More than 80 houses belonging to people who had encroached upon Manipur’s forest land were razed to the ground early on Monday by the police in Imphal East district.
According to police sources, the demolition drive in the Khetri Begoon area, conducted following repeated government notices that were ignored by the encroachers. The last notice was issued in March, sources said.
When forest officials along with armed policemen initiated the eviction drive on Monday, women tried to block the road by burning old tyres and logs. The mild force had to be used to chase them away, the officer said.
The evicted have demanded government help after the demolition drive left many families without a roof over their heads at a time when the northeast state was experiencing torrential rains.
Although everything, including a primary school, was demolished on a court order, one mosque was left untouched so as not to hurt the religious sentiments of those who had been residing in the area for a long time.
A Forest Department official said similar demolitions have been going on at many other places. Some persons evicted a few years back have returned to the reserved areas, he said.
The eviction drives will continue at all other reserved forest areas in the state, the official said.