TODAY -

CCpur JAC berates public curfew, Govt
Source: The Sangai Express

Ccpur, May 07 2016 : "Today marks the 250th day of Tribal Movement, yet the continued refusal of communal Manipur Government to address the grievances of the tribal people has prevented us from giving an honourable burial to our nine Tribal Martyrs," said the JAC against 'anti-tribal' Bills.

In a statement, the JAC said that the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) concludes its 'Statewide Public Curfew' today which, as always anticipated from such initiatives taken by Manipur valley-based organizations, had absolutely no impact on any part of the tribal territories that account for about 90 per cent of present Manipur.

The 42-hour 'curfew' imposed by JCILPS met with no objection from the State Government which in itself is a clear indication of the support and patronage the Joint Committee enjoys from the State Government.

Moreover, the extent of this 'statewide curfew' is also indicative of the actual land area the present day Manipur effectively covers which is limited only to the four valley districts excluding the annexed Jiribam Sub-Division.

Continuing their utter disregard of the sentiments of the tribal people, the Congress Government has now passed on the onus to the BJP for converting the three Bills into Acts; such divisive tactics of trying to garner poli- tical mileage while displaying utmost contempt for tribal sentiments will surely be detrimental to the survival of any political party, whether national or regional, in the tribal territories of present Manipur.

It may be noted here that on December 29, 2015 an 18-member delegation from the Joint Action Committee Against Anti-Tribal Bills (JAC) met with the Chief Minister of Manipur and his non-tribal Cabinet members requesting him to convene a special session of the Mani-pur Legislative Assembly to take a decision on the JAC's Charter of Demands submitted on November 9, 2015, the JAC said.

Instead, the Chief Minister requested the delegation to give in writing the various parts and portions of the three Bills which were anti-tribal in nature, viz, the Protection of Manipur Peoples Bill, 2015; the Manipur Land Revenue & Land Reforms (7th Amendment) Bill, 2015; and the Manipur Shops and Establishments (2nd Amendment) Bill, 2015, and talks will be resumed once the same has been furnished.

A six-paged document outlining the exacts points in the bills which were found to be 'anti-tribal' and an infringement on the constitutionally guaranteed tribal rights was submitted to the Chief Minister on January 11, 2016.However, Manipur Govt has continued to show no interest in bringing about any solution to the current impasse and has not sent out any invitation for talks with the JAC ever since; instead, it has been propagating baseless accusations that the JAC is refusing to talk to Manipur Government while in reality the JAC still continues to wait for any word of invitation for talks from the State Government, the JAC added.

To the tribal people of Manipur, the three anti-tribal Bills which infringe on tribal identity, land rights and economy are only a new chapter in Manipur Government's intrinsic policy of cultural alienation, political marginalization & developmental exclusion of the tribals, as well-thought out State policy of modern-day political conquest and annexation having absolutely nothing to do with the Inner Line Permit System.

In fact, as the names themselves suggest, the withdrawn Manipur Regulation of Visitors, Tenants and Migrant Workers Bill, 2015 and the proposed Manipur Unorganized Workers (Control of Infiltration) Bill, 2016 seem to be more in line with the Inner Line Permit System than all the three anti-tribal Bills combined, it said.

Having totally lost faith in Manipur Government's commitment and ability to bring about any acceptable solution, and with the anticipation of many similar anti-tribal bills from the State Govt in future, the growing sentiments among the tribal people now is that of mistrust and total disregard for the State Govt which further nourishes the tribal aspiration for separation of tribal territories from the control of the ethnic Manipur Government, which is also increasingly seen as the only viable solution.

The JAC is dismayed to learn that constitutional rights of the Manipur tribals as enshrined in Clause 2 of Article 371 C that the Governor shall annually, or whenever so required by the President make a report to the President regarding the administration of the Hill Areas of the State of Manipur and the executive power of the Union shall extend to the giving of directions to the State as to the administration of the Hill Areas has not been executed for many years now, as evident from the answers given by Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs to unstarred question No 1528 posed by Jitendra Chaudhury, Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) during the current Lok Sabha Parliament Session on May 3, 2016 regarding the administration of the Hill Areas of Manipur.

However, the Tribal Movement in general and the JAC in particular, with the unweavering support of the public, will not rest till a solution acceptable to the tribal people is achieved, it affirmed.

The JAC stated that whatever spill over this issue has in the days to come, both the Union Govt as well as the State Govt shall be held wholly responsible as this would be the result of their continued intentional ignorance and indifference to the plight of the tribal people of Manipur, and the international community shall stand witness to this blatant disregard for the rights of the indigenous tribal people of Manipur.

"We truly believe, with the Almighty on our side, that we shall overcome some day," it said.


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