The Manipur government has appealed to the common people and organisations of the state to “comply” with a September 25 Supreme Court order for the protection of religious structures and properties of people displaced in the ongoing unrest from destruction and encroachment.
Asserting that “nobody without any exception” shall violate the orders of the apex court, an order issued by the home department on Tuesday said: "Anybody found violating the same shall be booked under relevant provision of law of the land for the time being in force..."
"The State Government also appeals to all concerned including public functionaries to comply with the Court's orders dated 25-09-2023 to avoid any Contempt proceedings," the order added.
Quoting the relevant portion of the apex court order related to a special leave petition on the unrest, the state government order said it viewed the “matter very seriously” as “any such incident may further ignite or aggravate law and order situation in the State”.
The home department order also mentioned that it had on October 3 advised the deputy commissioners and superintendents of police to implement the aforesaid directions of the apex court. There are 16 districts in Manipur.
There is fear among the displaced that their properties might be destroyed or encroached on, sources said, adding that the violence has seen a “complete exodus” of Kukis from the valley and Meiteis from the hills. The Kuki-Zo people are mostly Christians and live in the hills while the Meiteis are mostly Hindus and live in the Imphal Valley.
The September 25 Supreme Court order had directed the BJP-led state government to “immediately identify” all religious buildings including churches, temples, Sanamahi temples, mosques and any building of any other religion, whether existing or vandalised/ damaged/ burnt in the ongoing violence.
“The situs (on site) of these religious buildings be protected from encroachment and the buildings be protected from damage/destruction,” the order said, adding that the state government should also “ensure” the protection of the properties of the displaced persons as well as the properties which have been destroyed/ burnt in the violence and prevent their encroachment.
“In case any property has been encroached, the encroachers be directed to forthwith remove their encroachment, failing which the person concerned would be liable for contempt of court for non-compliance of the orders of the Supreme Court of India,” the apex court order had said.