Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

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The authorities have not yet confirmed whether the programme has been cancelled.

Imphal/Guwahati:

Large gatherings have been banned and mobile internet services suspended in Manipur’s Churachandpur following violence ahead of Chief Minister N Biren Singh’s visit to the district today. On Thursday, a mob vandalised and set on fire the venue of an event to be attended by the Chief Minister allegedly over the BJP government’s survey of reserved and protected forests and areas like wetlands.

The decision to ban large gatherings was taken following a police report citing “likelihood of breach of peace, disturbance to public tranquility and grave danger to human lives and properties” in the district, S. Thienlaljoy Gangte, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Churachandpur district wrote in the government order issued on Thursday.

The order also cited the “total shutdown called by the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum and the likelihood of mobilization of the public through social media and networking sites” for the suspension of mobile internet services in the district.

Mr Biren was scheduled to inaugurate a gym and sports facility at the district.

Visuals of the incident showed huge crowds breaking chairs and damaging property inside a hall where Mr Singh is scheduled to visit today. They also set on fire sports equipment and the grounds where the event will be held.

The authorities have not yet confirmed whether the programme has been cancelled.

The Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum, which has been objecting to the BJP government’s survey of reserved and protected forests and areas like wetlands, has called a bandh in the district today from 8 am to 4 pm.

The forum claimed that despite the repeated submission of memorandums to the government protesting an ongoing eviction drive to clear reserved forested areas of farmers and other tribal settlers, “the government has shown no sign of willingness or sincerity in addressing the plight of the people.”

Kuki Students’ Organisation has also come out in support of the forum, alleging “stepmotherly treatment to tribals.” In a statement, the Kuki Students’ Organisation said it condemns “undermining tribal rights including demolition of religious centres and illegally evicting tribal villages”.

The government earlier this month demolished three churches in Manipur, which it said were “illegal constructions”.

A local organisation then approached the Manipur High Court. A bench of acting Chief Justice MV Muralidaran said people were evicted from the churches based on the documents, policy decisions and in line with the Supreme Court’s directions on dealing with illegal constructions.

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