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Committee Ready To Protect Ahongpung Site

IMPHAL, Feb 13 : With a view to protect Khurai Ahongpung site which is a very important sacred spot for performing religious rituals and ceremonies since historical period and also protect the inter-village road leading to Khurai Mange Makhong, the Ahongpung Historical Monument Protection Committee has resolved to launch various forms of mass movements.

The committee has been demanding restoration of the original complex of Khurai Ahongpung and removal of Teli encroachers who have taken occupation of the inter-village road leading to Mange Makhong.

Khurai Ahongpung is a sacred site reserved for performing community prayers and rituals since the early period of monarchy.

In addition to Khurai Ahongpung, there are three other sacred spots with similar religious significance. They are Kongba Shoudolpung, Kakwa Lamdaipung and Tera Wangkhonbi.

At these four sites, royal priests of the Pandit Loi-shang used to perform annual religious rituals of Sharoi Khangba on the first and last Saturdays of the Manipuri calendar month Lamta.

Amongst the four divisions of Khurai, Wangkhei, Yaiskul and Khwai Pannas, the annual religious ceremonies would begin from Khurai Ahongpung and the same site has been notified for protection under Historical Monument Act since 2000.

At one time, the complex of Khurai Ahongpung covered 8850 square Kms. But due to steady encroachment by Telis, its area has shrunk to just 90 sq metres as per the gazette notification of 2007.

Now, there are one community hall, five temples and one school in the area which was once the complex of Khurai Ahongpung.

Because of continuous encroachment, the existing site of Khurai Ahongpung is not large enough even for five persons to attend religious rituals together.

Against the 2007 gazette notification of the State Government, Telis filed writ petition at Gauhati High Court which subsequently issued a ruling prohibiting any development work inside Ahongpung complex.

On the other hand, the inter-village road leading to Mange Makhong has been blocked by Telis. They have fenced the road with bamboo mats and the inner side has been turned into a garbage disposal site.

On the other half of the road, the Telis have constructed 26 RCC pillars.

Speaking about these activities at Khurai today, publicity secretary of the Khurai Ahongpung Historical Monument Protection Committee Thangjam Guneshore said that all should stand united against such design aimed at destroying the sacred site of Khurai Ahongpung which is closely associated with the religion and tradition of the indigenous community.

At one time, the complex of Khurai Ahongpung was as large as a complex of a sylvan deity but today it is only 10 to 12 feet long.

During the reign of Churachand, only five Telis were allowed to settle in the vicinity of Khurai Ahongpung complex and they were engaged in producing cooking oil. But today the ever increasing population of Telis has taken over the whole complex.

Not only that, the Telis have been passing derogatory remarks and mocking at people coming to perform religious rituals and functions at the sacred site, Guneshore said.

It is a matter of serious concern that the local MLA has been allegedly giving in to every demand and wish of the Telis fearing that he would lose the vote bank of Telis.

People would no longer tolerate such haughty attitude of the encroachers and the original area of the Khurai Ahongpung complex should be restored at the earliest

Further demanding that the road leading to Mange Makhong should be opened at once, Guneshore clarified that the committee does not mean that Telis should leave the area.

While calling upon the Telis for peaceful co-existence, Guneshore categorically stated that the local people would no longer tolerate encroachment and destruction of the sacred site.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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