New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday considered a petition filed by Meitei Christian Churches Council, Manipur (MCCCM) highlighting the destruction of churches during the ongoing ethnic clashes in the region.
A bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud asked the petitioner to serve a copy on the State Government as well as the judges’ committee formed by the Court.
Senior Advocate Huzefa Ahmadi appeared for the petitioner. The petitioner complained that the State and the Centre did not do anything to prevent the destruction of 240 churches belonging to the Meitei Christians in Manipur during the communal clashes.
As per the petition– “These church properties and its grounds are being used for other purposes. In most cases, the title documents etc were looted or torched along with the church properties and the Petitioners no longer have any documentary evidence in their possession. If the conversion of church properties for use of other communities is not stopped immediately, the Petitioners may not be in a position to retrieve them at all.”
Accordingly, the petition has sought for an immediate action to be taken to stop the further desecration of church properties and to preserve the same.
“The Meitei Christians should be allowed to congregate and pray at the church properties under police protection,” the petition urges.
It also highlights that despite several schemes for rehabilitation and compensation promised by the State authorities, the same have not been extended to the churches. Even the directions passed by the Supreme Court to provide relief and restoration for destroyed places of worship have not been complied with by the State government as per the petition.
The petitioner asserts that the MCCCM had even written to the Governor of Manipur, bringing to his notice the rampant looting and destruction of church property and sought for immediate intervention. However, no response was received. Another Representation was filed to the Home Minister and the Secretary of Ministry of Home Affairs; to the Chief Minister of the State of Manipur and the Governor of Manipur, reiterating the destroyed 240 Churches from various districts and seeking for the enquiry of the cause of destruction, but still no response was provided regarding the same.
The Petitioners have sought for directions to authorities to be passed to address and include the measures of relief, rehabilitation and restoration of places of worship in the State of Manipur. (Courtesy: Live Law)