IMPHAL: The All Manipur Christian Organization (Amco), while empathizing with the victims of the alleged forced eviction of 26 families and three churches from a locality here, has called upon the OkramIbobi Singh government to come up with a solution for the affected people. Amco is the umbrella body of various church organizations of the state.
The state government, with the purpose of setting up a five-star hotel, demolished the houses and the churches of Kabo Leikai a few days ago. Also known as the Naga river lane, Kabo Leikai is located adjacent to the state-run Hotel Imphal.
A joint action committee (JAC) set up against the eviction has decided not to accept any compensation from the government and instead demanded immediate reconstruction of the destroyed houses. The pressure group appealed to civil bodies, philanthropic organizations, human rights activists and well wishers to reach out to the victims.
It is learnt that the victims have already moved the court to restore their homesteads at Kabo Leikai. Some of the affected families are putting up at hotels, others at makeshift camps at the spot, while the remaining are taking shelter at their relatives and friends' houses, Amco informed.
"The government's move of evicting the people from Kabo Leikai reflects its insensitivity, if not of arrogance," Amco said in a statement, adding, "Enough time should've been given by the government to the victims to ensure they get compensation or relocation assistance even if the eviction was inevitable."
Amco said the government served a notice on May 18 and asked the people to shift out the following day, which was a Sunday. The eviction drive was on May 20. This reflects the government's unsympathetic attitude and religious intolerance, Amco said. "The eviction drive was carried out despite fervent pleas by the victims to give them a few more days," the statement added.
Amco alleged that the state government demolished three churches but left the shrine of another religion in the same area untouched. "It is unbecoming of the government to show such open discrimination against a religious group when we live in secular country," the statement said.
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