The Supreme Court on December 15, asked the Manipur Government to furnish to the court-appointed committee the details about the steps it had taken to restore the places of worship that had been destroyed in the ethnic violence.
A bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra clarified that the identification of such structures shall cover all religious faiths and denominations. Hence, it asked that the State Government furnish within two weeks to the committee a comprehensive list after identifying religious structures damaged during the violence.
It also asked the Committee to prepare a comprehensive proposal detailing the way forward, including with regard to the restoration of places of public worship damaged or destroyed during the violence since May.
“The government of Manipur shall furnish to the court-appointed committee within two weeks the identification carried out of destructed places of worship. We clarify that the identification shall be across all religious denominations and of all sorts of religious places,” the bench ordered.
Senior Advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for Meitei Christian Churches Council, told the bench that the Committee for Rehabilitation in the State, headed by Justice Gita Mittal, had made certain recommendations to restore the places of worship and requested the court accept the same.
He said that relief was sought regarding places of worship for all communities and was not confined to any particular religion.
Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati said the State of Manipur had filed a detailed affidavit as per which the process of identification of destroyed places of worship and subsequent securing of the same had already been done.
It also recorded the assurance given by Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta that necessary steps would be taken so that all those in relief camps could celebrate the upcoming Christmas festival.
Senior advocate Jaideep Gupta told the bench that the Manipur Government shall also make a policy for rehabilitation of the houses that were destroyed in the violence.
On this, the top court ordered, “The State of Manipur shall, after evaluating the situation and after independently carrying out an investigation, bring out a comprehensive proposal or response as the case may be for the restoration of houses destroyed in the violence.”
The top court is seized of the cases relating to the violence in Manipur between the Meitei and Kuki communities.
The violence in Manipur between the Hindu Meiteis and the tribal Kuki, who are Christians, erupted after a rally by the All Tribal Students Union of Manipur (ATSUM) on May 3. Violence has gripped the entire state since May. The Union Government had to deploy paramilitary forces to bring the situation under control.
(with inputs from ANI)