Demolition of Meitei settlements at CCpur highlighted SC ‘informed’ on blockade at Kpi
NEW DELHI, Sep 2
The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre and the Manipur Government to take steps, including airdropping, to ensure supply of food and essential commodities to people affected by road blockades put up by warring Kuki and Meitei communities but refused to direct armed forces to remove these blockades.
The Sangai Express had carried this report carried by another agency yesterday but in the said report nothing of substance was carried about the demolition of Meitei settlements in the hill districts as well as the blockade at Kangpokpi on National Highway 2.
The SC-appointed Justice Gita Mittal Committee, tasked to supervise relief and rehabilitation work in the violence scarred State, through senior Advocate Meenakshi Arora said road blockades have cut off food supply to Indo-Myanmar border town Moreh.
Supplementing her arguments, senior advocate Indira Jaising said, “There is severe food shortage in Moreh because of the road blockades. The Committee has no power to direct the armed forces to lift the blockades. If the committee has the power, we will approach it. Can the Committee request the armed forces to remove the blockades?”
When Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said it is not within the Committee’s remit to deal with armed forces or road blockades, a bench of CJI D Y Chandrachud and Justice J B Pardiwala said, “The committee is not really dealing with armed forces. Assuming there is power with the Court, removing a blockade is not about directing the armed forces to go in and remove road blockades. They must weigh the possible loss of human lives. These are sensitive issues… Lifting the blockade is easier said than done.”
Senior Advocates Jaideep Gupta and Sapam Biswajeet asked, “why are people suddenly concerned about a road blockade in Moreh ? There are perennial road blockades erected at Kangpokpi and on National Highways to squeeze supply of essential commodities, including food, to Imphal and other valley districts. Does that not affect human beings living in the valley ?”
The CJI-led bench ordered, “We direct the Union and Manipur Governments to ensure that basic supplies of foods, medicine and other essential items continue to be distributed in affected areas to cater to the people affected by road blockades… How to deal with the blockades is for law enforcement agencies to decide. But keeping in mind the humanitarian situation, the government should explore all possible options including air dropping of food and essential items in the areas affected by road blockades.”
Gupta and Biswajeet brought to the Court’s notice the demolition of Meitei settlements in Hill districts by miscreants. They apprehended that after demolition of the houses in these settlements, it would be claimed as vacant land for the miscreants to construct houses for their community members or use it for other purposes. The SC sought the State Government’s response to this.
Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi said as many as 642 Churches were destroyed and few are in possession of other communities and being used for other purposes.
He said these Churches need to be freed from the clutches of other communities and restored to the Christian community.
The SC asked Justice Mittal Committee, which is tasked to supervise work for restoration of damaged religious places of worship, to look into the matter brought to court by Ahmadi.
The SC community, which is sandwiched between the Kukis in the Hills and Meiteis in the valley, complained to the Court that they are the worst affected and neglected. The SC asked the Committee to look into their grievances.
When Biswajeet claimed that there are several videos gone viral in social media showing Assam Rifles personnel mixing up with illegal militants, the bench said if it started to hear individual grievances, the apex Court would become dysfunctional. It posted the matter for further hearing on Wednesday.