TODAY -

CCpur JAC bats for 6th Schedule
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, May 17 2017: The Joint Action Committee Against Anti Tribal Bills (JAC-AATB) has stated today that "the concocted fear by the dominant valley-dwelling community that the implementation of Sixth Schedule in the ancestral tribal Hill areas will lead to disintegration of the State (Manipur) is nothing short of a blatant attempt to retain their hegemony over the indigenous tribal people and the ancestral tribal territories.

In fact, it is the desire of the tribal people for grassroot development and better delivery of administrative services through decentralized governance that is fuelling aspirations for extension of Sixth Schedule" .

The JAC-AATB was reacting to the statement of the United Committee Manipur (UCM) where the latter had said few days ago that the "implementation of Sixth Schedule would result in the disintegration of the State" .

The JAC-AATB stated in a press release today that "at a time when different communities in Manipur under a new Government led by N Biren Singh are looking for ways to find amicable solutions" to the various issues that have plagued Manipur, it found the comment of the UCM "most unfortunate and worrisome" .

It stated that, contrary to the consistent rhetoric of the "Valley-based civil society organizations", it is the implementation of Sixth Schedule provisions (without the "local adjustment and amendment" rider) that will protect the integrity of the State.

It advised that, rather than fearing its implementation in the ancestral tribal Hill areas, the Valley-dwelling community should fear the day when the tribal people no longer desire for the extension of Sixth Schedule provisions in their ancestral territories and aspire for greater autonomy, for that day will mark the true beginning of the actual disintegration of Manipur.

In fact, the implementation of Sixth Schedule provisions in the Hill districts of the State is the minimum point of convergence of both tribal and Meitei interests – giving autonomy to the former while maintaining territorial integrity of the State, the JAC-AATB added.

The JAC-AATB said that it fails to comprehend how the UCM leadership "could make such baseless accusations" regarding the Suspension of Operation (SoO) groups being allowed to take part in signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the JAC and Manipur Government.

In fact, the tripartite talks with SoO groups find a mention in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) as it was suggested by the State Government for its inability to recommend Sixth Schedule in the "tribal hill areas" at this point in time, as demanded by the JAC-AATB and other tribal civil society organizations; moreover, the SoO groups were never party to the signing of the MoU nor were there any representation from them in the discussions leading up to the signing of the document, the statement of JAC-AATB added.

"With the UCM and its ilk consistently trying to undermine the authority of the Hill Areas Committee, and Article 371C of the Indian Constitution, it is time "all civil society organizations" from Manipur Valley including UCM to spell out their true idea of 'Manipur' and their oft-repeated 'territorial integrity' so that the indigenous tribal communities in the hills of Manipur can take a definite decision regarding their own future.

It is also time for the Union Government to cease being a mere spectator and start showing genuine concern for the plight of the indigenous tribal people in Manipur by giving them adequate constitutional protection and status," it stated.

It said that the age of deceiving the hapless tribal people in the guise of "development" schemes under divide and rule policies is a passé; and the signing of the MoU is definitely not the end, but rather a momentous decision to pave the way for a more sustained struggle to protect, preserve and promote the rights, the ancestral lands and the identity of the indigenous tribal people in Manipur.


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