Scandal in settlement department exposed as humans sell off god's land

People of five localities of Thangmeiband, who worship Iputhou Naothingkhong Pakhangba, were shocked when they found out that a portion of land in Langol that was dedicated to the deity, has been allegedly sold off by four members of the Iputhou Naothingkhong Pakhangba Managing Committee.

In an unexpected turn of events, failed attempt by four persons to sell off a portion of consecrated land dedicated to Iputhou Naothingkhong Pakhangba, a revered deity of the Meetei, ended up exposing a scandal in the settlement department in Imphal.

People of five localities of Thangmeiband, who worship Iputhou Naothingkhong Pakhangba, were shocked when they found out that a portion of land in Langol that was dedicated to the deity, has been allegedly sold off by four members of the Iputhou Naothingkhong Pakhangba Managing Committee without consulting the people and other members of the same committee. 

It is said that the people of Lairen Hanjaba Leikai, Hijam Leikai, Sinam Leikai, Yumnam Leikai and Maisnam Leikai worship the deity and people have been using the land on roster basis.

Narrating the ordeals, the president of the managing committee, Sinam Bheigya told the Imphal Free Press, “I met the Nepali guy who did agricultural works in the same plot of land some days back. When I ask him about how this year’s growing season was doing, I learnt from him that the land has been sold and that he has been prohibited from sowing any crops there.” 

He said that even though the land measuring three ‘sangam’ is the property of the local god, it was registered in the name of (late) Thangjam Gulamjat and Ngangbam Ibotombi of Lairen Hanjaba Leikai, who is the secretary of the managing committee. 

“Later, it was found out that without my or people’s knowledge, the land owner was changed in the name of Ngangbam Ibotombi and the treasurer of the committee, Senjam Mahendra. The people also became aware that the plot of land was sold for Rs one crore and 20 lakh by four of them, namely Ngangbam Ibotombi, Senjam Mahendra, T Borunkumar and Nongmaithem Amutombi without consulting the people on May 3,” he alleged. 

Following the judgment of the people, the quartet has been made to return the money to Jangkholun Touthang, who purchased the land and the public meeting that followed resolved formation of an ad-hoc committee to look into the matter. As informed by the convenor of the ad-hoc committee, M Shyamananda, he has acquired all the documents of the sale and registration. 

Shyamananda, while showing the documents to the IFP, pointed out that the change of pattadar name does not follow the normal procedure of waiting for objection within seven days.

As per the documents shown to IFP, the notice issued by assistant survey and settlement officer on February 29 this year said written objection to the change of ownership from (late) Thangjam Gulamjat to Senjam Mahendra may be given within seven days.

“However, the ownership was authorised to Senjam Mahendra on the same day, i.e., February 29 without waiting for the seven days. This is quite controversial and we will find out the truth at the earliest,” said Shyamananda.

The news went viral on social media following a young girl being made to apologize for uploading the news of the meeting on her facebook account.

First Published:May 30, 2020, 11 p.m.