GUWAHATI: Several people were injured in Manipur on Monday when the police used force to disperse villagers who were allegedly resisting the demarcation of land for construction of the National Sports University, the first of its kind in the country.
According to locals, the injuries were caused by the firing of tear gas shells. The locals retaliated with stones. The area falls on the border of Kangpokpi and Imphal West districts and is disputed.
The incident occurred just ahead of the commencement of a “total bandh”, which was called by some Kuki civil society organisations of Kangpokpi, from 1 pm of October 5 till midnight of October 10.
The authorities had gone ahead with the land demarcation for the sports university despite protests by several Kuki organisations as well as the locals of Haraothel village in Kangpokpi.
Earlier, the state government appointed a district boundary committee towards resolving the dispute. The organisations in Kangpokpi were miffed over the government’s arbitrary decision to demarcate the land and its purported claim about the site falling under Imphal West district without allegedly waiting for
the committee’s report.
Thangminlien Kipgen, who is the president of Kuki Students’ Organisation Sadar Hills, insisted that the government must resolve the issue by accommodating the sentiments of all stakeholders.
“The villagers viewed the process of land demarcation as illegal. Their demand is that the state government constitute a proper legitimate demarcation committee and publicise the findings of government’s District Boundary Commission first before going ahead with demarcation,” Kipgen said.
After Monday’s incident, the locals staged a protest and demanded the shifting of the site of the sports university.
Considering Manipur’s rich heritage in games and sports, the Centre had decided to establish the sports university in the state. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone on March 16, 2018.