TODAY -

Localised agitation and the need to let it not go astray
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: August 19 2015 -



Will it be a beam of light at the end of a tunnel or a damp squib? Only time can tell.

Almost all the five suggestions put forward by the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) for incorporation in a new Bill which would be passed by Manipur Legislative Assembly to provide a constitutional safeguard to the indigenous people of Manipur have been ‘taken care of’.

Sorry for borrowing the Sate Government’s jargon.

After days of unrest and violent confrontations between police and protesters, and a large number of casualties on both sides, the State Government has come up with a proposal to make 1951 as the base cut off year for identification of indigenous people of Manipur.

This is one of the main suggestions or rather demands made by JCILPS.

This means non-local people who were residing in Manipur before 1951 would be recognised as indigenous people of the land.

But we are afraid if any non-local adults who were residing in Manipur by 1951 are still alive.

It has not been spelt out whether progenies of those non-local adults who were residing in Manipur before 1951 should be treated as indigenous people or not.

Another very significant demand about reserving land ownership right for the indigenous people of the land has also been taken care of.

The State Government has already proposed to insert a provision in the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act 1960 by an amendment Bill to regulate the land ownership right to non-Manipuri people.

Of course, these are all imaginative propositions for no one knows whether the Governor would give assent to the Bill or it would be sent to the President of India.

Now that the Government has promised to incorporate almost all the five suggestions of JCILPS, let the Government introduce the Bill and let the Manipur Legislative Assembly pass it.

This would be no mean achievement for the tens of thousands of people who have been protesting on streets for the past several weeks.

Once the Bill is passed by the Manipur Legislative Assembly, both the State Government and the people can proudly claim that they have done their parts.

Yet, a Bill not approved by the Governor is as good as nothing.

People can proudly claim they have done their part but that is only a single battle in case the Bill gets stuck with the Governor or the President of India.

In such a scenario, people would be required to fight a series of battles.

So it’s high time for the vanguards of the popular movement to sit back and ponder on all possible scenarios.

Lobbying with the Government of India would demand a totally different strategy. Yes we have come thus far and we cannot afford losing sight of the ultimate goal.

But the way roads are being blocked without any announcement of bandh or general strike paints a very chaotic picture as if the movement has lost its direction and vision.

A movement of such magnitude and crucial significance should not be allowed to drift away from its intended course.

Carrying on the protest movement in such localised manner without any centralised command structure when the Government has offered to give almost everything demanded would give undue advantage to elements who would like to see the whole movement sabotaged.

The adversary whoever they are, may not be necessarily only external forces, who knows they may be lurking within.

If one should coordinate any mass movement, they should also know how to keep it under control and when to halt it. Protest for the sake of protest is not only weird but also self-defeating.

Let us respond and communicate with each other. We would like the vanguards of the movement to capitalise maximum on the rare political sagacity shown by the Government this time.



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