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SC directs Centre to look into SAPO blockade on Mao community

Nagaland News

Dimapur, March 13: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Government of India to look into issue of “complete ban on settlement, residency, trade & commerce, and movement of the Mao Tribe members through the Southern Angami Tribe settlement areas in the State of Nagaland and through National Highway 2”.
A press release received here informed that the apex court issued the directive after hearing on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed in connection with the “current blockade and quit notice imposed/served by the Southern Angami Public Organization (SAPO) of Nagaland on the Mao Community of Manipur”.
The PIL was filed by Khurajam Athouba, Convener of Mao-Imphal Market Co-Ordination Committee and Vice President of IPSA. Athouba also sent the press release.
It stated that the SC’s directive was issued by a Bench comprising the Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Naramsimha and Justice JB Pardiwala.
“It may be noted that since December 15, 2022, the Southern Angami Public Organization (SAPO) and the Southern Angami Youth Organization (SAYO) have imposed a blockade on settlement, residency, trade & commerce and movement of Mao Tribe members through Southern Angami Tribe settlement areas in Nagaland and various incidents of violence (burning of vehicles, harassment to Mao Tribe members etc.) have occurred.
“Such a blockade and incidents of violence have been sought to be linked by the Southern Angami Tribe members to their alleged traditional and tribal rights over the 32.29 sq. km. of Koziirii Forest and to two-third of the Dzuko valley (11.28 sq. km.), which are otherwise within the undisputed constitutional boundary of Manipur”, it stated.
Efforts made in the past to resolve the issue through tribal bodies have failed to solve the problem, it added.
“Most shockingly, neither the State of Nagaland nor the Union of India has taken steps to safeguard the basic fundamental rights of the Mao Tribe for the past 105 days and it was in such circumstances that it was considered necessary to approach the highest Court of India for its due intervention for speedy justice.
“Most specifically, the embargo on Mao Tribe people for access to National Highway 2 (Asian Highway 1) has severely affected movement of Mao Tribe members and their business”, it stated.
The next hearing will be on March 20.
(Page News Service)