Imphal, Sept. 15: The “public” hearing by the committee for administrative and police boundaries held today at the office of chief secretary D.S. Poonia turned out to be a “private” affair, with delegations being allowed to meet the committee one at a time, leaving many fuming.
The committee, headed by Poonia, was constituted to look into administrative and police boundaries in the aftermath of the crippling economic blockades by Sadar Hills District Demand Committee and United Naga Council (UNC) over the district creation issue.
On September 13, the committee announced holding of the public hearing and asked interested parties to turn up at the office of the chief secretary for claims and counterclaims.
Though the programme was called a public hearing, it turned out to be a rather “private” affair, with the committee hearing one delegation at a time, while asking others to wait outside for their turn.
Reporters, too, were not allowed to cover the proceedings of the hearing.
“This is not the way to organise a public hearing. It should be open, and not a closed-door affair,” former Manipur Human Rights Commission member R.K. Rajendra Singh, who came to take part in the hearing, said.
Amu Kamei, chairman of the Zeliangrong Union, was also furious. “We came from far off areas and there is no certainty whether we will meet the committee. And why this private hearing… Is there a hidden agenda?” he asked.
Sadar Hills District Demand Committee and the UNC did not send any delegation to the hearing. Kuki Inpi Manipur, the apex body of the Kukis in Manipur, also did not take part.
Most of the delegations coming from Tamenglong, Senapati district and Imphal West districts submitted before the committee that their villages should not be included in the proposed Sadar Hills district.
A joint delegation All Zeliangrong Students Union and Zeliangrong Youth Front urged the committee to amalgamate 90 Zeliangrong villages, now under Churachandpur and Sadar Hills of Senapati district, with Tamenglong district.
A delegation of Tomching Chingsang and Sambugn Chingsang area of Sadar Hills also demanded that 45 villages belonging to Tangkhuls, now under Sadar Hills, should be included in Ukhrul district.
Land Protection Committee from Sekmai Assembly constituency of Imphal West sought to maintain the existing boundaries of the district.
“The Sadar Hills Demand Committee included major portions of nine villages now under Imphal West in the map of their proposed district. We will not allow our villages to come under Sadar Hills,” the committee’s secretary, W. Jotin, said.
Delegates from organisations like All Manipur United Clubs Organisation went back, as there was no official word on whether they could meet the committee or not.