Eviction drive at Reserved Forests Where did they come from ?

At least 29 ‘recently’ constructed houses demolished inside Langol Reserved Forest. The ‘recently’ is qualified by the claim that the encroachers started occupying the forest land as recently as 2018 and this came from none other than the Divisional Forest Officer of Central Forest Division while addressing the media after the demolition drive on April 11, 2023. More than clear that the BJP led Government is intent on saying a big No to any sort of encroachment on Reserved and Protected Forest land and this was not the first time that the Government had driven out what it claims are encroachers. Not the first that such an eviction drive was conducted and given the way in which the Government has taken up the task of driving out all ‘illegal settlers’ or ‘encroachment’ on forest land this will not be the last either, that is as long as some folks, backed by certain civil society organisations, tend to go and settle anywhere they please and in the course of time even claim that the said land is their ‘ancestral land’. Recall February 21, 2023 and it was on this day that K Songjang village was evicted from the Churachandpur-Khoupum Protected Forest with the Government claiming that Google map showed no settlement at the said Protected Forest in 2020. In other words, K Songjang village was set up after 2020 and this is a damning statement or claim from the Government. As The Sangai Express has consistently maintained, the job or work of the Government does not begin and end with the eviction drive. Given the manner in which new settlements have been sprouting all over the place, it is only right for the Government to study and try to establish where the settlers came from. In the case of K Songjang village, the Government should study whether the settlers had left their homesteads at any of the nearby place, such as Churachandpur or Khoupum to set up the new settlement. Moreover where have they gone after they were driven out from the Protected Forest ? Studying this and establishing the fact would be taking things to its logical conclusion. Along this same line, the Government will also need to study and if possible spell out in public domain, from where the encroachers at Langol Reserved Forest came from. Moreover where have they gone after they were evicted ? These are points that need to be studied and followed up if the Government intends to ring out the message that it is serious about clearing all illegal settlements in Reserved and Protected Forest area.
This is where the call for the National Register of Citizens (NRC) becomes crucial. Along with the NRC, the Government and everyone should also seriously study the quantum jump in the population of any group of people that defies all logic and rational way of studying population growth. View this line against the call to check the incursion of illegal immigrants in Manipur and things should become a little more clear. This is where it also becomes important for the Government to study the call raised by the Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee, World Meetei Council, Kangleipak Kanba Lup and others that the needed recommendations to include the Meiteis in the ST list of the Constitution of India be sent to Delhi. A look at the names of many of the localities in Imphal, which is free for anyone to come and settle, should tell its own very significant story. Implement the NRC here, weed out the illegal immigrants and extend Constitutional protection to the Meiteis which can be ensured by being included in the ST list are the steps that may be adopted to ensure the survival of the Meiteis who are indigenous to the land. Moreover it is also important for the Government to realise that  it would not be serving the interest of the land and her people by tagging anyone as indigenous to the land if they pass the base year of 1951 or 1961 proposed as the cut off year for the NRC to be conducted. Making those who have settled before 1951 or 1961 legal citizens should not be equated with clubbing anyone as indigenous to the land.