Ensure the return of displaced people, says Meghalaya tribal body

Keep track of people coming from Manipur entering villages and localities, these bodies have been told 

June 27, 2023 04:14 pm | Updated July 01, 2023 09:29 am IST - Guwahati

Burnt remains of the godown of Manipur PHED Minister L Sushildro Meitei after it was set ablaze by a mob during the continuing ethnic unrest between Kuki and Meitei communities, at Chingarel in Imphal East district on June 24, 2023.

Burnt remains of the godown of Manipur PHED Minister L Sushildro Meitei after it was set ablaze by a mob during the continuing ethnic unrest between Kuki and Meitei communities, at Chingarel in Imphal East district on June 24, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

A tribal council in Meghalaya has flagged the “mass migration” of people from ethnic strife-torn Manipur to the State’s capital Shillong and adjoining areas. 

The Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) has accordingly asked the Dorbar Shnongs — traditional village or locality-based councils — to keep track of how many people have taken refuge and ensure they return after the situation back home in Manipur after normalcy is restored. 

A Dorbar Shnong runs a Khasi village or urban neighbourhood according to customary laws. These bodies, each headed by a Rangbah Shnong (headman), had asked homeowners not to let out their premises to “outsiders” after violence broke out in Manipur on May 3. 

Explained | What is behind Manipur’s widespread unrest?

On June 26, the KHADC discussed the law-and-order situation across the Khasi Hills in view of the “communal disturbance in Manipur”. The summer session of the council is on. 

The discussion followed a meeting of the KHADC’s Executive Committee with the Rangbah Shnongs of Shillong. 

“The tribals from Manipur are migrating not only to the northeastern States but also to countries like Thailand and Myanmar. The council needs to alert the localities about this situation,” Bindo M. Lanong, a member of the district council said. 

He also said that a majority of the people who fled violence in Manipur have taken refuge in Shillong’s Madanriting area. 

“Many Rangbah Shnongs have issued a directive to the home-owners not to give their units on rent to the people from outside,” Titosstarwell Chyne, the leader of the opposition in the KHADC said, expressing concern over the reported move by the people from Manipur to buy land in Meghalaya. 

He advised the Conrad K. Sangma-led Meghalaya Government to set up relief camps for the refuge-seekers from Manipur so that they are not scattered. 

Other members of the KHADC underlined the difficulties faced by the Rangbah Shnong in reporting about the entry of people from Manipur without any clear directive from the State Government. 

P.N. Syiem, the deputy chief executive member of the KHADC, said the Executive Committee would direct the localities within its jurisdiction to be alert to the problems created by the Manipur crisis. 

“Each village or locality should keep tabs on people coming in from Manipur to areas within its jurisdiction. They should also record how many people go back home after things normalise,” he said.

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