IMPHAL August 9: The issue of the Sadar Hills district demand spearheaded by the Sadar Hills District Demand Committee is unlikely to settle down lightly with the Kuki Peoples’ Forum Chandel Unit joining in today with a vow to intensify the agitation further along the National Highway 2 (NH 39), if the government failed to realized a concrete resolution within the deadline set by the committee.
This was divulged during a press conference called by the Forum at the conference hall of Hotel Kristina located at Paona bazaar in Imphal today.
Appealing to the the Naga civil societies not to oppose on the SHDDC’s decades long demand, the secretary of KPF, Chandel district N. Sulta said that, “The area covered by Sadar Hills has a mix population comprising of various communities and tribes and no single community or tribe has claimed for sole ownership”. The demand for a district has been taken up since years back to help facilitate administration of the area for the various communities and tribes residing in this area, he added.
Condemning the government on being indifferent towards repeated plight for a full fledged Sadar Hills district and the subsequent, reported successive non compliance on assurances made by the government on many intervals, he resented that SHDDC has been demanding for a full fledged district within the boundary of Manipur and not demanding to secede from the state. He further resented that the government should bring out practical solution and not to indulge in lip service only.
The Kuki People’s Forum during the conference expressed their moral support on the demand of SHDDC and further cited to strengthen the agitation till the demand for a district is realized.
Robert Gangte, spokesperson, L. Mate, chairperson and K. Touthang, joint secretary of the Forum also address the conference held at the conference hall of Hotel Kristina in Imphal this morning.
Meanwhile, suspected strike supporters set ablaze a goods laden truck today evening around 7:15 pm at Mahadev along the NH-150 under the Litan police station.
Reports said that the truck was coming from Dimapur via Jessami carrying potatoes. The registration number of the truck is identified as NL-01G/2954.
Most of the section of the truck has been severely burnt during the arson, further asserted the report.
Newmai adds: A massive public meeting was held at Kangpokpi Tuesday evening in support of the ongoing demand for the declaration of Sadar Hills district where three lawmakers and several council members of the area joined the people in stepping up pressure on the state government.
Hill Area Committee (HAC) chairman and MLA from Kangpokpi Thangminlen Kipgen, MLA of Saitu Haokholet Kipgen, MLA of Saikul Doukhomang Khongsai, ADC chairman Sehpu and other members of ADC supported the demand for Sadar Hills district. This is the first time since the agitation began on August 1 that representatives of the people have come out in open support for demand.
The MLAs and ADC members had reportedly gone to Kangpokpi today for a closed door meeting with leaders of Sadar Hills Districthood Demand Committee (SHDDC). They shouted pro Sadar Hills district slogan at the public meeting.
A woman who addressed the public meeting noted that disunity among the people had afflicted severe debilitating blow to the past attempts of the demand for a full fledged Sadar Hills district, and said that this time the public leaders must act in a united force and not allow themselves to be bought out by extraneous forces who are against the demand.
The participants at the public meeting were mostly women from Saikul, Haipi, Keithelmanbi and Saparmeina who descended at Kangpokpi in hundreds and thousand even as the second round of talks between the state government and the demand committee yesterday failed to break the 8-day long impasse.
In the meanwhile, the Chandel based Kuki Peoples’ Forum (KPF) said at a press meet today at Kristina Hotel in Paona Bazar that if the state government does not fulfill the demand for a full fledged Sadar Hills district before the expiry of the deadline given by the demand committee, the Imphal-Moreh stretch of National Highway 39 will be blocked.
Secretary of KPF N Sontak appealed to United Naga Council (UNC), All Naga Students’ Union Manipur (ANSUM) and Senapati District Students’ Association (SDSA), who have been steadfastly saying that the demand for Sadar Hills district can not bypassed the Nagas, not to paint a communal color to the issue. He said that Sadar Hills district is not for the Kukis alone but for all the people who reside in the contiguous area regardless of ethnic affiliation.
Chairman of KPF L Mate said that the demand for a separate Sadar Hills district is not intended to secede from Manipur or to carve out a Kuki district but is essentially for the development of the area and its administrative convenience and efficiency.
While an IRB convoy that was coming from Dimapur in Nagaland loaded with essential commodities was sent back by strike supporters today, transporters body (Transport and Drivers’ Council) president H Ranjit told the media that the state home department has assured security to truckers who would leave tomorrow for Jiribam to ferry essential commodities.
Meanwhile, a truck bearing registration number NL 01G-2954 has been torched by suspected strike supporters at Gaolatabi under Lamlai police station in Imphal West district.