Demarcation evokes tense stand-off, many hurt

Thoubal, April 07 2022: A tense stand-off erupted between local people of Sora and police today as Government officials started demarcation and construction of a fence around the areas earlier acquired for construction of National Sports University at Yaithibi Loukol.

Notably, National Sports University was earlier planned to be constructed at Yaithibi Loukol even though it was later shifted to Koutruk.

Nonetheless, the Government has been planning to set up a mega food park at the area acquired for National Sports University at Yaithibi Loukol.

It is reported that some protesters and police personnel sustained minor injuries in the confrontation which erupted today.

According to information culled from the spot, one Assistant Settlement Officer of the Office of Thoubal SDO came to the site along with a police team this morning.

Soon they started demarcation of the area by excavating the boundary using excavators (JCB) on the farther side of Sora Hills.

Sensing that the demarcation exercise was likely to take over many paddy fields, homesteads and the local Mosque which were not included in the area acquired earlier in the name of setting up National Sports University, some villagers led by Kakching Zilla Parishad Up-Adhyaksha Md Najimuddin asked the Government officials to halt the demarcation work until an understanding is reached between the Government and local leaders.

However, the officials went ahead with the demarcation exercise and continued excavating the supposed boundary.

This enraged the local people and they tried to stop the demarcation exercise forcibly which resulted in a tense stand-off with police.

In their efforts to control the situation, the police team fired several rounds of tear gas shells and mock bombs.

The protesters retaliated by pelting stones.

At least three/four police personnel including one Additional SP and four/five protesters sustained injuries in the violent confrontation.

The situation became more volatile in the afternoon as a large number of people came out and blocked Imphal-Moreh highway at around 1.30 pm thereby causing severe inconveniences to people travelling on the highway.

Later, the demarcation exercise was put on hold after the two sides agreed to suspend the same exercise until a solution is worked out.

As such, the highway was re-opened at around 3 in the evening.

Kakching Zilla Parishad Up-Adhyaksha Md Najimuddin while quoting Chief Minister N Biren’s repeated calls to protect paddy lands, urged the BJP Government to stop all attempts to acquire more paddy fields and put undue pressure on farmers.

He said that a large tract of paddy fields (Yaithibi Loukol) had been already acquired by the Government in the name of setting up National Sports University.

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