Khasi-Jaintias demand justice for victims

Silchar, June 29: Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) and Barak Valley Khasi-Jaintia Welfare Organization (BVKWO) have jointly impressed upon the Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police, Cachar, for meting out justice to the Rema Punjee residents in the Lakhipur sub-division of the district. According to them, a few days ago, an unfortunate incident involving the inhabitants of Borokompi Khasi Punjee and Rema Hmar Punjee leading to misunderstanding, disturbances and tension amongst the communities.
The victims of conflict and clashes around 54 individuals have taken shelter in the Hmarkhawlien Union High School, Fulertal. Both the organizations have urged upon the sub-divisional administration to provide necessary essential reliefs to the victims at the earliest after proper verification from the voters’ list. They should also be rehabilitated in their respective villages by providing them adequate security and safety.
Khasi-Jaintia Welfare Organization has also asked the authorities concerned to investigate the root cause behind this unfortunate incident and give justice to the residents of the village and people of the locality. The guilty behind the disturbances and tension should be booked at tried as per the legal provisions. Besides justice, they also want restoration of peace and tranquillity in the area. They have pointed out that cordial relations have always been existing for decades and people irrespective of their caste, creed and communities have been living in peace.
It has been pointed out in a joint memorandum by the organizations to the District Magistrate of Cachar that Borokompi and Chotokompi are of the same punjee and under the same headmanship as established by the British in the year 1937-38. Presently, Borokompi Khasi Punjee is having around 50 families, surviving on pan jhum cultivation for several decades.
Identifying the culprit Lowis Suchen of Borokompi Khasi Punjee as the main conspirator, the organizations have strongly demanded punishment to him. According to them, Lowis with the help of some miscreants began to give threats to the villagers by disturbing the punjee people. He used to file false and fabricated cases against some villagers and even instigated around 15 Khasis of other villages to encroach and occupy the land which falls under the jhum permitted boundary of Borokompi village. But, the miscreants working in cohort with them realized the motive of Lowis and deserted him.
The organizations have stated that in retaliation, some miscreants under the leadership of Rejoy Hmar and Rova Hmar from Kumba Hmar Punjee under Udharbond police station and some other outsiders have illegally and forcefully encroached the jhum permitted land of Borokompi Khasi Punjee. They mowed down valuable trees, burned the jungles and cut down more than 3,000 pan plantations. This has caused huge loss and damage to the Khasi villagers. They have approached the SDO (civil) Lakhipur and the Deputy Commissioner of Cachar several times, airing their grievances.
It has also been pointed out that the Beat Forest Officer of Harinagar clearly mentioned in his field report to the Range Officer of Jirighat, Lakhipur, the exact picture. On the basis of this report, the Executive Magistrate of Lakhipur directed Rejoy Hmar and his group not to enter in to the disputed land till the disposal of the case. Violating the directive of the Executive Magistrate, Rejoy Hmar and others forcefully constructed bamboo huts, burning and clearing the jungles for rubber plantation. The circumstances compelled the headman of Borokumpi Khasi Punjee to approach SDO (civil), apprising him of the details.
But, the signatories to the memorandum, .., regretted that there was no timely intervention and strong action against the miscreants by the local administration. They have again asked upon the administration of Lakhipur for arranging relief to the 54 victims of Rema Hmar Punjee taking shelter in Hmarkhawlien Union High School, Fulertal, besides providing them rehabilitation. (Source: SentinelAssam)

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