TODAY -

Restoring Confidence
- Hueiyen Lanpao Editorial :: September 08 2015 -



The recent decision of the four Naga People’s Front (NPF) MLAs to resign has triggered the speculation that most legislators representing the tribal communities in the Manipur Legislative Assembly may also follow their steps.

MLAs L Dikho (48-Mao A/C); Samuel Risom (44-Ukhrul A/C); ST Victor Nunghlung (41-Chandel A/C) and Dr V Alexander Pao (47-Karong A/C) in a joint resignation letter forwarded to the Assembly Speaker said they have tendered resignation as an act of protest against the “anti-tribal and anti-Naga attitude” of the Government of Manipur for clearing the path of The Protection of Manipur People Bill, 2015; The Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (7th Amendment) Bill, 2015 and The Manipur Shops and Establishments (2nd Amendment) Bill, 2015 and even the the resolution adopted by the Assembly on the “Indo-Naga Peace Accord.”

While stating the reasons for their resignation, the MLAs fear that The Protection of Manipur People Bill, 2015 will treat Nagas, other tribes from Nagaland and other States in the Region as non-Manipuris and compel them to seek Inner Line Permits to enter Manipur.

The NPF pointed out that such legislation when it becomes a reality would be “squarely contrary to the very spirit of the agenda on the table of the Indo-Naga Peace talks” and alleged that the State Government was attempting to drastically alter “the customary land holding system in the Hill Districts”.

Pointing out that the Constitutional mandate of consulting the Hill Areas Committee constituted under Article 371C of the Constitution of India on all these measures was casually given a go by, the four NPF MLAs alleged that the Government is in “urgency to colonize Hill Areas and to strangulate the voice of the people and their representatives of the Hill Districts”.

With such a kind of political posturing, it is the duty of the State Government now to focus on convincing not only the MLAs but the entire tribal communities and allay their fear.

It is not enough for the Government to say that the Bills passed by the Assembly would not harm the interests of these communities.

Rather, the Government should have the teeth and of course convincing logic to dispel garbled interpretation.

If the ruling dispensation fails to perform its duty, it can only wait for another long drawn turmoil based on trust deficit.

At the same time, those who have mastered the art of democratic formalism as a ritual should also note that there is more to the procedural aspects of dealing with issues.

Along the way, no one should forget the principle of seeking consensus rather than unwittingly manufacturing the same.

For restoring confidence in the rule of the law, all players have to understand the art and primacy of dealing with primordial distrust.

As argued elsewhere, there will be no pain in truthfully debating points of contention in public instead of browbeating democratic decisions.



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