TODAY -

Manipurís bane: Inter-community contradictions
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: September 02 2015 -



This is indeed tragic. Six precious lives have been cut short since yesterday after the Protection of Manipur Peoples Bill 2015, the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (Seventh Amendment) Bill 2015 and the Manipur Shops and Establishments (Second Amendment) Bill 2015 were unanimously passed by the Manipur Legislative Assembly.

The three Bills sparked mob violence all across Churachandpur district and some parts of Sadar Hills.

The mob violence was not any spontaneous reaction and this was reflected unmistakably when the mobs targeted only a particular class of people and their properties.

Their targets were elected representatives viz; MLAs, Ministers and the MP belonging to a particular community.

In fact, houses of all the MLAs elected from Churachandpur district and two MLAs elected from Sadar Hills were ransacked and set afire last night.

The protesters also confronted with security forces and four people were killed in police firing last night and two others were killed this afternoon.

This is a tragedy for the whole State. It is still hard to fathom what fuelled such massive, violent reactions.

The answer can be ascertained only through peaceful dialogue and negotiation. But one thing is clear.

The Bills have invoked a deep sense of insecurity among a sizeable section of the Stateís population.

The Government must acknowledge this and act accordingly. We are afraid if the Government is caught between the proverbial devil and the deep blue sea.

On one side stand the champions of indigenous people and on the opposite side stand staunch advocates of tribal rights.

But championing the cause of indigenous people and protection of tribal rights need not be necessarily contradictory.

Tribal people are very much the indigenous people of the land.

If there is cohesion and coordination, we believe, protection of indigenous peopleís interests and tribal rights can go hand in hand.

Unfortunately, this is not the case as is evident in the violent protest against the three Bills passed by the State Assembly.

Perhaps, championing the cause of indigenous people is not the core issue with those people opposing the Bills.

Seemingly, it is the Bills themselves which are problematic and creating a deep sense of insecurity among a sizeable section of the Stateís population.

If it is the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (Seventh Amendment) Bill 2015, the Government has clarified that it would not infringe upon the interest of hill people in any manner.

It was also made clear that the particular Bill, when transformed into an Act, would be implemented only in the four valley districts of the State.

If this is the case, the Bill can do no harm to anyone. But all these clarifications are not convincing enough as indicated by the relentless violent protest movements.

Perhaps, the problem lies with the Protection of Manipur Peoples Bill 2015 which adopted 1951 as the cut off base year for identification of indigenous people of Manipur.

Whatever may be the case, violence cannot be a solution.

Now it is very clear that there is a deep contradiction between those who have been demanding the three Bills and those who have raised strong objections against them.

Contradictions and incompatibility should not be allowed to ruin the socio-political fabric called Manipur.

All parties must keep the room for negotiation open and all groups must be ready to reconcile whatever differences that exist among the indigenous people of the land.

Each and every community should acknowledge the genuine concerns of each other. Communities need to negotiate directly with or without the Government as mediator.

Collectively, the different communities can definitely explore a middle path for protection of all indigenous people of the land without impinging upon the rights and interests of any community.



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