TODAY -

JAC rebuffs Chief Minister
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 28 2016: The Joint Action Committee Against Anti-Tribal Bills (JAC) has highlighted to the general public gross errors and misinformation in Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh's speech at the Manipur Legis-lative Assembly on Feb 22, regarding the 'constitutional protection' of the Hill Areas of Manipur and the ongoing tribal movement.

In the statement, the JAC said that the hill areas of Manipur are constitutionally protected under Article 371C of the Indian Constitution, as well as the Presidential Order dated June 20, 1972, namely the Manipur Legislative Assembly (Hill Areas Com- mittee) Order, 1972 promulgated by VV Giri, the then President of India in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 371C.Hence, the Chief Minister's statement that "the hill areas of the State are constitutionally protected by the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act" is not only misleading and unconstitutional, but is also 'anti-tribal' and has misgui-ded and misinformed the august gathering of the Legislative Assembly.

The reasons behind the Members of the Hills Areas Committee/tribal MLAs choosing to again remain mute spectators to such a deceptive remark by the Chief Minister are obvious and need no further interpretation.

It said that the Chief Minister's claim regarding the 'constitutionally protected' status of the Hill Areas under the Manipur Land Revenue & Land Reforms Act, 1960 belies the fact that instead of any protection, this Act was used by the Manipur Government to annex the tribal lands of the hill areas of Manipur which are constitutionally protected under Article 371C of the Constitution of India without the knowledge and permit of the tribal chiefs and hill people of the concerned villages.

In his speech, the Chief Minister mentioned that the Manipur Government has always appealed to the agitators (tribal people) to bring the provisions or parts of the Bills they are not satisfied with to the negotiating table and find amicable solution.

The JAC delegates were told on December 29, 2015 that the next round of talks will be scheduled once a document outlining the anti-tribal nature of the Bills was submitted to the Manipur Government.

Accordingly, a six-page document was submitted to the Manipur Government on January 11, 2016 pinpointing the various parts of the Bills which were found to be anti-tribal and an infringement on the rights of the tribals as enshrined in the Indian Constitution.

This is in addition to the JAC's four-page Charter of Demands submitted November 9, 2015, it said.

The Chief Minister's reference to the agitation against the three 'anti-tribal Bills and the ongoing Tribal Movement as a 'Churachandpur issue' and a 'law and order problem' contradicts the ground reality, and the same will become more evident in the coming days, it said.


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