ILP imbroglio: NEPO observes 'black day', tribal bodies oppose

Silchar, August 31: In protest against the move of the Ibobi Government of Manipur to table a Bill and the possibility of its being passed in the emergency session of the Legislative Assembly, North East People’s Organization (NEPO) observed ‘black day’ and the tribal bodies All Tribal Students’ Union of Manipur (ATSUM), Kuki Students’ Organization (KSO) and the All Naga Students’ Association of Manipur (ANSAM) have strongly expressed their opposition to it.
Sadhan Purkayastha, working president of NEPO, said that the ‘black day’ today at the pedestal of Khudiram Bose statue here observed by the workers and supporters of the Organization was against the apprehension that three Bills to be passed by the Assembly of Manipur would take away the rights of the non Manipuri Indian people residing in Manipur engaged in different business. Describing the three Bills as unconstitutional and undemocratic, NEPO called upon the Government of Manipur to consider all its pros and cons.
According to information from the capital of Manipur, the two day emergency session of the Assembly has taken up the issue of ILP where three Bills related to the agreement signed between Joint Committee on ILP System (JCILPS) and the Government of Manipur was placed on August 28 and August 31 for threadbare discussions and to prepare the ground for its approval by the House. The three Bills that came up for discussion included The Protection of Manipur People’s Bill, The Manipur Land Revenue and Reforms Bill and Manipur Shops and Establishments Bill.
The information further says the three Bills are likely to be passed today. The Bills are aimed at curbing the unabated influx of migrants into the state. According to the 2011 Census, the population of the state is 28.56 lakh. The growth rate of population is found to be higher than that of India. Against this background, JCILPS has demanded, besides implementation of ILP, amendment to Manipur Land Reforms Act of 1960 and the Shops and Establishments Act of 1973 in order to protect and safeguard the interests of the indigenous people of the state.
Apprehending adverse impact of the ILP and other Bills, KSO, ANSAM and ATSUM have come out openly against the Bills. According to them, the ILP has been drafted at the dictate of the JCILPS and the tribal Assembly members have not been consulted. These bodies contended that hill tribes in the present Manipur were never ruled by the Manipur King. In fact, it was the British who brought the hill areas within the fold of Manipur. Even after Manipur was annexed following the Palace Uprising in 1891, the hill areas was not brought under the King, but kept under the President of Darbur.
The joint statement also highlighted it was only after the Kuki uprising during 1917 – 1919 that the British introduced new administrative agreement for the hill areas by dividing them into four sub-divisions. When Manipur was about to be conferred statehood in 1972, there was an apprehension that the interests of the tribal would be at stake. The Parliament to address the issue as a measure enacted Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council Act of 1971.
The joint statement apprehended that if the ILP system is implemented, the tribal people will be further marginalized in their ancestral home due to lack of political autonomy to safeguard their interests. Hence, it has been argued that the Bills if enacted into Acts would only lead to tension and conflict. The tribal bodies have called upon all the legislators to stand up and assert the rights of the tribals as empowered by Article 371 (C) of the Constitution of India and also impressed upon all the members of the Assembly to appreciate the situation of all the communities living in the present state of Manipur. Information from Imphal says that the three Bills passed by the Legislative Assembly today will now be sent to the Governor of the state for his approval. The tribal bodies in the meantime have called for bandh across the hill areas. (Source:SentinelAssam)

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