Eviction of villagers from Manipur’s Awaching forest continued on Tuesday even as a shutdown against exercise disrupted normal life in Imphal East district, The Telegraph reported. The shutdown by the All Manipur Muslim Organisations Coordinating Committee cut off road connectivity between Imphal West and Imphal East.
The shutdown was announced on Monday. It was initially meant to last 24 hours, but was extended till Wednesday midnight after evictions began.
On Tuesday, authorities razed a complex called Nongpok Chingu Thong Thalo Sipi Lok, which had residential buildings and a community hall. A temple in the complex was spared. On the first day of evictions on Monday, a mosque was spared even as 74 houses at Kshetri Bengoon Mamang village were destroyed.
The village being evicted is in a reserve forest area.
Protestors clashed with security forces in parts of Imphal, prompting police to fire tear gas and mock bombs at them, reported Imphal Free Press.
Chief minister N Biren Singh said on Tuesday that the government had issued eviction notices around two months ago. He said there was no question of his government targeting minority communities through the evictions, Imphal Free Press reported. Singh asked officials to continue the evictions fearlessly, and that the government will not tolerate outsiders settling illegally in the state.
Forest and Environment Minister Thounaojam Shyamkumar warned on Monday that the forest department will conduct similar eviction drives in encroached reserve forest areas in all districts.