Land eviction victims speak out during International Peace Day conference

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IMPHAL September 22: In observance of the International Peace Day, a One day regional conference on forced eviction, land acquisition and displacement in Manipur was held at the Senate hall of the Manipur University today.

The conference was jointly organized by the Centre for Studey of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy Manipur University, Human Rights Alert and North Eastern Social Research Centre.

The main highlight of the observation remained the testimonial session of victims of land eviction in the state.

Speaking at the conference a victim of land eviction for the construction of the Mapithel Dam stated that even though the state government has already instituted an expert review committee to survey the effects of the Dam to the people of the surrounding areas, after numerous complaints were made to the government, the victims are yet to get any positive result out of the review committee.

He further informed of rumours doing the rounds that out of the six villages displaced due to the construction of the dam, one or two have already received compensation from the government; however the majority of the villages displaced are yet to receive any help from the government. Speaking for the villagers displaced by the Mapithel Dam Project, he condemned the government for remaining mute spectators to the hardship of the displaced.

Another victim of government eviction at Lamphel under JNNURMS stated that since the day of the eviction, they have been staying inside makeshift tents along the roadside. He informed that the government issued the eviction notice just one day ahead of the eviction.

Even after such a long time, the government has remained mute towards them and hasn’t provided them with any help, he further stated at the conference.

A victim of the five star hotel project land eviction has stated that the government initiated even the vigilance department to demand their original pattas by serving summon letters to every pattadar with the help of the police.

All the participating victims echoed that the government has failed to look into the grievances of the victims of land acquisition.

Meanwhile, many speakers including Pradip Phanjoubam, editor IFP, W Ramananda, Human Rights Activist, Babloo Loitongbam, director HRA maintained that the effects of globalization has reached the state also and that changes are part of globalization.

They further maintained that facing the challenges brought upon us along with globalization should be our main agenda.

Even though changes are inseparable part of life, they stated that the government should always consider the fundamental rights of its citizens while dealing in such issues like acquisition of their lands. The government should consider the benefit for both the evicted families and the government on such issues, they added. 

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