Amid the ongoing unrest in Manipur's Moreh after the killing of SDPO Chingtham Anand, several bodies, both from the Meitei and the Kuki community have voiced out their anger as well as resentments.
An Imphal West-based body, going by the name "My Manipur" in its press statement asserted that in the last few days, press releases and statements of a few tribal bodies objecting to the deployment of state forces in Moreh have appeared and falsely terming it as an "act of aggression." Photos of banners with words such as "Protest against the forceful occupation of Moreh by Meiteis" etc. have also surfaced."
Further advocating on its statement, the local body highlighted that the claims made by both tribal bodies are not true as per records.
The release said, "The Yangoupokpi Lokchao Forest was declared as a Reserved Forest in 1946 by the Manipur State Darbar and later declared a Wildlife Sanctuary by the State Forest Department in 1989.
The body also highlighted the boundary description and stated that the entire forest is bounded by Waksu Lok to the north, Lokchao River to the south, boundary pillars from 15 to 22 to the east and to the west the course of the Lokchao River which meets the main Burma road near about Sibong and then following the bridle path going to Leibi to a branch of Namjet lok about near Dolaibung Kuki. In extent, it will cover roughly about 60 (sixty) Sq. miles."
Further, a notification issued by the Secretariat stating that the Forest Department, Government of Manipur, dated March 21, 1989, mentions the consideration of the state government to constitute Yangoupokpi Lokchao Forest as a Wildlife sanctuary for the purpose of protecting, propagating and developing wildlife or its environment and is situated near the Sub-Divisional headquarter town of Moreh.
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The national highway 39 bifurcates the reserved forest in two parts:
The Schedule mentions its boundary as:
North - Waksu lok, the footpath from Sibong village to Leibi village extending up to Dolaibung Kuki Village, in the South - Lokchao river, East - Inda-Myanmar international boundary and in the West - Lokchao river.
As per the schedule, the important villages near the Yangoupokpi Wild Life Sanctuary are Moreh, Govajang, Satang, Saikul, Dolaidung Kuki, Kampang, Leibi Kuki, Kwatha, Khudengthabi and Lokchao.
The enclosed map also shows the mentioned area and the important villages which include Moreh.
My Manipur states- It may be noted that the declaration of Yangoupokpi Lokchao forest as a Reserved Forest and a Wild Life Sanctuary was made before the creation of Tengnoupal district in 2016.
With Moreh town coming under Yangoupokpi Wild Life Sanctuary, it is also the bounden duty of the Manipur state government to conserve and protect the area by exercising its powers and deploying any law enforcement agencies as required and necessary.
Therefore, Moreh town and the surrounding areas which come under the Yangoupokpi Lokchao Reserved Forest do not belong to any particular community in Manipur.
"No community, CSOs, village chiefs, groups or bodies have right to claim it as theirs and have no authority over it, stated the release.
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