Written byJimmy Leivon
| Imphal |
In a bizarre incident, six families of Kotlen Village in Kangpokpi district of Manipur were allegedly ostracized by the Village Authority (VA) for not sending their children to the government school. The families were reportedly forced to shift to neighbouring L. Hengjol and Tintong Laijang villages on Saturday and take refuge in temporary sheds under difficult conditions.
According to the VA, the families have violated Resolution No.4 of the village Annual Assembly, besides refusing to comply with the April 21 decision of the VA. The families had willingly decided to leave the village before the Court of the VA on April 22, it said.
As per the Village Annual Assembly, villagers of Kotlen must enroll their wards below Class 5 in the village government school, a decision supposedly aimed to improve and uplift the school and unanimously agreed upon by the villagers.
On April 24, the Kotlen VA, headed by Dongjang Haokip, had served a written notice to the six families, asking them to dismantle their respective houses on or before April 28 and not carry with them any materials provided by the VA.
Upset over the VA’s move, the family said the decision was in contradictory to the Right to Education Act and demanded action from concerned authorities and the state government against the VA.
The families alleged that there are two government schools in the village under ZEO Kangpokpi and Sadar Hills Autonomous District Council. While three teachers have been provided by ZEO Kangpokpi, two have been provided by Sadar Hills Autonomous District Council, Kangpokpi.
The Kotlen chief, however, merged the two government schools and recruited two locals under the matriculate individual as substitutes to the teachers to look after seven classes in the school, the families alleged. Moreover, the families added, the functioning of the school does not meet the expectation of the parents as well as the students.
The families also alleged that the village chief himself had enrolled his children in a separate school in the capital city.
The eight children of the concerned families were studying in Class I, Class II and Class III at Tongsat Memorial Jr. High School in L. Hengjol village.
Paolun Khongsai, one of the victims, said, “We have been living under extreme hardships after shifting to L. Hengjol village and Tintong Laijang amid rainfall and improper lodging and food supply.” He added that one of the victims’ wife had given birth to a baby just before they were asked to leave the village.
Khongsai urged the authorities concerned and civil society organizations to look into the matter and address their grievances at the earliest.
The Kotlen village is situated around 30 km away from the state capital, Imphal, towards north of Kangpokpi district. It has a population of around 293 people with a total household of 51 as per the 2011 census.
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