JOINT PRESS RELEASE
28th February 2013, Imphal
The Center for Organisation Research and Education (CORE) and Forum for Indigenous Perspective and Action (FIPA) is sad to hear that the Government of Manipur has forcefully continued the dismantling of floating huts of floating hut dwellers/fishing communities belonging to the Meitei people of Manipur at Langolshabi Area, Loktak Lake in central part of Manipur on 23 and 28 February 2013. The Loktak Development Authority (LDA), under the Chairmanship of Chief Minister of Manipur, Mr. Okram Ibobi, commenced the destruction of phumdi-huts from Loktak Lake on 23 & 28 February 2013 around 9 and 7 A.M respectively, defying the Guwahati High Court Order of 25 January 2012 prohibiting clearance of phumdi-huts from Loktak Lake and subsequent contempt notice on 16 February 2013 to desist from causing further eviction in Loktak Lake.
That, inspite of the stiff resistances of the peoples and the Guwahati High Court Order, 3 huts and 11 huts were either dismantled or burnt down on 23 and 28 February 2013 respectively. It is to be noted that the LDA’s eviction drive was carried out despite absence of any order for carrying out such eviction and they have failed to provide to the affected communities.
CORE and FIPA strongly condemn such gross violations of human rights and contempt for the judiciary thereby making a mockery of democracy and the justice system of our great country. As such, we appeal to the LDA and the Government of Manipur to stop all forms of Eviction and other forms of inhumane and undemocratic acts in Loktak Lake targeting the fisher folks/floating huts dwellers of Loktak Lake. The Government of Manipur and the Government of India should respect, at least if not the democratic ethics that governs the country, the Guwahati High Court Order of 25 January 2012 and repeal the Manipur Loktak Lake Protection Act, 2006.
CORE and FIPA also demands immediate review of the Loktak Multipurpose Hydroelectric Project commissioned in 1984. We also appeal to the Government of India to initiate a full and impartial investigation and prosecute all officials of the Loktak Development Authority, the Manipur Police involved in forced eviction in Loktak Lake on 23 and 28 February 2013 and for violating the Gauhati High Court Order of 25 January 2013.
CORE and FIPA reiterates and emphasize on the need for respecting peoples’ rights as per the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007 in all development initiatives in Manipur and Ramsar Convention in management of Loktak and other wetlands.
(Dr. Laifungbam Debrabata Roy) (Ram Wangkheirakpam)
President/Convenor Executive Director
* The press release is being sent by Dr. Immanuel Zarzosang Varte, Deputy Director, Centre for Organisation Research & Education