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Manipur Government Takes Legal Action Against Unauthorised Renaming of Places under Manipur Names of Places Act, 2024

The Manipur government has initiated legal measures against individuals or organisations involved in the unauthorised renaming of places under the Manipur Names of Places Act, 2024.

As reported by the IANS, this move comes in response to recent incidents in the state, officials said on Tuesday.

Incident in Churachandpur District

Recently, the Kuki National Front-Military Council erected a gate in Churachandpur district, renaming a part of the Thangjing Hill range as ‘Thangting’ instead of ‘Thangjing Ching’. This act of renaming has prompted the state government to take immediate action.

Government Response and Legal Measures

Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh addressed the issue in a post on X, stating: “The state government has immediately taken up measures to book any group or individuals involved in changing existing names of places in the state. Under the Manipur Names of Places Act, 2024, a case has also been registered for renaming a part of the Thangjing Hill range as Thangting.”

FIR Lodged by Land Resources Department

The Manipur Land Resources Department has filed an FIR at the Imphal police station against the unauthorised renaming of the Thangjing Hill range. The department’s Under Secretary, Mangoljao Kamei, emphasized that the present-day Thangjing Hill range falls within the Churachandpur-Khoupum Protected Forests, which was notified on September 17, 1966, under the Indian Forest Act, 1927.

Also read: Manipur Violence: Supreme Court Directs NIA to Shift Arms Theft Trial Away from State

Historical Significance and Legal Protections

Thangjing (Thang Ching) holds historical importance and has been declared a protected site by the state’s Art and Culture Department under Section 4 of the Manipur Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1976, according to Kamei.

The FIR detailed that the erection of a gate bearing the words Kuki National Front-Military Council with the name of the site as Thangting constitutes an unauthorised alteration of the original name Thangjing (Thang Ching). This act violates the provisions of the Manipur Names of Places Act, 2024, as well as the Manipur Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1976.

Request for ‘Zero FIR’

The official requested the police to register a ‘Zero FIR’ at Imphal police station, considering that Thangjing Hill range falls under the jurisdiction of Henglep police station.

Context of the Manipur Names of Places Act, 2024

To prevent the unauthorised renaming of existing places and the independent naming of villages without official approval, the Manipur Legislative Assembly passed ‘The Manipur Names of Places Bill, 2024’ on Monday.

The Bill seeks to impose penalties on those found guilty of arbitrarily naming villages or places without government approval.

Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, who also oversees land resources, introduced the Bill in the House. He emphasized the responsibility of the current generation to protect and preserve the sacred land and resources inherited from their ancestors. Singh expressed concern that the present generation is causing damage to the invaluable land and resources preserved by their forefathers for thousands of years.

Singh highlighted that historical maps once depicted the geographical boundary of Manipur as around one-third the size of present-day China, but noted that the state’s boundary has since diminished. He stressed that the responsibility for naming villages and places lies with the Revenue Department. Unauthorised renaming creates confusion and could ultimately lead to a situation where Manipur becomes difficult to locate.

Singh pointed out instances of unauthorised renaming, such as Imphal airport being referred to as Lam-ka on flight tickets. He stressed that this issue should not be taken lightly. He also questioned the acceptability of renaming Kangpokpi to Kanggui and Churachandpur to Lamka, highlighting the potential confusion and impact on the state’s identity.

By passing this Bill, the Manipur Legislative Assembly aims to maintain the integrity of the state’s geographical and cultural heritage, ensuring that any changes to place names are made with proper authorization and consideration.

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