Displaced Loktak fishers walk back home empty handed

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IMPHAL, November 21: Displaced fishers of the Loktak Lake who have been camping in Imphal since yesterday trying to hold a peaceful rally and submit a memorandum to the state government had to return back without any positive result or response from the concern state authorities.

The displaced fishers have been scattered around the Kwakeithel Thounoujam Leikai area after they were dispersed from the Tiddim ground yesterday around 6 pm by the Imphal west police. They were further asked by a team of the Imphal west police to go back to their homes this evening.

They were trying to organise a peaceful rally and submit a memorandum to the state government regarding their rehabilitation and in demand of a proper resettlement policy. However, the police arrive soon and appealed them to go back home.

Even as the police appealed them to the fishers to leave the area, a brief argument ensued between the police team and the fishers. When the police appealed to them to return back home, the fishers retorted that they had no money to go back home and they have no homes back, however we will return back to their native place on foot.

The fishers hold various placards while returning back home. Some of the placards read “Stop burning fisher’s huts”, “hand over Loktak to the public”, “Save fishermen of Loktak Lake”, “Repeal Loktak Protection Act”, etc.

Meanwhile, one of fishers informed media persons, “we survive by fishing at the Loktak lake and fed our children from the money earn by fishing at the lake, however the government has cut off our livelihood” and further added that “since we have no place to call home now, our children will not be able to appear for their exams and so they would have to stop their education”.

She further complained that “during the burning of their huts, the certificates of their children have also been burned”.

Another fisher informed that “wherever we have tried to take refuge, the government has used the concerned police of the areas to disperse them. When we tried to take refuge at Ningthoukhong area, the Bishnupur disperse us, after that we arrived at Imphal, however here also we have been dispersed by the Imphal west police, now we have nowhere to go to”. This means that the government has no feelings for us, he added.

Meanwhile, a woman fisher collapse during the brief altercation, however she was soon revive by her friends.

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