IMPHAL, Aug 28 : Where-as Haraothel village has claimed the ritual ground of Ibudhou Koubru as theirs, people of Koutruk took out a rally today protesting against any plan to include parts of Sekmai Assembly constituency in the proposed Sadar Hills district.
A letter written by Chairman of Haraothel Village Authority Hatpi Vaiphei and addressed to the Koutruk Lai Committee was delivered to a village of Koutruk on August 19.
As they venerated Ibudhou Koubru, people of Koutruk built a shrine and a roofed structure at the deity’s ritual ground at Haraothel hill.
But the Haraothel village chief’s letter claimed that the area where the shrine and the waiting shed were built belonged to them.
Hatpi Vaiphei also asked the Lai Committee to shift the shrine or demolish it without delay, failing which the Lai Committee should bear responsibility for any untoward incident.
Perturbed by the letter, Koutruk villagers held a meeting this morning and took out a protest rally.
The protest rally was also attended by people from Senjam Khunou, Senjam Chirang, Khurkhul (Leimakhong), Kangchup Chingkhong, Phayeng Chingkhong, Ka-dang-band and Tairenpokpi.
The protesters marched till the shrine of Ibudhou Koubru which was claimed by Haraothel and shouted slogans like “No land of Koutruk should be included in Sadar Hills”, “No area of Sekmai AC should be encompassed by Sadar Hills” etc.
Koutruk is a Scheduled Caste village located within Sekmai AC.
The neighbouring village of Haraothel is inhabited by Kukis and it is included under Sadar Hills.
Addressing the public meeting held earlier in the day, Koutruk Youth Development Club general se- cretary Ningthoujam Jiten said that as per land records of 1960, Haraothel hill belongs to Koutruk village.
The name of the hill was also coined by the forefathers of Koutruk village, he said.
Just three Khongsai households started settling in Haraothel with the permission of Koutruk elders during 1972-73.
Before them, one group of Nagas was also allowed to settle at the same place but they abandoned the place.
But in a blatant act of arrogance, the Haraothel village chief sent a letter recently claiming that the premises of Ibudhou Koubru was theirs.As the deity is most venerated by the surrounding people, the claim of Haraothel village chief infuriated not only Koutruk villagers but also people of the surrounding villages. The ritual ground/hill was given to Senjam Chirang, Senjam Khunou and Koutruk by an order issued by the Manipur State Durbar in 1926-27, Jiten added.

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