Villagers confront with police over land dispute at Salungpham in Thoubal

Two women sustained injuries while trying to flee from the teargas fired by the police.

Two women sustained injuries as police fired several teargas shells to disperse the violent crowd as a confrontation broke out between the police at Salungpham villagers in Thoubal district of Manipur on Monday.

The injured women have been identified as Ningthoujam Luhini, 60, wife of Nimaichand and Asem Ashang, 37, wife of Sunil. Both are from Salungpham Mamang Leikai. Later, Thoubal SP S Ibomcha himself came and took stock of the situation and monitored the security condition.

A major tussle took place between villagers of Salungpham under Thoubal district and Ringpam under Tengnoupal district, which escalated into major violence on August 28.

Following the incident, district magistrate Thoubal district imposed prohibitory orders under Sub-section 2 of Section 144 CrPC, prohibiting gathering of five or more persons, movement of villagers/ persons carrying deadly weapons from Saturday until further orders in the tensed area. Besides, additional security personnel were sent in to prevent further occurrence of any ontoward incidents.

In connection with the incident today, president, United Committee Organisation Salungpham, Phuritsabam Brajamani told the media that few villagers of Ringpam numbering three to four guarded by security personnel tried to carry food towards Ringpam in a gypsy by violating the prohibitory order.

“The irate villagers of Salungpham stopped the vehicle at Salungpham Kang Yambem Mamang Leikai as one woman, who allegedly fired gunshots during the major tussle on August 28, was among the occupants of the vehicle,” he said.

Brajamani said that the villagers asked the occupants of the vehicles to leave by leaving behind the eatables and to come and take them once the prohibition is lifted. However, there was strong disagreement and the confrontation broke out leading to the police firing the teargas shells, he said.

Brajamani also urged the government to resolve the tension between the two villages at the earliest and to provide essential food items in the area where prohibitory order under CrPC Sec 144 is promulgated.

Meanwhile, NS Thuingamla, who has been accused of firing gunshots by Salungpham villagers, has refuted the allegations. Speaking to the media, she said that her husband NS Moshang is a rice rationing agent of Ringpam village.

 “Four of us went to collect rice from Thoubal this Monday morning. My husband stayed behind in Thoubal and the three of us returned and bought a bag of potatoes from Wangjing on our way home. However, some youths stopped us when we reached Salungpham Kang Yambem Mamang Leikai and told us to return the food items

“The pleas to allow them to pass were unheard. Instead, I was accused of firing gunshots and being involved with insurgents,” she narrated.

The police, who were guarding the two villages also rushed in and the confrontation broke out when the police tried to escort us, said Thuingamla. She said that the windshield of the gypsy was broken and that they are now highly apprehensive of what may happen to them. She also appealed to the government to resolve the issue at the earliest.

Youth secretary, Ringpam village, Shinglai Ngayinmi expressed strong condemnations over the act and said that the imposition of CrPC 144 has been rendered meaningless by the confrontation.

While saying that efforts of civil bodies like AMUCO for reconciliation may also go waste by such acts, the secretary appealed to avoid recurrence of such incidents in the future.

Meanwhile, the second joint meeting of the leaders of Ringpam, Tolen and Salungpham villagers was held to resolve the crisis, at conference hall of SP Thoubal. Agreements were reached and the meeting adopted three resolutions.

The meeting agreed that no development work should be carried out at any part of Mayok Ching/ Khoribok Chingmai until a final decision is brought among village authorities of Salungpham, Tolen and Ringpam.

It was also agreed that a meeting of the stakeholders will be convened at the earliest possible by village authorities of the three villages to bring a final decision.

The meeting also adopted the resolution that the parties of Salungpham village and Ringpam village will not cause any law and order problem or disturbance and shall be responsible for any default until a final settlement has been reached.

First Published:Aug. 31, 2020, 10:39 p.m.