Tribal bodies decry, indefinite blockade on
Source: The Sangai Express / Newmai News Network

Imphal, April 23 2010: Following the Government of Manipur's Cabinet decision to go ahead and conduct elections to the Autonomous District Councils in Manipur hill districts in the month of May under the 3rd Amendment of 2008, the All Naga Students' Association,Manipur (ANSAM) has declared today in Senapati that the ongoing economic blockade would be an indefinite one from April 24 midnight along the two National Highways.

The current agitation ends in the midnight of April 24 which was extended from April 17 midnight.

Today's ANSAM's announcement of its next move is followed by a demand by Manipur Tribal Joint Action Committee Against Election Under Unwanted District Council Act (MT-JAC-AEUUDCA) asking all the tribal MLAs and Ministers to resign the day the Election Commission of the State announces the schedules of the polls to the ADCs.

The Tribal JAC also said that the very day of the notification from the state Election Commission of the schedules for polls will be marked by the tribals of Manipur as 'Black-Day' in the history of the tribals in Manipur.

In the meantime, the United Naga Council (UNC) informed Newmai News Network tonight that in its meeting today with all the Naga frontal organizations and aspiring candidates from different political parties, had a co-ordination meeting and discussed the matter.

"After thorough deliberation on the imposed Legislation (3rd Amendment) Act 2008 which threatens the very existence of the tribal, the meeting endorsed to re-affirm the Naga Peoples Consultative Meeting decision to reject the 3rd Amendment Act 2008 and demand to defer enforcement of the Act and demanded to review and nullify the 2008 Act," said the UNC source.

Meanwhile, ANSAM informed Newmai News Network late tonight that while statements of support are flooding in from various mass-based organizations viz.

Kuki Students' Organization (KSO), All Tribal Students' Union Manipur, Manipur (ATSUM), Tribal Youth Council and United North-east Tribal Village Chiefs' Council in support of the ongoing agitation launched by All Naga Students' Association, Manipur (ANSAM), the remark of Chief Minister of Manipur O Ibobi Singh branding the agitation as 'group of people with vested interest' is nothing but an utterance with communal tone and an insult to the tribal people.

"Inspite of strong resentment from tribal people, the Cabinet decision to go ahead with ADC election is an act of suppressing peoples' right and brutalization of human rights," ANSAM said.

Notwithstanding, to uphold desire of tribals and to protect their rights, the All Naga Students' Manipur shall continue to enforce the ongoing economic blockade from midnight of April 24 indefinitely, with inter-State buses and load or unloaded trucks within its purview.

And in the event of any eventuality the State Government shall be held solely responsible," ANSAM warned.

Meanwhile, the Manipur tribal JAC against the elections of ADC said, "The bold decision spelt out by the Chief Minister, O Ibobi Singh, was seemingly smart and statesman-like, but not smart enough for the simple reason that he self-contradicted when he said that Central Government has been reminding him repeatedly to hold early election of the Autonomous District Council .

But what about the repeated inquiries from the Central Government since 2002, which sought explanation of the rider 'with certain local adjustments and amendments'".

It also questioned why O.Ibobi Singh delayed the processes for extension of Sixth schedule of the Constituion of India in the tribal hill areas of Manipur, despite the fact that Sixth schedule have been recommended by several Cabinets as many as 3 (three) times to the Central Government.

"Instead of replying the inquiries from the Home Ministry, why did he make the Governor's ordinance for the 3rd Amendment Act, 2008, thereby bypassing the Hill Areas Committee's comment and later on coercively forming a select committee of the House, whereby the power and authority of the HAC was seriously jeopardized," it said.