TODAY -

SoO Interlocutor holds closed door meeting with UPF leaders
CSOs bat for Autonomous Territorial Council

Source: The Sangai Express

CCpur, June 27 2018: Several CSOs including chiefs associations and women organisations today petitioned the SoO Interlocutor AB Mathur for an early political settlement on his maiden visit to Churachandpur ever since assuming his new assignment.

While many points were raised, a number of CSOs backed the demand for an Autonomous Territorial Council.

The apex tribal bodies, the Zomi Council, the Hmar Inpui, and Thadou Inpi jointly petitioned the visiting Interlocutor for a viable and lasting political solution which should be worked out through the present political talk for the fulfilment of the age old political aspirations of the hill tribal peoples of Manipur without any further delay.



SoO Interlocutor holds closed door meeting with UPF leaders
SoO Interlocutor holds closed door meeting with UPF leaders


'We the tribals in Manipur are very sensitive with the issue of identity, culture, land and its resources.

This aspect may kindly be given due consideration during the process of negotiation.

What we expect is a political autonomy that provides sufficient protection to our identity, land and its resources and gives us the power to manage our own affairs without undue intervention,' said the petition.

'We also support the non-communal position of UPF because of the conflicting opinion that exists on nomenclature issue.

What we aspire for is an immediate political solution; as such minor differences should be avoided,' it added even as it echoed the assurance made before the public at Ngathal Public Ground, Churachandpur on March 2, 2017.'The aspirations of the people for peace and security and the eventual realisation of our long-cherished dream of living in our own land with no fear of discrimination, marginalisation, exploitation and deprivation have never been as high as it is now.

We long for the day when our political, economic, cultural and linguistic rights are respected, preserved, promoted and protected; our children and their grandchildren growing up in peace, security and harmony in a land they can call their own.

We long for the day when our people can once more hold up their heads high in dignity.

We anxiously wait for the day when the Government decides to help us in realising these crucial aspirations through peaceful and democratic processes,' said the petitioned signed by chairmen/presidents and general secretaries of the three bodies.

The Zomi Mothers' Association and the Hmar Women Association have also written to Mathur about their unstinted support to the demand for Autonomous Territorial Council by SoO groups.

An inclusive, non-communal, time-bound and honourable solution was what they prayed for as a result of the talk, it said and highlighted some women specific concerns which they want to be taken into consideration.

Separate commission for women in the territorial council; special reservation for women from hill tribe in the State Assembly and TC Assembly; protection mechanism for women and children against all forms of exploitation; inclusion of women in decision making process in the TC; increased political space for women at village, block, district and council level are some of the issues they raised.

The Zomi Chief Association and the Hmar Chief Federation also asserted their rights over the customs and land of the tribals in Manipur before the Interlocutor even as they expressed the desire to see the aspiration of the people for sustainable peace and the eventual realisation of the long cherished dream of living in their own land with no fear of discrimination, marginalisation, exploitation and deprivation, which they alleged have never been as high as it is now.

They also highlighted the traditional land holding system of the Zo people in the hill areas within the present State of Manipur, and noted that not a single tribal chief of any village was in the 'agreed articles' that was included in the Merger Agreement signed on September 21,1949 between the Governor General of India and His Highness the Maharaja of then Princely State of Manipur.


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