Myanmar asks Manipur tribals to demolish structure in "their land"
The Myanmarese army has asked the tribal village chief of Hollenphai village to demolish houses and churches located at “areas of Myanmar.” This was stated in a joint press statement by Thangkhosai Haokip and Khaimang Chongloi, the president and the general secretary of the Kuki Impi Manipur (KIM), the apex body of the Kuki tribals in Manipur.
The KIM representatives had visited Hollenpahi village to inspect the ongoing construction of the border fence by Myanmar that is reportedly encroaching upon Manipur's land. Representatives of the Kuki students, village chiefs and women activists were also present during the visit.
They said that the boundary pillars 74, 75 and 76 are “missing” near Hollenphai village. Besides, boundary pillar 80 is missing near Gobjang village. But the boundary pillar 23 of Myanmar is very much there.
Lalkholun Haokip, the tribal village chief of Hollenphai, told reporters that the border fence now being constructed under the supervision of Assam Rifles is one km deep inside Manipur's territory.
Myanmarese army’s instruction to demolish houses and churches in this village had been conveyed to the district administration.
However there is no government response. Some churches had been damaged at Gobjang village. It is also said that the Myanmarese army is carrying on with the construction works of the army camp at Hollenphai village.
Some days ago the police and civil officials of Chandel district had rushed there and held brief talks with an army officer of Myanmar there. But since the border fence has left out large chunks of the village the Myanmarese army claims it as the land of that country. It was also contended that as per maps maintained by the British, it is the land of Myanmar.
NGOs and other activists had visited these disputed areas and it was reported that at least 18 villages of Manipur will be affected by the border fence now under construction. The Manipur government had constituted an official committee to look into the border dispute.
However the committee drew flak when Principal secretary (Home) Suresh Babu told reporters that this is not a border fence but a security fence. Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam Gangmei promised to look into the matter. The NGOs have been demanding suspension of the construction works till a final agreement is reached.