The Divisional Forest Officer of Kolasib in Mizoram through a letter to the chairman of the Kachurtol Masjid Committee has warned to stop the construction work of a mosque in Zophai, citing it as a disputed land.
In a letter to its Imam, a copy of which has reached exclusively to Northeast Now, said, “The construction of a masjid in Zophai area is inside the Inner Line Reserved Forest and without obtaining approval from a competent authority is a violation of Section 2 of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980.”
It further said, “For the purpose of Section 2 of the Forest Conservation Act, the Honourable Supreme Court passed an Order dated December 12, 1996, which states, in accordance with Section 2 of the Act, all ongoing activity within any forest, in any state, throughout the country, without the proper approval of the Central Govt, must cease forthwith.”
“It is also to inform that Zophai in Bairabi, is within the disputed areas between Mizoram and Assam where no development activities or construction works is allowed to be taken up by both the parties to maintain the agreed status quo,” said, DFO in his letter.
It further said, “Should you be interested in constructing the masjid, you may seek the approval of the Central Government by submitting an application to appropriate authority for obtaining Forest Clearance.”
“Till approval of the Central Govt. is obtained, you are informed to stop the construction work and any other non-forestry activities and remove all the construction materials, said DFO, Kolasib, Laltlanhlua Zathang.