FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
SILCHAR, Sept 6: In a joint meeting convened on last Thursday in Haflong to discuss the issues plaguing the indigenous hill tribes of Manipur, leaders and members of Indigenous Peoples’ Forum (IPF) of North Cachar Hills, North Cachar Hills Indigenous Student’s Forum (NCHISF), Indigenous Women Forum (IWF), Indigenous Village Chief Forum (IVCF) and the affiliated apex bodies of the Zeme, Hmar, Kuki, Vaiphei, Biate, Rongmei, Hrangkhol and other tribal communities condemned the steps taken by the Manipur state administration to introduce the three Bills mely Protection of Manipur People Bills 2015, Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (7th Amendment) Bill 2015 and Manipur Shop and Establishment (2nd Amendment) Bill 2015, in a special session of the state Assembly on August 28 without taking the hill tribes under their confidence.
The leaders said that the declaration of the Bills by the Manipur Legislative Assembly was done without the prior consent of the hill tribes of the state. The steps taken by the Ibobi Singh led Manipur Government is a gross violation and infringement upon rights of the indigenous tribal communities. The state administration has also violated the rules and provisions of the United tions Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous People Article no.26, 1 and 2. The members felt it is part of a conspiracy to exclude the hill tribes from their rights and benefits in their own land.
The members pointed out that under no circumstances, the Government of Manipur could be allowed to infringe upon the rights of the indigenous hill tribes. They urged upon the authorities concerned to adopt fair and just legislations which shall be accountable to all people of Manipur whether it be the communities living in the hills or those in the valley areas.
The members further reiterated their demand for an inquiry by the Centre on the merciless killings of the innocent civilians who opposed the declaration of the Bills in the larger interest of the state by the Manipur police force and immediate restoration of peace and normalcy in the state. They also urged upon the state administration to take positive steps against the deteriorating law and order situation in the state.
The leaders and members also adopted a resolution to convey their condolence messages to the families of the innocent victims who lost their lives in the fight against the contentious legislations passed by the state Assembly of Manipur on August 31. The members of the indigenous communities added to say that they stand united against any attempt or move to aliete the indigenous hill tribes of northeast India from their own land.
The members further urged upon the government to stop the step-motherly treatment to any particular community living in the state. They also cautioned the Manipur administration not to follow the footsteps of Assam Government, who in spite of the wide protest from the indigenous hill tribes forcibly changed the me of North Cachar Hills to Dima Hasao on March 30, 2010. As a result the indigenous communities who comprise over 67% of the total population of the district have been left with no other altertive but to launch a movement for creation of a separate autonomous district under Article 244 (2) and 275 (1) of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India.