Temple relocation
A temple being relocated in Tripura. Image credit - The Indian Express

The Tripura Government has started the process of relocating unauthorized religious structures on Government land in complaince with a directive of the Supreme Court.

The directive from the Supreme Court was given in 2009 and in 2013, the erstwhile Left Front Government had passed a resolution on the issue and it also submitted an affidavit stating that the order would be implemented, stated a report published on Friday by The Week.

Till this year, no step was taken in this regard, however, the IPFT-BJP coalition Government in Tripura decided to initiative in this regard.

The report quoted Additional Secretary in the Revenue Department, LT Darlong, as saying: “The issue is still sub-judice in Tripura High Court. The State Government will file an affidavit to the High Court on December 19 on the unauthorized religious structures in the State.”

It may be mentioned that the Supreme Court passed an order in 2009 to remove or demolish all unauthorized religious structures on Government land which can cause inconvenience in public places.

The report quoted the West Tripura Additional District Magistrate Tapan Kumar Das as saying: “Now Tripura Chief Justice Sanjay Karol is looking after the implementation of the issue and a hearing on the subject will be held soon,.”

Das also stated that all the District Magistrates will have to file affidavits of progress and the West Tripura district administration has started discussing relocation of the structures built on Government lands with the authorities of the religious bodies.

It has also been reported that at least 12 small temples, like Shani and Kali temples have been relocated by the district authorities of West Tripura district and discussions are being held with those in charge of mosques, churches and big temples, Das told newsmen.

The report also quoted Sonamura Sub-divisional Magistrate in West Tripura district, Saju Waheed, as saying the unauthorized religious structures are being divided into two categories structures which were built over 30 years ago and those erected less than 30 years.

“We have identified 184 such structures in Sonamura sub-division of Sipahijala district alone. Among them, 61
structures are less than 30 years old. We have already removed 15-16 structures and have issued notice for the rest,” said Waheed.

According to the report, notices have been issued to 48 religious bodies, which include that of 20 temples, 26 mosques and two churches asking for relocating the structures.

Waheed added that the local authorities are in discussion with the people to convince them
in relocating the structures which are over 30 years old.

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