Student association appeals against harassment of Jiribam villagers

The Hmar Students’ Association (HSA) is shocked at the way the Jiribam police has seized bamboo from Chhotobekra, a Hmar village.

The Hmar Students’ Association (HSA) is shocked at the way the Jiribam police has seized bamboo from Chhotobekra, a Hmar village land under section 52 of the Indian forest Act 1927 on September 5, said HSA in a release.

It said that HSA would like to point out that the place where the bamboo was seized is not a forest area but a tribal village area of Tuisuolien (Chhotobelra). The Hmar tribal people of the area have been living in that area for over a hundred years under their chiefs and have enjoyed all tribal privileges and rights, it added.

“Bamboo is used extensively for a means of livelihood by the tribals of rural Jiribam. It is lamentable to see this obvious attempt to marginalise the tribals of the rural areas and systematically chock them off their means of survival,” said HSA in the release.

It also pointed out that “bamboo is an item of minor forest product and is exempted from permit and levy of royalty. Besides, vide order no. 57/3/91 for, orders of the Governor: Manipur, July 3, 2018, Government of Manipur, Secretariat: Forests and Environment Department, there is no need for permit and no royalty is to be imposed in Manipur in regard to bamboo.”

Therefore, there is nothing illegal that requires seizing the bamboo in Tuisuolien (Chhotobelra) village since the bamboo was not from the forest land area, it added.

While appealing the concerned authority to desist from harassing the underprivileged villagers and release all the seized bamboo, HSA added that the marginalisation efforts by the government towards the Hmar people of rural Jiribam will be opposed by the Hmar populace at all costs.

First Published:Sept. 10, 2020, 10:20 a.m.