TODAY -

The Role of ILP Movement in Manipur is Anti-Pangal. Do you agree? If yes, why? If not, why?
- Part 2 -

W.M. Afzal Khan *

 ILP: Protest rally demand at Kwakeithel Tiddim Road on July 02 2015
ILP: Protest rally demand at Kwakeithel Tiddim Road on July 02 2015 :: Pix - Biren Yambem



The bill creates a new statutory body, directorate of registration of non-Manipur persons and tenants. But there is no provision for appeal against the decisions of director or the directorate. So, if you are aggrieved with the decision of the director or other employees, there is nobody to which you can appeal.

Rather, clause 10 provides that no suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings shall lie against any officer of the state government for anything done in 'good faith' under this act. Here, the word good faith is very vague. How can you prove or disprove good faith? Many details have been left out of the bill and more than what is written, what is not written in the bill may come to haunt us later.

The definition of 'Manipur People' in this particular bill will be used in other acts/bills to deny services, facilities and amenities to the people of Manipur (Minority Muslims and Tribals) is clear from the Manipur land revenue and land reforms (seventh Amendment) bill, 2015.

Nowever, in the Amendment of Bill of 2015 or in original Act 1960, the definition of Manipur people or non Manipur people is to be found but the term 'non-Manipur people' is used in the Amendment bill. It is assumed that the terms 'Manipur people' or non-Manipur people' are used as defined in the protection of Manipur people bill 2015. The terms should have been defined in the MLR & LR Amendment Bill but is not done so. Similarly, in future laws, these definitions in the protection of Manipur people bill 2015 will be used to deny services, amenities and facilities to the people of Manipur [Minority Muslim & Tribals].

It cannot be ruled out that the next time advertisement for jobs are out, it will say that the jobs are applicable to Manipur people as defined in the protection of Manipur people Act, 2015. In this eventually, you will be denied a state govt. jobs & you cannot prove that you are a Manipur people as defined under the act.

Some can be done in the case of admission to schools, colleges or in case of state quota in medical and engineering seats etc. this will not be problematic for the majority community [Meiteis] people because this will be applied selectively and whenever it suits the agenda of the Meitei community. It will be applied on the Muslims community to deny basic facilities, services and amenities as a Manipur citizen.

Also, ILP is so scary for the Tribals people. The cut off year of 1951 is very critical for both muslims & tribes because at that time the govt. machinery would not have reached every nook and corner of the state, especially the hills areas as they are cut off for the valley areas and most of the villages are non-motor able at the time and even today and tribal councils have not kept records prior to 1971. But meiteis org. are not talking about the influx of Meitei from outsides. They don't have problems with influx of Meitei, their only problem is non-meitei.

Manipur Land Revenue & Land Reforms Act, 1960, which prohibited the purchase of tribal land by non-tribal people was amended and tribal people are now up in arms against these bills. Violent protests were launched questioning the motive behind the amendment of the MLR & LR Act, 1960. All tribal students union Manipur (ATSUM), the kuku students org. (KSO), All Naga Students Association Manipur (ANSAM), United Naga Council (UNC), the Hmar Impui, the zomi council and the Kuki Impui Manipur have been agitating in the five hill districts, which are predominantly by Tribals. Eight tribal activists were killed in Churachanpur district over 25 people sustained injuries in police action. Nearly 10 govt. office buildings and all houses and properties of elected representatives in the district and Sadar hills in Senapati district were torched.

These organizations want all the 20 tribal members to resign for their failure to protect tribal interests. Four of them from the opposition Naga people's Front – Alexander Pao, Samuel Rison, L. Dikho and Victor Nunglung, tendered their resignations on September 7. Tribal organizations have asked the remaining 16 tribal representatives, all from the congress, to resign by September 30.

The KSO announced of indefinite blockade of the Moreh Market at India's border with Myanmar, paralyzing the legalized border trade with Mayanmar.

The introductory part of the Manipur land Revenue and the land reforms (seventh amendment) bill, 2015 which is akin to the statement of objects and reasons (SOR) of the bill speaks about the geographical area of the valley vis-a-avis the hill areas, the difference in population and the population density in the valley and the hills and the pressure on land in the valley areas. If the ILPS agitation is all about the influx of outsiders, the SOR of this bill which is introduced in the Manipur assembly pursuant to the agitation for ILPS never once mentioned the influx of outsiders.

The original Manipur land revenue and land reforms Act, 1960 provides in its "Extent Clause" in section 1(2) of the Act that it shall extend to the whole of the state of Manipur except the hill areas thereof. However, a proviso was added that the state government may, by notification in the official Gazette extend the whole or any part of any section of this Act to any of the hill areas of Manipur also as may be specified in such notification.

Similarly, in the "Definition Clause" in section 2(J) of the Act, it defines "hill areas" as such areas in the hill tracts of the state of Manipur as the state government may, by notification in the official Gazette, declare to be hill areas. The implications of these two provisions is that the state govt. by simply issuing a Gazette notification can include or exclude a specific area or village as hill areas.

In other words, the state government can extend the provisions of MLR & LR Act to any place by simply issuing a Gazette notification. If you see the top right corner, you will see "MLR Form 8 (Rule 57)" written there which means, you have acquired law under the MLR & LR Act and that this land is considered to be in the valley area. The full implication of these laws will then feel like a slap in the face; the new bills goes against Act. 371C and Manipur Hill People Administration Regulation Act 1947.

ILPS; if the bills become Act then, only Meitei can take the benefit but minority cannot, because Meitei will get the schedule tribe status soon if the bills become Act but Muslims cannot get such great opportunity, cannot buy land in hills but Meitei can. Some communities have been kept in a state of animated suspension… And new bills goes against overlap Act. 371C and Manipur Hill People Administration Regulation Act, 1947? Are Meitei too selfish for resources? Or Are their mindset less democratic? Are we (minorities) going to suffer every time? Are we going to compromise our rights, our stands, our life?

(this essay was also submitted to Delhi Association of Manipur Muslim Students (DAMMS) and got second position on its annual online essay competition) .


* W.M. Afzal Khan wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is M.A in politics, JNU and can be contacted at wmafzalkhan1995(aT)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on November 04 2015.


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