Thursday, November 12, 2015


As a member of some whatsapp groups, I witnessed the broad wishes of the groups for-
1. implementation of the provisions of the 6th schedule of the constitution of India in the hill districts of the state; and
2. insertion of specific clauses in the 3 Bills (The Protection of Manipur People Bill, 2015; The Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Amendment Bill, 2015; and The Manipur Shops and Establishment (2nd Amendment) Bill, 2015, passed by the Manipur Assembly on 31.8.2015 in the interest of the tribals.

As I go through the comprehensive Charter of Demands as brought out by the Joint Action Committee against Anti-Tribal Bills (JAC), I like just it for specific reasons like-
Deletion of deceptive phrase:-
The disgusting phrase of 'who have contributed to the collective social, cultural and economic life of Manipur' is sought to be deleted.
Shifting of the cut-off year from 1951 to 1981:-
The proposal for shifting the cut-off year for citizenship of 1951 (as originally intended) by 30 years later to 1981 as proposed by the JAC is a welcome step. Some of my group members broadly want insertion of specific clauses in the Bills to safeguard the interests of the tribals. The demand of JAC, if accepted, would greatly lighten the mood of the Manipur tribals.
 Except for some who crossed the porous and dubious borders and settled in Manipur post 1981, for who the sheet of doubt regarding the possibility of putting the bill (if amended as demanded), into implementation is practically gone. Unlike in the post independence period, by the year 1981 Government offices had already been updated and reliable record might have already been maintained.
MLR &LR Act:-
One matter which hurts me whenever elders and scholars relate the issue of land, is the fact that the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act, 1960 (MLR&LR Act) has since been surreptitiously extended into the hill areas as a result of which certain villages in Churachandpur, Mao-Sub division of Jiribam, Sadar Hills of and Tamenglong districts have already been included within the purview of the Act.
So many villages in Imphal Ease, Imphal West, Bishnupur and Thoubal districts might have already been under occupation by the non-tribals.
The Charter of Demands want that the Principal Act of 1960 be restored and all gazette notifications issued there under cancelled. God bless the JAC convenors! We, the people are two steps behind!
Money Bills:-
Besides the Charter has boldly highlighted how the Hill Areas Committee is bypassed by the Government by deliberately classifying contentious bills as money bills. Thums up to JAC!

Even as I rejoice over the ingenious work of the JAC, certain queries crop up in my mind looking for answers.
(i) What if there is no response from the Government side in five days?
(ii) In the event of the year 1981 or 1951 whatever, being adopted as the cut off year for citizenship, how would the Government arrange to deport migrants?
(iii) Does the Government have plans to set up border posts along the Indo-Myanmar border areas?

Apart from the above it is imperative to put the following specific demands:-
(i) Annulment of the First Information Reports (FIRs) filed against the arsonists and due compensation for the houses of the legislators burned down in the wake of the passage of the 3 Bills on 31.08.2015.
(ii) Re-construction of Zonal Education Office, Employment Office and Sub-Divisional Office of Churachandpur and preservation of each and every Government document in the speediest manner.

Besides there are also aspirations amidst the users of whatsapp and facebook to-
(a) get the underground cadres covered under the Suspension of Operation (SoO) agreement signed by the local undergrounds withe the Indian Government absorbed in the existing Indian paramilitary forces;
(b) declare 31st August as Tribal Uprising Day and holiday observed every year;
(c) relocate the police station in Churachandpur somewhere else for burial of the martyrs and conversion and development of the existing plot as Martyr's Park. This might be done after fulfillment of all other else.

It's been the aspiration of each and every tribal of Manipur to have the provisions of the 6th Schedule of the Constitution implemented in the hill districts of the state. Some people in the legal fraternity suggest that the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council Act, 1971, in its present form, be completely repealed and a fresh Bill drafted providing for legislative, judicial and administrative power.
Besides personally I believe that the District Councils having control over the police will give a complimentary solution to the problems of the tribals.
The Government also need to have a re-look at the representation of people from the scheduled tribes community in the work force of Manipur Assembly Secretariat and the distribution of such staff across the various tribal communities;

As of now all efforts at the centre and state levels have not yielded positive results. As such a campaign through electronic media seems to be the only option left to keep the flames burning.
Since the Charter of Demands issued by the JAC on November 9, 2015 specified 5 days time for the Government to make a move, it might be wise to let that period pass before such a campaign is initiated.
If and when the specified 5 days expires without any sign of the Government showing honesty, it might be expedient to launch campaigns through electronic media by sending pictures and video clips to the various media houses and offices of executive heads of countries and organizations including the United Nations Organization (UNO)