Saturday, August 22, 2009

Indigenous Hmar People Oppose Tipaimukh Dam Project

The Hmar Peoples Convention-Democratic (HPC-D) has said that the proposed Tipaimukh Multipurpose Hydroelectric Project is a war imposed on the indigenous Hmar people and other communities who share the river.

HPC-D “northern command” leader Lalthutlung Hmar told Newmai News Network that power-hungry governments and dam builders in India are being driven by capitalist interests. In their blind pursuit for profit and securing energy in distant foreign lands, they are poised to cross into indigenous peoples’ territory to dam the two life-giving rivers, Tuiruong and Tuivai, the group said.

“They don’t have the approval and consent of the people in whose land the dam is proposed. We are closely watching their every move. Hmar Peoples Convention Democratic shall never tolerate and allow their efforts to bear any fruit,” he said. The HPC-D leader said the rivers that nurse and feed ‘our honored generations before shall continue to flow for all the generations to come.’

'Tipaimukh, India: Location of Proposed Dam'

“We cannot allow the rivers to be disturbed. We are obligated to see that no outsiders, their forces and might will dam, destroy or disturb the natural flow of the rivers of life. Whoever steps in shall do so at their own risk. They shall pay for their own action,” he added sternly.

The HPC-D leader also said that Tuiruong and Tuivai rivers are central to the existence and survival of the indigenous Hmar people, who are fragmented by five state boundaries – Assam, Mizoram, Manipur, Tripura and Meghalaya.

“Although the divisive state boundaries made our people politically insignificant in their respective State, the rivers weaved our people together through thick and thin. We shall never sacrifice them; never in the name of development; never in any elusive name. Our rich culture, tradition, history, language and memory flow in these rivers,” he said The HPC-D leader said it won’t “bow before any foreign interests to become mere fodder when our human quest is also to live and progress like equal human being.”

He said the rivers did not flow to be dammed and “our land and forest did not stand to be submerged; our people did not live to be uprooted and displaced”. There can be no compensation for the loss and cost to be paid by the people,” the Hmar outfit leader said.

The HPC-D pledged that it will fight to the end to see that the continuity and survival of these resources are not cornered. “We shall not allow the inheritor of these resources, the Hmar people, to be murdered by the same rivers that has given them life through the ages,” he said.

The outfit has appealed to the visiting parliamentary delegates from Bangladesh to steadfastly share the people’s concern to save river Tuiruong and Tuivai for all purposes. “Work together for collective good; to save the rivers from irreparable damage and public calamity,” he added.

The “northern command” leader of the outfit further said that HPC (D) was responsible for destroying NEEPCO’s drilling machine in the year 2008. “We hope everyone read our message loud and clear. We shall ever be committed to resist the destructive forces that go against the will of our people. Let this be a warning to all the other actors who are eyeing to intervene and injure our land and resources,” he said.

Advising to “stop all your vain efforts,” the outfit said it will not allow anyone to become “profit makers, share-holders and beneficiaries at the cost of our blood, land and rivers.”

“Let the governments and dam builders hear if they have ears; let them reason with their clear conscience before they initiate the structure of mass destruction. Let them not push us against the limit. If, today, they don’t retreat, HPC (D) shall be proud to become a sacrifice to take our own course of action. We shall fight this war. None can stop us, for God is with us,” Lalthutlung Hmar added.


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