TODAY -

ATSUM threatens stir over ADC Bill snub
Source: Chronicle News Service / Newmai News Network

Imphal, July 30 2022: All Tribal Students' Union, Manipur (ATSUM) has threatened to launch series of agitation if the Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Councils Bill 2021 is not tabled in the ongoing second session of the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly.

In a statement, ATSUM expressed strong resentment against deceitful act of the HAC and the state government and cautioned that it will resort to strong agitation anytime soon if the Bill is not tabled in the ongoing Assembly session.

ATSUM also warned that the HAC members should own responsibility and resign on moral ground for deceiving the tribal people of the state.

In the event of ATSUM resorting to agitation, the state government should be equally held accountable for failing to materialise the agreement of November 25, 2021, the students' body added.

ATSUM pointed out that Article 371 C of the Constitution of India read with the Manipur Legislative Assembly (Hill Areas Committee) Orders 1972 provided a scheme for separate administration of the hill areas of Manipur State through the HAC for Executive and Legislative affairs on scheduled subject matters.

The HAC through the Autonomous District Councils is empowered with provisions for administration of the hill areas as defined in the 1972 Presidential orders, it also said.

According to the ATSUM, since its enactment, the Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Councils Act 1971 has gone through several amendments yet the basic principle of developing the hill areas could not be achieved but has rather resulted in disproportionate development between hills and valley of Manipur during the said period as the principal Act, including all amendments, has served no purpose with no financial, executive and legislative autonomy.

As such, the tribal student body said that the HAC as empowered by paragraph 4(3),paragraph 7 and Rule 12A (the Third Scheduled) of the Manipur Legislative Assembly (HAC) orders 1972, unanimously recommended the 2021 Bill to provide more autonomy to the ADC as envisaged under the Indian Constitution to be tabled and passed into an Act in the previous Assembly session.

"But, the state government flatly denied the introduction of the Bill in the said session of the Assembly," the ATSUM added.

According to the ATSUM, despite the fact that the HAC on August 16, 2021 unanimously recommended a bill to replace the existing principal Act of 1972 with an aim to ensure equitable development in the state, it is learnt that the HAC is deviating from its previous position and opting on the new amendment of the Principal Act 1972 in the capacity of the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Councils (Sixth Amendment) Bill 2022 .

"This deceitful act of the HAC is a big blunder and a deception of the tribal people which is unforgivable and will remain as an irremovable stain in the history of tribal populace," the ATSUM also said.

The tribal student body further said that since the recommendation of the Bill 2021 by the HAC on August 16, 2021, the succeeding eleven months till today had consumed mammoth amount of energy and time of the tribal people demanding the introduction of the Bill in the Assembly session.

"However, the HAC seems to have taken the sentiments and wishes of the tribals into their own whims and fancies of pleasing the government," it added.

Importantly, the ATSUM stated that the state government has been clandestinely exploring every means of breaching the agreement inked with ATSUM, ANSAM and KSO-GHQ on November 25, 2021 whereby the state government agreed to table the HAC recommended Bill 2021 in the winter Assembly session of 2021."However, even after a lapse of 8 months, neither was the Winter Assembly session convened nor has the Bill been introduced in the first session of the 12th Manipur Legislative assembly which was held in March 2022," it also said.

Further, the state government is aggravating the wounded feeling of the tribal people by trying to impose a mere amendment to the Principal Act of 1971 rather than addressing the wish of the people for introduction of the Bill in the ensuing session of Assembly and enactment of the same into an act, the ATSUM alleged.

According to the student body, the HAC meeting notification issued on July 28 totally negated the wishes and desire of the tribals in the state.

"It also contradicts their own position and portraying themselves as spineless leaders," the ATSUM also said.

It further maintained "as a matter of fact the recommended ADC Bill 2021 carries the sentiments of tribals as the same was framed and recommended unanimously by the then members of HAC but sadly the incumbent HAC members are no longer in the position to uphold the same Bill and interest of the tribal people.


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