Villagers, cops clash during eviction at Kangchup Chiru in Manipur

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Imphal: At least eight villagers and three police personnel were injured during a clash occurred while evicting two illegal houses at Kangchup Reserved Forest Area at Kangchup Chiru village, Kangpokpi district on Tuesday.

The two houses belonged to one TR Finalson and TR Droibum, both son of TR Renyson Thoi of Kangchup Chiru.

On December 2 divisional forest officer, Kangpokpi Forest Division, Kangpokpi district had served an eviction notice to both the persons stating that they were constructing structures (unoccupied new structures) inside Reserved Forest without lawful authority, thereby violating section 26 (1) (h) of Indian Forest Act, 1927 and rule 73 of section 76 (d) of Manipur Forest Rule, 2021.

The notice mentioned that such unauthorised construction in reserved forest land is liable to penalty as prescribed in section 26(1) of Indian Forest Act, 1927 with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 6 months or fine or both and compensation for damage done to the reserved forest.

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It directed the two persons to remove the new illegal structures within 3 days of issue of the date of notification. If they failed to follow the notification within the said period, eviction proceedings will be continued under rule 73 of Manipur Forest Rules, 2021 and anything constructed or deposited on the Reserve Forest land shall be evicted and forfeited to the government and will be followed by legal action for the violation of the forest Act.

Locals of the Kangchup Chiru decrying the eviction notice, demonstrated protest along the Kangchup road. Protestors blocked the road by burning tyres.

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At around 10 am when Kangpokpi forest division along with director state forest department and Kangpokpi district police came to start the eviction work. Tension rose among the protesters and police personnel.

To control the mob police fired several rounds of tear gas shell and the protestors pelted stones.

During the incident at least eight villagers were injured. Three of them were evacuated to RIMS hospital, Imphal for first aid. Three police personnel were also injured.

The cops overpowered the protestors and controlled the mob. Later the two houses were dismantled by the Kangpokpi forest division personnel with the help of an excavator.

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President of Kangchup Chiru Youth Club, JD Thonsing said such incident might not happen if the authority concerned served the eviction notice earlier. He alleged that the eviction work started without any prior information to the house owners.

He said the village authority had met chief minsiter N. Biren Singh and requested the government to conduct land demarcation. The villagers strongly condemned for the forcibly act of eviction without prior notification, he added.

“After Waithou reserve forest eviction, now Kangchup reserve forest, Protect forest. Forest is water, water is life. Unauthorised new structures have been dismantled and removed at Kangchup Chiru reserve forest,” Biren writes on his Facebook wall.

It was reported that the injured have been discharged after given first aid.

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