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Manipur police register FIR over alleged name change of Thangjing Hills

Amid the ongoing investigation by the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) on the issue, Manipur police on Monday registered a zero FIR over photographs of a banner placed in the culturally disputed areas of the Thangjing Hills, a hill range which is considered sacred to both the Meitei community and the Kuki-Zo community – the two communities involved in the state’s ongoing ethnic conflict. The FIR has been registered on the basis of a complaint by the Land Resources Department of Manipur government.

The photo in which the FIR was registered showed a gateway on the way to a forested hill. The inscription on it read: “Kuki National Front – Military Council KNF-MC Kuki Army Thangting Camp”. The Land Resources Department said that based on this photo circulating on social media, it looked like it was near Thangjing Hills, but the banner still spelled it as “Thangting.”

The government said that since the area had been declared a protected area of ​​historic importance, the photo “indicated unauthorized change of name” in violation of the Manipur Names of Places Act, 2024.

In a message on He said, “Under the Manipur Names of Places Act, a case has also been registered in 2024 for changing Thangjing Ching, which is also a protected site, into Thangting.”

One of the points of contention about the ridge is its nomenclature. The Kuki-Zo people have always called it Thangting Hills and the Meitei people have always called it Thangjing Ching or Thangjing Hills.

In the complaint copy uploaded by him, the police in charge of the Imphal station has registered the FIR under sections of the Indian Penal Code for criminal conspiracy (120-B), promoting enmity on the ground of religion or ethnicity (153 -A ), and deliberate acts to outrage religious sentiments of a community (295-A), being part of a group of dacoits (400), and public mischief (505), and relevant sections of the Indian Forest Act.

Historical importance

In the complaint, the Land Resources Department said, “It is stated that the present Thangjing Hill falls within the Churachandpur Protected Forest, which was notified in September 1966 under Section 29 of the Indian Forest Act, 1927. Further, Thangjing ( Thangjing Ching) is a hill of historical importance and the Arts and Culture Department of the Government of Manipur has declared it a protected area, under section 4 of the Manipur Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1976.”

The ridge, located somewhere in the middle of the buffer zone between Churachandpur and Bishnupur districts, has been disputed by Kukis and Meiteis as having religious and cultural significance for their respective communities. The battle for the right to pray and worship on the ridge has only escalated since the ethnic conflict between the two communities began on May 3, 2023.

Kuki-Zo village leaders in the area and community civil society organizations have asserted their rights to the ridge throughout the conflict, prompting a scathing response from the government which insisted it was a protected area.

In February this year, the Ministry of Forests, Environment and Climate Change of the Manipur government through the Governor issued orders rejecting such claims made by the LS and the village head of Ukha Loikhai, one of the nearby Kuki-Zomi villages . although it said research into this connection was still ongoing.

The orders stated that the notification placing the village outside the jurisdiction of Churachandpur-Khoupum Protected Forests had been canceled in 2022, bringing it within its limits and qualifying it as an encroachment on protected areas. The state government went on to say that a fresh inquiry into the status of the village had already been initiated.

Within days of the village being classified as within the boundaries of protected forests in 2022, village head Thenkomang Haokip had sent detailed complaints to the state government and the National Scheduled Tribes Commission, saying no objection certificate had been obtained from him due revocation. – classifying the country.

Months after the ethnic conflict began in 2023, the NCST took note of the complaint and also initiated an investigation by invoking its powers as a civil court.

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