Conflicting response from hills on ADC polls >
Black Day declared, PM's intervention sought

Source: The Sangai Express / Newmai News Network

Imphal, April 27 2010: After meeting Governor Gurbachan Jagat today over the Autonomous District Councils election issue, the Manipur Tribal JAC Against Election Under Unwanted District Council Act (Manipur tribal JAC) has announced that April 26 will be marked as the "Black-Day" in the history of the tribal people of Manipur while the All Manipur Tribal Union (AMTU) has dispatched a missive to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh seeking the Union Home Ministry's intervention to rectify the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Councils Act, 2008 .

The Manipur Tribal JAC said that since the State Government has ignored the tribal peoples' sentiments by notifying the detailed schedule on April 26 to hold the elections to the ADCs, the day will be marked as the Black-Day in the history of the Manipur tribals.

Meanwhile, the Manipur tribal JAC against the ADC polls under the present Act said that it had briefed the Governor at Raj Bhavan today regarding their displeasure on the move of Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh for "manipulatively" announcing the election schedule of the ADCs to be held under the 3rd Amendment Act of 2008 instead of the long pending process of Sixth Schedule, despite three recommendations to the Centre for its implementation.

In response, the Ministry of Home Affairs had sought an explanation of the rider "with certain local adjustment and amendments", but it has not been replied even as yet, thereby insulting the tribal people.

The JAC also told the Governor that in the Manipur valley there Nagar Panchayats under 11th Schedule, Imphal Municipality Council under 12th Schedule and also the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution whereas there is none in the Manipur hill tribal areas, hence the demand for the 6th Schedule of the Constitution of India in the tribal hill areas of Manipur, which His Excellency seriously took note of.

During their meeting with Gurbachan Jagat, the Manipur tribal expressed its opposition to the ensuing election process of the ADCs and pointed out that the tribal body would fight tooth and nail.

It then said that the Governor appealed the JAC to go along with the election process, and to make all the necessary amendments after the elections are over.

However, according to the JAC, it had made a counter appeal by asserting that the State Government could have done several amendments during the last 20 years, which was consequent upon the Hill Areas Committee's Resolution " No Sixth Schedule, no Council election".

"What the tribal people basically need is an early elections under 6th Schedule of the Constitution, but not the toothless 3rd Amendment Act, 2008 of the State Government.

The JAC would continue to fight on till the aspirations of the tribal people are achieved, and anything short of 6th Schedule of the Constitution would not serve the purpose of tribal people of the State," the Manipur Tribal JAC fumed.

Meanwhile, the All Manipur Tribal Union (AMTU) in its missive signed by its general secretary Romeo Bundon to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh mentioned that the Manipur Hill Autonomous District Council Act 1971 was passed by the Parliament to protect the tribal people from exploitation by the majority community on the event of granting statehood to the Manipur in 1972."The unit principle and spirit of the Act was to safeguard the marginalized community with distinctive of Article 371(C).The salient feature of the Act is involvement and participation of tribal in the administration and governance by the tribal alone without interference by the major community of the state.

In Manipur there are six Autonomous District Councils which are separate, autonomous and independent in nature in the administration and governance.

But lately, the hill autonomous district councils have been politically distorted and hastened as a mere state made by interfering at every possible way in the form of administration, legislation and management," said the memorandum.

The memorandum then stated that in subsequent consequences the state government is persistently indulging to enforce the reservation quota of the general, SC, ST, OBC etc where in the district council, no such principle is to be applied on the simple reason that the allotted district council is meant for the benefit of tribal marginalized community.

"This is the principle of having Manipur Hill Area Autonomous District Council.

These are the main factors as to why the Tribal people of Manipur opposed the present Scheduled District Council election thus pledging the state government to defer and for amendment of the District Council Act 2008 under a special ordinance", it mentioned.

Being the condition as such, it is desirable and call of the demand for direct intervention by the Union Home Affairs to specify the salient features of the Act and prompt directive of the state government is the call of the hour in order to avoid any social pandemonium in the state, the AMTU said.