Guwahati, 17 December (MTNews): In a distressing turn of events, Ngamreila Haokip and her husband Thanglal Haokip, belonging to the Kuki community and originally from Manipur, faced the demolition of their home in Assam’s Kamrup district on November 23. The authorities declared their residence an encroachment on government land, leading to its destruction, Scroll reported.

Having moved to Guwahati nearly two decades ago, the Haokips faced eviction after building a house in Mairapur, a village along the Assam-Meghalaya border. The demolition, which resulted in the loss of their Rs 15 lakh investment, has left them devastated, as per the Scroll report.

The incident, according to the report, is indicative of the political nature of evictions in Assam, where land issues are closely tied to identity. While the targeted families were not part of the historically persecuted Muslim community, they claim they were singled out based on their ethnicity.

An investigation by the Scroll reveals that the ethnic conflict between the Kuki and Meitei communities in Manipur may have influenced the events leading to the demolitions. Mairapur, a village of around 4,000 people, witnessed the destruction of homes built on government land by three Kuki families in 2020. Allegedly, the eviction was fueled by complaints from nearby villages, leading to an investigation and subsequent demolition.

The Haokips, like many in Assam, had purchased government land, hoping for regularization in the future. While they applied for land titles under a state government scheme, only ethnic Assamese communities typically qualify as “indigenous.” The trouble began when nearby residents complained about “tribals from Manipur” settling in the area, prompting an investigation.

Despite the Kuki families’ claim of being local residents, the lack of formal notice preceded the demolitions on November 23. The authorities justified their actions by alleging illegal settlements on government land, emphasizing the longstanding presence of original tribal people in the area.

As tensions rise, questions linger over the selective nature of the evictions and the larger impact of ethnic conflicts on Assam’s political landscape. The affected families and their advocates seek a reconsideration of the evictions, emphasizing their contributions to the local community and their efforts to acquire legal land titles.

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