the people, driven from their homes by their enemies in the south. The late Rajah of Manipur, Nur Singh, made over the superintendence of all these tribes to me. This arose from the first proceedings in connection with them for the establishment of a line of villages to the south of the Koupooees, a matter which came before the Governor General in Council.
2. The tribals across the divide were of the view that the ownership of the forest as also Reserved Forest rest squarely with the Schedule Hill tribes of the concerned area.
‘The Second Schedule’ of the ‘The Manipur Legislative Assembly (Hill Areas Committee) Order, 1972 issued by the President of India in exercise of the power conferred by Article 371 C of the Constitution gives the ‘Scheduled Matters.” Para 3 states that “The allotment, Occupation, or use, or the setting apart of land (other than any land which is reserved forest) for the purpose of agriculture or grazing or for residential or other non-agricultural purposes or for any other purpose likely to promote the interest of the inhabitants of any village or town situated within the Hill Areas. The “Reserved Forest” is not included in the Schedule of the Hill Areas Committee (HAC). Therefore, it is the duty of the State Government to protect the Reserve Forest in the interest of all the communities in Manipur.
I shall be grateful if the above observations are published in your esteem newspaper for the information of the readers.
Captain Indian Navy (Retired)