TODAY -

Commitment to much awaited Bill : Don’t forget 2015
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: April 25 2018 -



Bill soon to save the indigenous people of the land.

This was Chief Minister N Biren Singh while addressing the Khongjom Day function at Khongjom and while it is still too early to speculate how the Bill may turn out, it stands that the bitter lesson from the 2015 Bills should not be forgotten.

A Bill to save the indigenous people and this should be understood as a Bill to regulate the inflow of non-local people into the State and much will depend on how successfully the BJP led Government is able to take different sections of the people along with it.

The announcement of the Chief Minister must have also pleased the JCILPS and all those who have been at the forefront expressing deep concern over the changing demography of the land.

In fact so drastic has the change been that some have even gone to the extent of predicting that if the present trend is not checked then the chances of non-local people becoming the majority in certain parts of the State are very much real.

This is frightening and if remedial measures are not taken up then there is every possibility of the natives of the land being reduced to a minority in the land of their ancestors.

There are enough examples to illustrate this and one has to just take a look at Tripura.

It also stands that in drafting the Bill, the Opposition parties too should be taken into confidence for in seeking opinion, the Government will be better placed to come out with a more holistic Bill that includes all.

Apart from the Opposition parties, all concerned, should also be taken into confidence and their opinion sought.

The BJP led Government cannot afford to have any Bill passed tagged as ‘anti-tribal’ as was the case with the 2015 Bills.

The Government too must seriously study what the base year should be.

Is 1951 as the base year practical ?

Are there records of 1951 according to which the Government may work out to identify who are the original settlers of the land and who are not ?

What about the National Register of Citizens ?

Can the NRC for Manipur be prepared based on 1951 as the base year ?

These are questions which must have registered in the minds of the Government too, but the important question is, is it feasible to make 1951 as the base year ?

One advantage of the BJP led Government is the fact that it is today not the ‘communal Government of Manipur,’ and it is this feel good factor which the Government should take advantage of and reach out to all sections of the people while drafting the new Bill.

Moreover it also needs to be kept in mind whether any new Bill passed will receive the nod of the Governor or the President.

That the JCILPS has reached out to some of the hill based organisations on the need to have a mechanism to check the large scale of influx of non-locals into the State is encouraging and this should continue for the State certainly cannot afford to have another round of misunderstanding.

What happened at Churachandpur in 2015 should not be forgotten by anyone and let it be clear to all that an issue which should unite all the local people should not be reduced to something which will give rise to more suspicion.



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