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Manipur: 3 Churches demolished in Imphal East

First Published: 11th April, 2023 13:59 IST

Chief Minister N. Biren Singh declined to comment much on the demolition of churches saying that the demolition was in accordance with court order.

By Donald Sairem

At least 3 unauthorised churches constructed inside government land at Tribal colony in Manipur’s Imphal East district were knocked down in the wee hours today.

Sources said that the churches namely Evangelical Baptist Convention Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church Manipur and Catholic Holy Spirit Church were demolished in the presence of heavy security forces after the High Court of Manipur vacated the operation of the interim status quo order as the churches failed to prove they were constructed with approval of state authorities.

The order of the High Court of Manipur bench of acting chief justice MV Muralidaran passed on April 4 this year said that the decision of the State authorities in evicting the respondent Churches are based on the documents, policy decision and pursuant to the direction of the Supreme Court.

Though the respondent Churches admitted that the Churches have been built on the Government land, they still claim that the Churches are in existence since 1974 and 1997 without any objection and interruption till today and therefore they got prescriptive right of title over the disputed land.

The court opined that such a right claimed by the respondent Churches cannot be appreciated, as no record to show that Churches were built in the Government land after getting approval from the State authorities. Therefore, there is no option but to record that the respondents are rank encroachers of the Government land.

Pastor Nengzahau V Haupi, speaking to Northeast Live said,”The church was established in 1974, it is around 49 years now. The government eviction notice came on Dec 24, 2020 and the high court protect the status quo for around 2, 3 years. Therefore in April 2023, the high court take out our status quo and now it happened like this.”

Pastor Haupi further said,”I am so pained about this because in this church we do not teach any bad thing to the people. We teach how to beave in the work, even in the public. We learn good things in this place so it is too bad. It is a great loss for the state also.”

Meanwhile, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh declined to comment much on the demolition of churches saying that the demolition was in accordance with court order.

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