Mapithel, the name of a dam runs into a hail of protest in Manipur where the affected people on Monday vowed to take on the authorities. Speakers after speakers at a protest meeting in Riha in the outskirt of Imphal strongly opposed it alleging that the dam poses a serious threat to their land and forest resources.
The crowded meeting unanimously pledged to resist the move and to mount pressure on the Government to allow the Thoubal River to flow freely. The meeting also asked the government to recognize indigenous people and their rights over their land and resources.
Riha Village headman Wungreisung alleged that the Government has, of late, started considering the affected people like animal who find it difficult to survive because of the dam that submerged their land and forest.
Thoyee village headmen Ng Khathing blamed it all on the Government for the massive destruction of land, forest and water sources in Mapithel.
Naga Women Union leader Aram Pamei said that with this dam in question, the government has violated the rights of the indigenous people rights over their land and resources. She asked the Government to stop the process of development that has led to the destruction of their land without any accountability.
ATSUM leader Joseph Hmar condemned the government's insensitivity for indigenous peoples. He said that the government has been putting the people in a confused state of affairs instead of safeguarding the rights of the indigenous people.
Centre for Research and Advocacy official Jiten Yumnam slammed the government for commissioning the controversial dam even after the exiting dams have failed to function properly. According to him, Khuga dam, Khoupum dams have failed yield good results. He said, “ the Mapithel darn will only unleash hardship to the affected communities.”
Chairman of Committee on Human Rights Phulindro Konsam expressed grave concern over violation of the indigenous peoples' rights alleging the endorsement of undemocratic process in the name of development. He said the government has never implemented the recommendations of the former UN Special Rapporteur, James Anaya to respect the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples and to end the militarization in Mapithel darn. MDAVO chief Dominic Kashung presented the key note address
On Tuesday the protesters took out a community protest meeting at Ithing Sendra.