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Sec 144 in Manipur’s Churachandpur, mob torched venue of CM’s visit

A mob reportedly set fire to Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh's headquarters at New Lamka in Churachandpur district

By groundreportdesk
New Update
Sec 144 in Manipur’s Churachandpur, mob torched venue of CM’s visit

A mob reportedly set fire to Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh's venue at New Lamka in Churachandpur district on Thursday night ahead of his visit to the area, prompting the district administration to issue prohibition orders, including the suspension of Internet services.

Mob torched open gym, vandalised CM's event venue

The angry mob set fire to an open gym built at the PT Sports Complex in New Lamka, which was to be opened by Biren Singh. The mob also vandalized the public meeting place at Sadhbhav Mandap. The Chief Minister was scheduled to address a meeting at the venue today.

The incident took place in the midst of the call for closure of the Forum of Indigenous Tribal Leaders. In particular, the Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum called for a lockdown in Churachandpur from 8 am to 4 pm today.

The Forum claimed that the state government is doing nothing to clear forest areas set aside for farmers and other tribal settlers. "The government has not shown any sign of will or sincerity in addressing the plight of the people," the forum was quoted as saying by PTI.

On Friday, the Chief Minister assured that action would be taken against the perpetrators of the violence. "We will take measures," he said in an interview with ANI.

To prevent the spread of misinformation on social media platforms, the state Department of the Interior issued an order to suspend mobile data services to maintain law and order.

suspension of internet services

After the incident, the state administration issued prohibition orders under section 144 of Cr PC, which also ordered the immediate suspension of internet services in the entire Charachandpur district.

The order stated that the Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF) had called for a full lockdown in the district on April 28, 2023, and that there was the possibility of public mobilization through social networks and networks. sites, which could lead to an escalation of public unrest and illegal activities.

The order called for the suspension of internet and mobile data services in the Charachandpur district with immediate effect and until the situation improves. As an immediate measure likely to break the peace, disturb public tranquility and represent a serious danger to human life and property, the carrying of sticks, stones, firearms, weapons of any kind or objects that can be used must be prohibited.

Manipur’s Churachandpur Controversy

Recently protest rally was organized by various groups, including the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF), in Manipur’s Kangpokpi district to protest the alleged encroachment of tribal lands by reserved forests and wildlife sanctuaries.

The protest was aimed at denouncing the N. Biren Singh-led BJP Government in Manipur for its allegedly illegal declaration of huge swathes of hill areas as forest reserves, protected forests, wildlife sanctuaries, etc.

“The state government has declared a huge chunk of tribal-owned and inhabited hill areas as its land circumventing the forest-dwelling communities by depriving them of a consultation,” said Robert Thongkholal Haokip, Assistant Professor, Centre for Law and Governance, JNU.

Worse, the state government had carried out a forceful eviction drive at K. Songjang village, Kangvai Sub-division, Churanchandpur district on 20th February this year under the garb of the alleged reserve forest. Kungpinaosen village of the same district is another one which has been served a show-cause notice that directs the villagers to vacate it for the same reason.

The same protests took place across most of the tribal inhabited areas of the state like Churachandpur, Tengnoupal, Saikul, Kangpokpi, and Jiribam, to name a few. Protesters in thousands took to the street to safeguard their constitutional provisions enshrined under Article 371 (C) of the Indian Constitution.

Encroachment Question

The recent eviction of K. Songjang village on February 20 highlights the issue of alleged encroachment on protected forest land in Manipur.

The village was deemed to have been constructed illegally along the Churachandpur-Khoupum stretch of protected forest, based on a Google map that showed only two or three structures/houses built before 2021.

The majority of houses, around 13 or 14 structures, were found to have been constructed after 2021, making them illegal according to the government.

The village was therefore bulldozed with the prior legal procedure being served to the village Chief, as claimed by the government.

A similar situation is unfolding in the village of Kungpinaosen, Kangvai sub-division, Churachandpur district, where a show-cause notice has been issued directing the villagers to vacate the area due to alleged encroachment on protected forest land.

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