TODAY -

ILPS must be the most common issue of hills & valleys

Aaron Keishing *

ILP : Day -1 : 38-hour bandh by JAC constituted against death of Sapam Robinhood :: July 28 2015
ILP : 38-hour bandh by JAC constituted against death of Sapam Robinhood on July 28 2015 :: Pix - Shankar Khangembam



This write up is just my belief, and may or may not be supported by our intellectuals. As people are well-aware about ILPS through medias and other means, I need not take much pain writing about the same. I would just point out some of my opinions on the present movement for implementation of ILPS in the State.

It's doesn't mean Manipur people do not want free movements and resides of non-locals in the State, but facts and circumstances are such that land and populations of Manipuris are very small and extinct-able. As such, it's quite natural to protest and or enact some effective laws to preserve the same.

The communities living in the State of Manipur seems to have double standards in dealing with almost everything, and there is no exception when it comes to the current issue of ILP demand. It's something like anything initiated by the hill people always draw hill-wide attention while those initiated by valley people appear to draw no reactions at all in the hills, and vice-versa.

Any issue or movement initiated and or spearheaded by either side is at once considered as harmful and dangerous by the other without further examinations of its merits and demerits, and ILP movement is one of them. How ILPS did suddenly became something not need for the tribals, which was otherwise very much important till recently?

It is important to realize that over population of migrants and immigrants in Manipur is not purely a valley security challenge, as it poses extinct threats to Manipur as a whole. Not every act of state government or majority community is necessarily harmful, and cannot be at once concluded as a scheme to snatch the land of tribals, or otherwise. Similarly, not every demand of tribals is not a plan to disintegrate the State.

However, due to mutual suspicions and distrust between the tribals and non-tribals, all relentless efforts went futile because affected communities failed to unitedly organise movements against common threats.

It is only spirit of co-operation which can achieve the ultimate goal of peace and security. People fear of co-operation, because it is often considered to be unselfish. But men have experienced the fact that their most selfish goals are best served by working together with their fellows. As such, it's time to realise that our differences are less important than the important things we have in common.

More examples of double standards - at the event of police killing bandh supporters at a hill district, there was an outpouring of grief and empathy from all corners of the hills, but the news got little more than a passing mention by major papers, or no reactions at all when security forces killed a student at a valley district.

Similar differences in reaction could also be seen in many issues, e.g., when a hillman is killed elicited statewide attention, while news of the killings of more people in valleys was quickly buried. The above examples are not based on actual incidents, but just to supplement my points here. The people of both the groups needs to stress that every life is precious regardless of the person's socio-economic status, origin, color or beliefs and that perpetrator is the common enemy of the whole state.

Histories are the testimonies of the fact that "although the tribal people have been living in the forests from time immemorial, they have been dumped as illegal encroachers and evicted under various forest and wildlife protection laws. They have been denied access to traditional means of survival. In December 2006, the govt. of India passed the Scheduled Tribes and Oter traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights Act, to recognize the rights of the tribals over their forest lands. However, Tribals continue to face eviction from their traditional habitat under Forest Conservation Act of 1980.

The Constitution of India, under the 5th and 6th Schedule, protects the land rights of the indigenous peoples. In addition, various state governments have adopted state level laws prohibiting the transfer of lands from indigenous peoples to non-tribals. Yet, such guarantees have proved ineffective in preventing widespread land alienation. In many occasions, we've seen the problems of alienation of tribal land and no proper rehabilitation of tribals on acquisition of their lands." (Swapan Deb Barma at http://lex-warrier.in with my own inputs).

So, how can some say tribal don't need ILPS as they're protected under the Constitution? Tribal have no land laws to protect from alienation. Customary laws are, but at the event of any conflict between the government laws and customary laws, former prevails over the later.

Well, I agree that present type of intensive agitations is a thing that hill people didn't seem to have any plans to deal with, and communications from either side is recommended. However, ILPS and AFSPA must be the most common issues among hills and valleys, if any, or else you'll have none.


* Aaron Keishing wrote this article for The Sangai Express and Hueiyen Lanpao
This article was posted on August 01 , 2015.


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