Imphal: The Kuki Student Organisation-General Headquarters (KSO-GHQ) and the All Naga Students’ Association, Manipur (ANSAM), the apex student bodies of Kukis and Nagas in the state of Manipur, are deeply concerned regarding the incident that took place on May 9, 2022 at Tribal Colony wherein four people were seriously injured, according to the two student organisations. “We condemned the incident in the strongest terms for the violation of rights of the tribal people,” a joint statement of the KSO-GHQ and the ANSAM said today.
According to the Kuki and the Naga student bodies, the residents of Tribal Colony have always conveyed to the government that they are not averse to the idea of development and welcome the government’s plan to construct new multistoried buildings to accommodate more tribal employees of the state government. “However, they have asked for an alternative arrangement to house the 187 occupants/employees/residents during the interim period before the new construction and completion of the same,” the joint statement also said.
According to the two apex student bodies, following a show cause notice for eviction served on December 24, 2020, the residents of the colony had filed a PIL vide Writ Appeal No. 11 of 1993 in the High Court and the High Court consequently issued an Interim Order WP(C) No.345 of 2021, dated 29-10-2021 which maintained that the petitioners (residents) should not be disturbed without an alternative arrangement by the government. However, the KSO and the ANSAM said that no such alternative arrangement has been made available by the state government till date, “and instead, the state government attempts to bulldoze the residents”. Such an action of the government towards the tribals is a stark violation of the stated interim order of the High Court, the KSO and the ANSAM added.
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According to the two student organisations, in addition, the government has severed the drinking water supply pipelines and electricity connection besides threatening the local population by indiscriminately firing teargases and rubber bullets inside the occupied quarters.
The Tribal Colony situated at New Checkon has a deep rooted legacy in the lives of many tribal people of the state as it has served the welfare of the tribal employees for the last over 60 years, said the KSO and the ANSAM. They also said that the colony was established exclusively for residential quarters of Grade IV tribal government servants and employees of Manipur Vide Manipur Gazette No: 94 dated 14-12-1960 with Secretariat Revenue No: 141/13/60-M dated 08-12-1960 and since then, the occupants of the aforesaid quarters have been “tribal government servants” till date. Presently, it accommodates about 187 families and 9 churches, the KSO and the ANSAM added.
“Considering these facts and circumstances stated above, the KSO-GHQ and the ANSAM demand the government to seriously consider four points before initiating any new construction at the Tribal colony. One of the points is to uphold the Interim order of the High Court WP(C) No.345 of 2021 dated 29-10-2021 and refrain from disturbing the residents unless an alternative arrangement is made for them to relocate. The second point is to uphold the Supreme Court Order dated 29-09-2009 and 16-02-2010 by regularization or relocation of the nine religious structures as the case may be. The third point is to ensure that Tribal Colony retains its name and remains exclusively for housing “tribal government servants” or employees without deviating from the initial policy of the government. The fourth point is to immediately restore the drinking water supply and power connection to the locality. “We urge all the tribal legislators to immediately take cognizance of the situation and help to safeguard tribal rights properly,” the ANSAM and the KSO-GHQ stated.
Lastly, the KSO-GHQ and the ANSAM urged the government to own responsibility over the four injured persons who are undergoing treatments in the hospitals and cover their medical bills and pay additional compensations.
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