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Loktak Arson Week to be commemorated

Source: The Sangai Express

 

Imphal, November 14 2021: The residents of floating huts of Loktak will be commemorating the 10th Loktak Arson day/week from November 15-23 as a mark to remember the alleged inhumane act carried out by the Loktak Development Authority (LDA) in alliance with agencies of the Manipur Government in 2011.With the support of several CSOs, student bodies, NGOs, Human" Rights Groups and National Platform for Small Scale Fish Workers, Environment Support Group, Human Rights Law Network, Human Rights Alert etc, several events would be held during the week.

In this regard, the residents also called upon other like minded groups, organisations and individuals to support and uphold the fishing community of Loktak.

Events to be conducted during the week includes-Champu Khangpok Loktak Boat rally on November 15; Film shows and discussion with student unions at AIMS office, Kwakeithel on November 16; Film show at Sarik Konjil village, Pumlen Wetland area on November 17; programme at Loktak Folklore Museum on November 21; conference at Manipur University on November 22; public meeting at Imphal on November 23, etc.

It may be mentioned that the State Government started burning down floating huts or Khangpokshang, built over Phumdis of the fishing families living in Loktak Wetlands area from November 15, 2011 .

Officers from LDA and Manipur state police carried out the deliberate burning of the floating huts.

LDA had also issued an eviction notice on November 11, 2011 to the residents of Khuman Yangbi, Nambul Machin and Karang Sabal within the Loktak Lake.

More than 500 floating huts were burnt in November 2011.The burning down of the floating huts took place under the controversial Loktak Lake (Protection) Act, 2006, in particular Section 19 and 20 of the Act, which divides the 236.21 sq km Loktak Lake into two zones- a core zone comprising 70.30 sq km which is a 'no development zone', or 'totally protected zone', and a buffer zone of other areas of the lake excluding the core zone.

A vital aspect of this division is the prohibition on building huts or houses on Phumdis inside the lake, or Athaphum fishing, a destructive form of fishing using vegetation enclosures in the core area.

Human Rights Violation In regard to the alleged violation of human rights of 2011, many have alleged that the burning of the floating huts and destruction of livelihood of indigenous people dwelling in Loktak Lake constituted a serious violation of the "right to life", "right to adequate housing" as guaranteed by the Constitution of India, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, both of which India is party to and has pledged to uphold and practice.

The failure to obtain consent of the affected communities also constituted a serious form of discrimination targeting the marginalized communities and violated the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007 and the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination.