Guwahati: The BJP-IPFT Tripura government has started the process of demolition/ relocation of unauthorised religious structures to reclaim encroached government land in compliance with a Supreme Court directive, officials said on Friday.
Tapan Kumar Das, West Tripura additional district magistrate, said the Supreme Court had passed a verdict in 2009, directing all state governments to free encroached land by removing unauthorised religious structures.
“Now Tripura High Court Chief Justice Sanjay Karol is looking after implementation of the order. He will conduct a hearing on the subject soon. All district magistrates will have to file affidavits of progress,” Das added.
Das also said the demolishing of unauthorised religious structures has no connection with any recent incident in the state and they were just following the Supreme Court order.
Sonamura sub-divisional magistrate Saju Waheed said they have already removed 15 to 16 such structures and served notices to the rest.
“We have divided the unauthorised religious structures into two categories — structures which were built over 30 years ago and those which are less than 30 years old. A total of 184 such structures were recognised in Sonamura subdivision in Sipahijala district,” he said, adding that notices were issued to 48 religious bodies, including 20 temples, 26 mosques and two churches.
However, condemning the move CPM MLA Shayamal Chakraborty said eviction notices were issued to 12 mosques in the area but no such notice was served to the temples. “The authority served eviction notices only to the mosques and informed the temples only verbally about the relocation.
On the otherhand, BJP spokesperson Ashok Sinha supported the move and said the government has shown the true nature of secular governance in Tripura since unauthorised structures of all religions are being relocated.
talking about the government's move, Additional secretary for revenue L.T. Darlong said, “We are simply complying with the Supreme Court order. The order came in 2009. We are implementing it now. The issue is still sub judice in Tripura High Court. The state government will file an affidavit in the high court on December 19 on the unauthorised religious structures.”