TODAY -

CCpur JAC questions DC's instructions
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, March 15 2016: In an open reply to a letter from DC of Churachandpur which urged the JAC against anti-tribal Bills to withdraw its proposed gun salute to the tribal 'martyrs' on March 18, the JAC Against the 'Anti-Tribal' Bills today said that with the Govt starting to question even the tribals' age-old practices and traditions and refusing to acknowledge the unique identities of the various tribal communities, the question that invariably crosses each tribal's mind is whether the very existence of tribals in Manipur has become a pressing problem for the Manipur Govt.It may be mentioned that the DC, Churachandpur in a missive dated March 14, urged the JAC to withdraw its proposed gun salute on March 18.The DC in his intimation to the JAC convener said that the proposal for gun salute where 'indiscriminate firing' of licensed guns by the public has been announced is 'unlawful' and will attract provisions of the Arms Act 1959 and Arms Rule 1962 .

In a point by point open reply to the DC letter today, the JAC said that it fails to comprehend how the traditional gun salute, the highest form of traditional respect shown to departed tribal leaders/heroes could have so conveniently been referred to as an act of 'indiscriminate firing' that too within tribal territory, overwhelmingly dominated by tribals and under a tribal Deputy Commissioner.

Pointing out that it had in its press releases dated March 9 and 13 clearly specified the use of gun powders only, the JAC said it fails to see anything 'unlawful' in the tribal practice of paying homage to 'tribal martyrs' through a traditional gun salute using gun powder.

The JAC could not grasp the reason why the age-old tribal practice can be termed as 'mis-utilisation of licensed arms' .

Bearing in mind the possible safety issues involved in such activity, the timing for the traditional gun salute has been consciously scheduled for 9 am of March 18 at the respective homes of the licensed gun owners while the same could have been planned after nightfall and out in the streets, the JAC said.

In order to avoid any possible 'misunderstanding and confusion between the JAC, public and different security forces' and other armed groups, two separate press releases have already been issued in intimation of the planned traditional gun salute as per the tribal tradition, it said.

It further said that the sounds of gun shots are in no way alien to the citizens of Lamka, thanks to the BSF subsidiary training centre in the vicinity which has helped the people get acquainted with such sounds.

Adding to this are the occasional indiscriminate blank firing like the ones made by 7th Bn AR posted at Headquarters Veng midnight of Oct 20, 2015 wherein their stray bullets punctured the roof of a residential building at Pearsonmun.

As such, performing traditional gun salute as a mark of respect and homage to the nine 'tribal martyrs' in accordance with the tribal tradition will in no way hamper or disturb the prevailing atmosphere, the JAC posited.

It is rather hypocritical and deceitful on the part of the Govt to quickly declare the age-old tribal practice of traditional gun salute to a departed tribal leader/hero as 'unlawful' and eligible to 'attract provisions of the Arms Act 1959 and Arms Rule 1962' while they themselves are still refusing to book the IRB/Manipur Police personnel responsible for killing the 'tribal martyrs,' it added.


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