ATSUM said that the residents of Tribal Colony have always conveyed to the government that they welcomed the plan to construct a new multi-storied building to house tribal employees of the state government but after an alternative arrangement.
All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM) has strongly condemned the alleged ‘unprovoked’ police action that has caused fear and injury to at least four persons at Tribal Colony, Imphal on Monday. The incident occurred when state government attempted to start the construction of new quarters at the area.
The tribal student’s apex 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 that they welcomed the government’s plan to construct a new multi-storied building to house the tribal employees of the state government.
ATSUM said that the residents had also expressed that an alternative arrangement to house the 187 allottees have to be made first priority before the start of the new construction.
It may be recalled that when the SDO Porompat served a Show Cause notice for eviction on 24-12-2020, 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) shall not be disturbed if an alternative arrangement is not made by the government. It also said that if an alternative arrangement is made by the state government, the petitioners shall vacate the same immediately.
BREAKING: Biren’s force eviction of Tribal colony in Imphal. The colony had since its inception obtained legal status from Guwahati High Court. But for N Biren Singh they’re illegal encroachers. @India_NHRC @PTI_News @narendramodi @AmitShah @PMOIndia @UN4Indigenous @UN_HRC pic.twitter.com/NNqdheHAnH
— Dr Mark T. Haokip (@DrMarkHaokip) May 9, 2022
However, ATSUM argued that no such alternative arrangement has been made available by the state government till date that would require the residents to vacate the colony.
Instead, the government attempts to bulldoze the residents into vacating the colony in total violation of the interim order of the High Court, ATSUM further added.
The student body 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”.
ATSUM informed that the Tribal Colony, 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 14-12-1960 with Secretariat Revenue No: 141/13/60-M dated 08-12-1960 and since then, the occupants of the quarters have been tribal government servants till date.
Now, it has accommodated 187 families and 9 churches constructed since 1974 for the residents to practice their faith, ATSUM added.
Considering the facts and circumstances, ATSUM demanded the government to seriously consider the following points before the start of any new construction at the colony.
- To uphold the Interim Order of the High Court WP(C) No.345 of 2021 dated 29-10-2021 thereby refrain from disturbing the residents unless an alternative arrangement is made for them to relocate.
- 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.
- To ensure that Tribal Colony retains its name and remains 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 brutal actions of the Imphal East police.