Land Dispute Between Kukis, Nagas in Manipur Leave 150 Families Homeless

Reported by

Anurag DasLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

September 30, 2020

Location of Conflict

Chassad

,

Sampui village

Kamjong

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Communal/Ethnic Conflict

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

720

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

ha

State

Manipur

Sector

Land Use

On March 16, 2020, an arson attack took place in Chassad village in Kamjong district. The attack involved acts of ransacking and looting allegedly committed by an armed mob from the neighbouring Sampui village. More than 150 houses and 10 vehicles were torched. The state government had to intervene by invoking Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code and temporarily suspending Internet services. Land ownership is at the heart of the ethnic clash between the warring communities - the Kuki tribe residing in Chassad village and the Tangkhul Naga community of Sampui village. The violent incident was a reminder of the 1993-94 communal clashes between the two communities over the same issue of ownership of land resources, which led to the massacre of hundreds of people from both the communities. Chassad and Sampui villages are part of Kamjong district, which was carved out of Ukhrul district and was officially recognised on December 8, 2016, but ethnic clashes between the Kukis and Nagas can be traced to colonial times. Kamjong district is mainly dominated by Tangkhul Nagas, who consider it their ancestral territory. The Kukis, meanwhile, claim it to be their ancestral land with historical significance. The Tangkhul Nagas, supported by the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah), refute this claim. On March 15, 2020, approximately 30 acres of land under jhum cultivation, owned by the Kukis, were burnt down by some unidentified persons. The Kuki tribe from Chassad village blamed it on the Tangkhul Nagas of neighbouring Sampui village and blocked the Ukhrul-Kamjong state highway. In retaliation, the aggrieved Naga community attacked Chassad village the next day, burning down houses and vehicles. The NSCN (I-M) blamed the Kukis for 'provoking' the Nagas. In the aftermath of the attack, more than a hundred families were left homeless. According to Chongoi Baite, a resident of Chassad, of the 150 houses that were torched, only 30 were not completely gutted down. "Every single thing in the remaining houses, right down to the last spoon, was either destroyed or looted," she told LCW. Even though the state promised assistance to the affected people, nothing concrete has been seen on the ground so far. A villager in Chassad added, "Though the Assam Rifles personnel forestalled the perpetrators, neither they nor the Manipur State Police stopped the looting, ransacking, burning or the trucks that ferried away household goods, such as bags of rice, clothes, money, utensils, televisions, etc. Pressure groups like the Kuki Nampi Taona and Kuki Inpi provided temporary rehabilitation and relief material to the homeless. Although the families seek rehabilitation, they also fear a second attack by the Naga community surrounding them. Meanwhile, Tangkhul Naga Zingso Longphang, a sub divisional customary body of the Tangkhul Naga population, demanded legal ownership of the land in Kamjong and strongly opposed the resettlement process of the Kukis in Chassad village.

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common

Private and Common

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Land Area Affected
(in Hectares):

ha

Starting Year

Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:

District administration of Kamjong, Superintendent of Police

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

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