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Songjang Pakang Chief Clarifies On Inter-Village Standoff

IMPHAL, Jan 12: Reacting to a news report published on some sections of State dailies on January 9 regarding a scuffle involving villagers of Songjang Pakang and Thonglang Akutpa, the Chief of Songjang Pakang village has clarified that the allegations made by the Chief of Thonglang Akutpa were wrong.

In a press statement, Chief of Songjang Pakang, Gou Kipgen claimed that his village has enough land and cultivate mostly potatoes, cabbage and peas.

‘We do not cultivate poppies or other vegetables to a land belonging to Thonglang Akutpa village’, he added.

On January 5, the press release said, Thonglang Akutpa villagers on the pretext of conducting an inspection tour encroached the boundary of Songjang Pakang village with about 100 men, some wearing combat dress and armed with firearms, dao, stick, binocular, etc and some men in camouflage painted their face in black.

Gou Kipgen alleged that Thonglang Akutpa villagers torched three jhum huts, potato seedlings, clothing, utensils and 45 bags of charcoal etc belonging to his village.

They also forced and threatened laborers, women and children of Songjang Pakang village to vacate Joulen potato farm, he added. On receiving the information, Gou Kipgen added, Songjang Pakang villagers rushed to Joulen potato farm to rescue the harassed villagers.

After some arguments, one group of Thonglang Akutpa villagers headed towards Thonglang Akutpa side while another group in combat dress having firearms went to Songjang Pakang village. Thereafter, Songjang Pakang villagers followed them and prevented them from entering the village, he added.

The Chief clarified that the land of Songjang Pakang village was not given by Thonglang Akutpa.

And so far Songjang Pakang never asked any kind of tax to any person, he added.

During 2010, Thonglang Akutpa also grazed their cattle without Songjang village’s land without permission. Unintentionally two cows have been killed by the Songjang Villagers after repeatedly entering to Joulen jhuming field. Thereafter, Songjang Pakang Village Authority repeatedly appeal to Thonglang Akutpa to drive out their cattle from Songjang Pakang and negotiated for compensation but Thonglang Akutpa refused it.

Further, Songjang villagers neither forcibly occupy nor allow Nepalese to settle over a plot of land belonging to Thonglang Akutpa as they have mentioned, Gou Kipgen added.

Also there is no land dispute between Songjang Pakang and Thonglang Akutpa as stated by spokesperson from the Zeliangrong Students’ Union, he clarified.

The incident of January 5 was in consequence of illegal encroachment by Thonglang Akutpa villagers inside the boundary of Songjang Pakang village, he claimed.

There was no armed persons using AK-47 and M-16 in Songjang Pakang village and no exchange of fire took place as mentioned by the Chief of Thonglang Akutpa, Gou Kipgen clarified. The Chief of Songjang Pakang village also sought an apology from Thonglang Akutpa village for alleged encroachment and for setting ablaze of jhum huts, 45 bags of charcoal and newly cut jungles and also compensate it.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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