TODAY -

ILPS related issues to dominate Assembly polls
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, September 12 2016: Inner Line Permit (ILP) related issues are going to dominate the forthcoming Manipur Assembly election with both the hills and the valley organisations accusing the Manipur Government of not competent enough to address the problem.

Manipur Assembly election is due in the early part of 2017 .

In the valley, sporadic incidents continue to be witnessed as people under the banner of Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) demanding the State Government to pass a new anti-migrant Bill.

On the other hand, the Outer Manipur Tribal Forum (OMTF) and the Joint Action Committee Against Anti Tribal Bills (JAC-AATB) have been reminding the Government that the tribal people will not accept any new Bill or resolution unless appropriate and satisfactory steps are taken towards the total nullification of the "two pending anti-tribal Bills", and unless the matter of the "nine martyrs" are resolved to the satisfaction of the tribal people in Manipur.

Recently, in a meeting with Manipur Governor Dr Najma Heptullah at Raj Bhavan in Imphal, the OMTF and JAC-AATB had "detailed the political marginalisation and developmental exclusion faced by the indigenous tribals in Manipur" .

The tribal delegation had told the Governor that the need for a solution is "sustainable and acceptable to the tribals".

The tribal leaders also apprised the Governor "the plight of the tribals that have been magnified with the passing of the infamous anti tribal Bills" by the Manipur legislative Assembly last year.

The tribal leaders then told the Governor that "neither the Union Government nor the State Government has shown any genuine interest to address the issue including the mortal remains of the nine tribal martyrs still awaiting an honourable burial" .

Given this situation, tribal politicians contesting the forthcoming Assembly election cannot afford to ignore the sentiment of the hill people.

The valley politicians do face the same burden of taking the sentiment of the valley people into account.

With things getting polarised so much, major political parties including the BJP and the Congress will face a tough situation pertaining to their respective poll manifesto.

It appears that the campaign of the JCILPS is going to get intensified.

The intensity of campaign in the hills will depend on the response of the Government to the JCILPS campaign.

In the valley, the campaign for the fresh Bill continues with fierce protests.

As recently as a couple of days ago ten student protesters, who were attempting to storm the Chief Minister's Bungalow over ILP demand, were injured here after they fought a pitched battle with armed police who fired several rounds of tear gas canisters to disperse them.

Injured protesters were seen being rushed to nearby hospitals.

A large number of students from Imphal East took to the streets demanding the State Government to pass a new anti-migrant Draft Bill prepared and submitted by Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) to the former.

The police blocked roads and fired tear gas canisters on the student demonstrators near Palace gate, resulting in a scuffle.

Ten protesters were injured when they got hit by tear gas canisters at the spot.

Valley districts have been witnessing protests by school going students under the banner of Students Wing of JCILPS which has launched a sustained campaign for months for introduction of an anti-migrant tough law to protect the interests of all indigenous people in the State.

Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam on Friday had said that the Government wants to table and pass a fresh Bill in a special Assembly session well before September 21, a deadline set by the Joint Committee.

"The Government is almost ready to pass the Bill provided that it gets a common consent from all stakeholders.

The Bill should be a feasible one," he stressed while talking to media persons on the sidelines of a function here.

The earlier Protection of Manipur People Bill, 2015 was rejected by the President owing to different reasons with the key one being the strong opposition lodged by the tribal people of Manipur.

The Joint Committee, a citizens' body, has set September 21 as the deadline for passing the Bill.

The Manipur Government did not table the Draft Bill in the just concluded State Assembly session citing time constraints.


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