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Jiribam tribal bodies oppose revenue survey

Sunday, December 2, 2018

/ Posted by Simon L Infimate
Imphal, December 01 2018: The Hmar National Union VI, Hmar Students' Association, Jiribam Joint HQs, Hmar Women Association, Jiribam, Hmar Youth Association, Jiribam Joint HQs and Hmar Inpui coordination committee, Jiribam, Mizo People's Convention, Jiribam, Kuki Inpi Jiri-Tamenglong, Kuki Students' Organisation Jiri-Tamenglong and Students Christian Movement of India, Jiribam unit have expressed concern regarding the proposed revenue survey of Borobekra and Chhotobekra area by the State Government's Revenue Department.

A joint press release issued by the tribal CSOs of Jiribam district conveyed that the Hmar associations along with CSOs are apprehensive that the survey would affect/cover tribal villages within the proposed survey area.

It claimed that tribal villages in Jiribam district have been under chieftainship rule for over a century and land rights have also been given under each village chief a century ago while adding that the village boundaries are well defined and usually cover the hilly terrain of Jiribam (which has been, at times, defined as hill pocket villages) since tribal people are adapted to hilly environment.

The whole of Jiribam is partly hill and partly plain while Bangla speaking Hindu, Muslim and Meitei are the major communities settled in the plain areas of Jiribam, apart from few other communities, it said and further claimed that the tribals have always occupied the hilly terrains in Jiribam for over a hundred years.

The press statement claimed that the tribals practice jhum cultivation and depend on what the forest has to offer for livelihood and stated that the whole of tribal economy revolves around the village forest lands.

Meanwhile, the tribal community practices community land holding system under the respective village chiefs.

Surveying of land occupied by the tribals in Jiribam would tantamount to serious restriction on their very means of livelihood as the tribals of Jiribam are economically deprived and are not in a position to pay premium to maintain private land ownership, it added.

A proper study of the economy of tribal villages in Jiribam would attest to this fact, it claimed.

Even after Jiribam was put under Imphal East jurisdiction in 1977, all the tribal villages of Jiribam continued to pay hill house tax, which denotes that the hill pocket villages and tribal lands are under chiefs and the tribal community practice community land holding.

Terming the sudden prohibition of paying hill house tax by the new Government as tragic, the associations nd CSOs noted that the State Govt has turned a blind eye to the genuine demands of the tribal people of Jiribam to allow continuation of payment of hill house tax.

It claimed that a number of memorandums, appealing the Government for a separate administrative structure for tribals in Jiribam like tribal development block and a separate tribal sub -division in Jiribam were submitted.

Following the negligence of the Government, the chiefs, on behalf of the tribal populace of Jiribam, filed a case in the High Court against the State Government, the press statement said.

It also clarified that the case was filed for the welfare of the villages and the tribal people while all the public mandated tribal CSOs are supporting the initiative of the chiefs.

The joint Hmar associations and other tribal CSOs have appealed the State government to study the ground reality and be apprised of the actual condition of the tribal community in Jiribam.

The hill people of Jiribam desire status quo of their identity and land rights, which they had been enjoying as true indigenous people of Manipur, it demanded.

Source: The Sangai Express
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