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EMA, Meitei Alliance, YFPHR decry spillage of black oil into water streams


While EMA called it environmental vandalism, the Meitei Alliance dubbed it the poisoning of water in Manipur. YFPHR maintained that it is a clear violation of various International law & protocol such as Geneva Convention

TFM Desk

European Manipuri Association (EMA), the Meitei Alliance and Youth’s Forum for Protection of Human Rights have expressed serious concern over the spillage of black oil into water streams. While EMA called it environmental vandalism, the Meitei Alliance dubbed it the poisoning of water in Manipur. YFPHR maintained that it is a clear violation of various International law & protocol such as Geneva Convention.

In a press statement, EMA said, “Spilling furnace or black oil into water streams… poses a severe threat to both aquatic organisms and human lives.” It sought immediate attention and swift action from the government authorities.

EMA demanded the Indian and Manipur government authorities do a thorough inquiry if this was a deliberate act to cause harm to public health. This spillage poses a direct threat to human lives as these contaminated water sources are integral to the drinking water supply in the valley. Ingesting water contaminated with oil pollutants can result in severe health consequences, ranging from gastrointestinal issues to long-term health hazards, it said.

EMA urged the government authorities to take immediate and decisive actions to mitigate the effects of this environmental disaster; initiate immediate and thorough clean-up operations; implement rigorous water quality monitoring measures to assess the extent of contamination; conduct health assessments for communities reliant on the affected water sources, providing necessary medical support and resources; launch public of awareness campaigns to educate the community about the dangers of water contamination and promote responsible environmental stewardship.

It also urged the authorities to pursue legal actions against those responsible for the oil spillage, ensuring accountability and discouraging future acts of environmental degradation.

In its press statement, the Meitei alliance said an incident of contamination of river/stream water flowing down into Imphal valley from the hilly area in Saitu Assembly constituency heavily populated by the Kuki community was reported in Manipur. In this regard, a first information report (FIR) has also been filed against unknown people. The needle of suspicion currently points to the Kuki terrorists active in this area. News reports point to a defunct heavy-oil power station in Manipur’s Leimakhong area to be the source of the contaminant that was released into the stream. Here, it must be pointed out that rivers and lakes of Manipur, including the famous Ramsar wetland — Loktak Lake, depend on such streams as the source of water.

It maintained that such heinous crimes have been an integral part of the Kuki’s offensive terrorism since May 3, 2023, which has been aimed at discouraging and obstructing the drive to prevent illegal immigration; detect foreigners; destroy illicit poppy plantations and drug business] evict land encroachers, and protect forests and environment.

The Meitei Alliance said, “The latest incidents reconfirm that Kuki terrorists are perpetrating crimes against humanity. Going beyond forest encroachment and destruction (for illegal settlements and poppy farming), they have become the enemy of the eco-system by attacking water and the lives that are dependent on it.”

It lamented that the modus operandi of the Kuki terrorists, the nature and gravity of their crimes, and its disastrous impacts on the indigenous people and eco-system have been covered up by a section of irresponsible media and illegally funded/yellow journalists. Condemning it, the Meitei Alliance urged the national media to reveal the atrocities carried out by the Kuki terrorists to the larger public.

Meanwhile, Youth’s Forum for Protection of Human Rights (YFPHR) also expressed deep concern over targeting the source of water and water bodies in the ongoing conflict in Manipur. “Since the beginning of the violence in Manipur, the water sources has been a target which was witnessed in Bishnupur District of Manipur wherein the water pipelines from Lophal Village were destroyed by the Kuki Militants under the Suspension of Operation (SoO) at S. Phainom Village which used to be supplied at Thamnapokpi Village, Naransena, Phubala etc,” it said.

In a press statement issued on Thursday, YFPHR said it was shocked to witness the intentional contamination of Makha Loukhong due to the spillage of oil, which is said to be originated from Leimakhong and passes through the villages of Chingmang, Kanto Sabal, Kanto, Khurkhul etc of Imphal West District of Manipur. “Earlier since the beginning of the ongoing violence the water supply pipeline was destroyed by the Kuki Militants which falls under jurisdiction of the Leimakhong Army Camp and the water supply was stopped for the last 8 months and no efforts from the side of the Army and State Government to restore the same beside several appeal was made from the side of the villagers,” It added.

YFPHR said it was very unfortunate that the only water stream i.e. Makha Loukhong was polluted with the oil which is used for daily needs, gardening, washing clothes, washing utensils, toilet, poultry, animal husbandry etc.”

Maintaining that it is a clear violation of various International law & protocol such as Geneva Convention, YFPHR stated that this pollution of water bodies is a threat to human settlement and need a stringent action by the competent authority of the Government and immediate intervention by the Water Resource Department, Government of Manipur.

“The act of blocking water and polluting water bodies and using it as a weapon of conflict needs a serious attention from the side of the Ministry of Home Affairs and to withdraw the SoO pact with the Kuki Militants immediately. At the same time a strong investigation is in need on how the oil spilled into the stream and investigation is in need against the Army posted at Leimakhong for making it happen,” statement further said.

YFPHR appealed the Water Resource Department to find an alternative means of water sources for the people and restore the water crisis in the area at the earliest.

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