IMPHAL, August 23: The Manipur government has taken a serious view of the Myanmarese Army preparations to construct a temporary Army camp at Holenphai village, located 3 km from the police station at Moreh — the border town of Manipur. The State government is in contact with the Centre regarding the development, according to official sources.
Attempts to defuse the crisis by dissuading the Myanmarese Army officers from suspending the work till a final settlement is brought about were not fruitful as the officers said that they cannot do anything against the orders from their higher officials.
Meanwhile, several voluntary organisations and political parties in Manipur have been demanding the suspension of the work by Myanmarese Army personnel to erect a border fence as large chunks of the State’s land will be lost. Once the fence is erected, almost half of the 14 tribal villages in Chandel district will go to Myanmar. In the case of Choro in Ukhrul district, the entire village will be on the Myanmarese side of the fence. These political parties and NGOs have been threatening massive agitations to protect Manipur’s land.
Earlier, on the basis of complaints from Myanmar, erection of the 10 km-long border fence at Moreh had been suspended; Myanmar had said that its land had been encroached upon. The construction of the Integrated Check Post office was also suspended on similar ground.
The Myanmarese Army had started cutting trees at Holenphai village for the construction of the temporary Army base-camp, following which the village chief informed the district officials about the development. Robert Khetrimayum, Additional Collector of Moreh, accompanied by sub-divisional police officer H. Balram and Moreh police commando unit office-in-charge Sadananda visited the village on Thursday.
The official team found the Myanarmese Army cutting trees in the village. The Additional Collector told the commanding officer of 87 Light infantry of the Myanmarese Army to suspend the work till a settlement is brought about. However, the commanding officer was not happy that the Indian officials had come inside the “territory” of Myanmar. He told the Indian officials that he cannot do anything unless his higher officials gave him orders.
He also told the Indian officials that according to a map of the Britishers, this area is well within Myanmar.