Press Statement of the Poumai Naga Naotumai Me (PNNM) on Militarisation of Liyai Khunou (Chilao) Village, Senapati District Manipur, India.
The Villagers of Liyai Khunou (Chilao) were shocked to find their village heavily militarised on the morning of June 4, 2010. Around hundred heavily armed personnel belonging to Manipur Police Commandos led by Superintendent of Police Radhashyam of Imphal East District are presently camping in the village since then to stop Th. Muivah, Ato Kilonser (Prime Minister) of NSCN from visiting his birthplace, Somdal in Ukhrul District, Manipur.
One house belonging to Mr. Th. Thaisho, was forcefully broken in and is being occupied by the Manipur Police Commandos. Two barns were removed forcefully by the security forces to gain space for their stay in the house.
Liyai Khunou Village or locally known as Chilao is a small Poumai village with about 30 houses and is situated about 25 Km to the south of Pfutsuro, the town in the state of Nagaland where Mr. Muivah is presently stationed.
The Poumai Naga Naotumai Me (Poumai Naga Women Union, PNNM) visited the village on June, 6, 2010 to meet villagers and assess the situation. PNNM encountered terrified women and children with stories of mistreatment and harassment suffered at the hands of the Commandos. Numerous reports and statements of properties, including firewood, fruits, etc forcefully taken by the commandos were received from the villagers. They also reported that when complaints were made, they were threatened. Commandos were also reported to invade the privacy of homes to charge their mobile phones and other electronic gadgets even in the absence of house-owners.
Villagers, particularly women, expressed their concern regarding the safety of children when elders are not present. Statements were received that commandos lure children with sweets in exchange for other goods in the absence of elders.
PNNM saw that the village is clearly under siege. Villagers have already expressed their concern through a complain letter to the Deputy Commissioner, Senapati, District, Manipur to immediately intervene. However, action is still awaited.
PNNM is against the militarization of any kind and strongly urges the authorities to immediately withdraw the commandos. We also appeal to all Naga individuals and organisations, and civil society from other parts of the country to take note of the plight of the Chilao Villagers and intervene to remove the commandos from their village.
P. Delilah Pao
June 12, 2010