All Tribal Students' Union Manipur (ATSUM) on Monday alleged the government of forcibly attempting to start construction of new quarters at Tribal Colony, New Checkon and condemn the alleged 'unprovoked' police action towards the occupants.
ATSUM raised serious concerns over the incident where four people were seriously injured. The student body said that the residents of the Tribal Colony have always conveyed to the government that they are not averse to the idea of development and they welcome the government's plan to construct a new multi-storied building to house the tribal employees of the state government.
It continued that at the same time, they have also expressed that an alternative arrangement to house the 187 allottees has to be made first prior to starting the new construction.
When the SDO Porompat served a Show Cause notice for eviction 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 October 29, 2021 which maintained that the petitioners (residents) shall not be disturbed if an alternative arrangement is not made by the government, it stated.
“If an alternative arrangement is made by the state, the petitioners shall vacate the same immediately. But, unfortunately, no such alternative arrangement has been made available by the state government till date that would require the residents to vacate the colony,” it added.
Instead, the government attempts to bulldoze the residents into vacating the colony in total violation of the interim order of the High Court, it further added.
ATSUM stated that the government's unlawful intention is demonstrated today by the fact that it has severed the drinking water supply pipelines, and cut electricity connections, causing severe injury to the residents by firing tear gas and rubber bullets inside the quarters.
It also stated that 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.
The colony was established exclusively for residential quarters of Grade IV tribal government servants and employees of Manipur Vide Manipur Gazette No: 94 dated December 14, 1960 with Secretariat Revenue No: 141/13/60-M dated December 8, 960 and since then, the occupants of the aforesaid Quarters have been Tribal Govt. Servants till date, it added.
Now, it has accommodated 187 families and 9 churches constructed since 1974 for the residents to practice their faith, it added.
Before the start of any new construction at the colony, ATSUM demanded the government to uphold the Interim Order of the High Court WP(C) No.345 of 2021 dated October,2021, thereby refraining from disturbing the residents unless an alternative arrangement is made for them to relocate.
It demanded to uphold the Supreme Court Order dated September 29, 2009 and February 16, 2010 by regularisation or relocation of the nine religious structures as the case may be. It also demanded that Tribal Colony retain its name and remain exclusively for housing tribal government servants or employees in line with the initial policy of the government.
The student body also demanded the government to own responsibility for the four injured persons who are undergoing treatment in the hospitals due to the excessive actions of the Imphal East police.