ILP What we need to do now
- Part 2 -

Dr Khomdon Lisam *

ILP : Women and Student Protest clash with Police :: May 25 2016
ILP : Women and Student Protest clash with Police on May 25 2016 :: Pix - Shankar Khangembam

If many states like Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharastra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu etc can pass bills with punishment clauses, why can't the Manipur State Assembly pass a bill with punishmanet clauses. If State Government is hesitant, they can consult with the recognised Constitutional experts of India. Is it not a sign of incompetency on the part of 60 MLAs and the officials of the Law Department ? This is not the fault of the JCILPS. But this is the fault of the Law Deprtment, who is supposed to advise the Manipur State Government on legal matters.

The Hill-valley divide has become more pronounced after declaration of the State Government for the proposed all Political Parties meeting with the President, Prime Minister and Home Minister and other national leaders and the JCILPS's imposition of Public Curfew, General Strike, Human Chain formation etc. The tribal CSOs also organized Public SHUT DOWN OF ALL HILL DISTRCICTS.

The tribal leaders are also going to Delhi to urge the President, Prime Minister and Home Minister and oother national leaders not to give assent to the three bills. The activities of Manipur State Government and JCILPS should not aggravate the hill-valley divide. We should try our level best to restore the love. peace, unity and communal harmony. We should not take a decision in a hurry considering sensitivities of the tribal population.

Possible decision of the President

Considering the faulties of the Bills and strong opposition to the three bills by the hill districts, the President of India may decide not to give assent to the three bills. This is my opinion. If it is a Money Bill, the President may refer back the bill to the Governor of Manipur for re-consideration.

One option available for the Manipur State Government is to withdraw the bill before the President take any action for the sake of communal harmony, peace and unity and re-draft it fulfilling all the conditions mentioned above with due consultation with recognized Costitution Experts of India and re-submtting it to the Governor/President of India for Assent.

At this juncture, the proposed visit of the all parties delegation will be an useless exercise, which will accentuate the hill-valley divide. The withdrawal of the bills and redrafting it with the participation of all stakeholders will bring trust, love, unity, mutual respect among various ethnic groups. The Manipur State Govenment may get the re-drafted bills examined by the Hill Areas Committee as required under rules This is not a sign of weakness . But it is a sign of greatness. This is what we need to do today.

When the redrafted bill is submitted again to the Governor, the Governor may give assent or reserved it for consultation with the President. We have been sleeping for the last 67 years. Why not we give another 3-6 months to get the re-drafted bill passed wihout any tension on boh sides in a democratic manner?

Shri Pranab Mukherjee was a prominent Congress leader who became President with the blessings of Sonia Gandhi, President of the Indian National Congress. Hence Shri O.Ibobi Singh, Hon'blle Chief Minister of Manipur ,Shri Gaikhangam, Hon'blle Deputy Chief Minister of Manipur, all the Hon'ble Congress Ministers and MLAs have distinct advantages and a specific responsibility to urge the President to give assent to the redrafted bills.

If the response of the President is not favourable, then the Hon'blle Chief Minister of Manipur may sit in dharna in front of Parliament or Jantar Mantar with several thousands of Manipuris just like Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of Delhi had done in Delhi. Similarly, the President of BJP with his team has a specific responsibility to urge the Hon'ble Prime Minister and Home Minister to give assent to the bills. This may not be very difficult on the part of BJP.

What to do if the President is reluctant to give assent to the Bills

The Manipur State Government and the JCILPS should also think and have a strategy on "WHAT TO DO IF PRESIDENT WITHHLD / RESERVED THE BILL INDEFINITELY". In the mean time, the JCILPS with the help of other civil soceties can start (1) asking the people to gherao and urge their respective Hon'ble MLAs to delete the names of non-Manipuris from the electoral rolls by following official procedures within a time frame otherwise they will not be allowed to contest general election in 2017. (2) urging the State Government to implement the Foreigner's Act -1946 rigorously. (3) urging the State Government to establish the Population Commission without further delay. Common Future- Retoration of Pre-Merger Political Status of Manipur

Second option available on the part of the Manipur State Government and JCILPS is initiate actions for restoration of the Pre-Merger Political status of Manipur.

Before merging to the dominion of India, Manipur was having its own nationalism, national flag, it own constitution, its own Legislative Assembly (Parliament), its own administrative and legal system.

For the last more than 51 years,we have been shouting that the Government of India and committed a series of pre-merger and post-merger blunders against Manipur. Many insurgent groups are demanding independence of Manipur. But demanding Pre-Merger Political status of Mannipur is not demanding independence of Manipur.

Manipur will continue to be a part of India sharing Defence, External Affaires, Communication as per terms of the Instrument of Accession signed by Maharaja Bodhchandra Singh on 11 Auust ,1947. I think this is what the Jana Neta Hijm Irabot wanted.

On 6 February, 2016, UCM, AMUCO, CCSK in collaboration with other civil organizations had already shown the path to a common future and peaceful co-existence by organizing the "UNITTY RALLY". We should work for a common future which will be acceptable to all ethnic groups. The common future may be in the form of "Restoration of Pre-Merger Political Status of Manipur".

The Inner Line Permit System and Inclusion of Meitieis in the list of Schedule Tribe under the Indian Constitution may be short-term our goals.

But these two demands, even if fulfilled will not be able to overcome all the problems and issues of Manipur. Both Inner Line Permit System and Schedule Tribe Status are in operation in Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram but still these three states are having lots of problems.

The problems and issues of Manipur can be overcome only when we achieved liberty and freedom by writing our own constitution, having our own Parliament, our own administrative system, our own legal system and becoming our own masters.

This can be achieved only when we restore the pre-merger political status of Manipur.

Shared Sovreignty for Nagaland

On 3rd August 2015, the Government of India's Interlocutor for Naga Peace Talks, Shri Ravindra Narayan Ravi (R.N. Ravi) signed the Naga Peace Agreement, a "Framework Agreement" on behalf of the Government of India with Shri Isak Chishi Swu, Chairman and Shri Th. Muivah, General Secretary of NSCN-IM in presence of Shri Narendra Modi, Hon'ble Prime Minister of India at the residence of the Prime Minister.

(1) Hon'ble Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh, National Security Adviser, Shri Ajit Doval and other high dignitaries of the Government of India were also present. The Prime Minister announced the signing of a Naga Accord and described it as "historic agreement."

According to RN Ravi, the agreement is based on two points which will shape a shared sovereignty model as follows :-

1) Indians and Nagas will live through sharing of sovereign power (shared sovereignty) between Indians and Nagas. The "shared sovereignty" means a power-sharing model where the sovereign jurisdiction over a single political territory can be shared by two or more consenting powers. It is generally arrived through an agreement which legitimised equal distribution of power and rights among administering bodies.

2) The two entities (India and Nagaland/-lim) will have peaceful co-existence in the spirit of equality and respect for each other based on Uniqueness of Naga History and Situation.

The Government of India has decided to hold the Naga Peace Meeting twice a week to work out the details of the final peace accord and the components of the Shared Sovereignty.

They are examining the possible components of the Shared Sovereignty as follows:- 1. Special and separate Budget 2. Separate Naga Constitution 2. Separate Naga flag 3. Separate Parliament 4. Separate judiciary (Supreme Court) 5. Separate president and Prime minister 6. Separate UN representation 7. Separate reserved quota in the Indian Army. (8) Separate reserved quota in the Central Civil Services (9) Separate UN representation (10) joint defence and military 11. Joint external affair and communication

On 9 August, 2015, Mr T. R. Zeliang, Chief Minster of Nagalnd said that he and other members of Nagaland Legislative Assembly were ready to step down to make a new beginning and installed a govrnment based on Shared Sovereignty. This shows the dedication, sacrfice and greatness of Mr. T. R. Zeliang. Similarly, our Hon'ble Chief Minister and the the Hon'ble MLAs should be ready to resign for achieving the goal of "Restoration of Pre-Merger Political Status of Manipur."


* Dr Khomdon Lisam wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer can be reached at khomdon(DOT)lisam(AT) yahoo(DOT)com
This article was posted on June 08, 2016.

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