The Manipur Government has circulated a draft Bill namely The Manipur Regulations of Non-Local People Bill, 2016 on August 9th 2016, to replace The Protection of Manipur People Bill, 2015. It has sought suggestions and comments from the stakeholders which may be submitted latest by 24th August 2016.
A perusal of the proposed Bill indicates several provisions which directly or indirectly infringe upon the rights of the Tribals of Manipur. The Bill on the whole appears to be an attempt to uprooting the Tribals from their land and diminish their basic rights.
For and on behalf of the rights of tribals of Manipur
Tribal Rights Vigil, Manipur (TRVM)
The Additional Chief Secretary (Home)
Government of Manipur
Secretariat, South Block, Imphal-795001.
Subject: Suggestions Relating The Manipur Regulation of Non-Local People Bill, 2016.
In response to the public information of the Government of Manipur dated August 09,2016 inviting suggestions on the Bill cited above, the following suggestions may kindly be taken into consideration:-
(A). That, the Manipur Legislative Assembly had passed three Anti-Tribal Bills on 31st August, 2015 which were opposed by the tribal people in all the Hill Districts of the State. The State police forces opened live bullets at the protesters in Churachandpur District which resulted in the death of eight adult protesters and one minor, who were conferred Tribal Martyrs by the Tribals of the State. The last rites of the Tribal Martyrs have not been performed as the State Government has so far not resolved the issues amicably. This attempt by the State Government to introduce another Bill to replace the Protection of Manipur People Bill, 2015 (rejected by the President of India) is a total disregard to the slain nine tribal martyrs who awaits justice for almost a year. Therefore, the state government coming out with a new Bill is not justifiable and cannot be condoned.
(B). The proposed The Manipur Regulation of Non-Local People Bill, 2016 directly infringe upon the sentiment, ethos and rights of the Hill People of Manipur as a whole. Few instances of this claim, amongst many others, are given below:-
(a). The proposed Bill attempts to introduce common civil code for the whole state of Manipur bypassing the autonomy of the Hill Areas and ignoring the ethnic affinity of the Hills from the Valleys as safeguarded under Article 371C of the Constitution;
(b). The use of the electoral rolls for 1972 for the purpose of determining the "Local People" or "Non-Local People" of Manipur is ambiguous since enlisting of names in electoral rolls have never been mandatory nor ever indicative of native people. Such a provision is subject to a wide range of interpretation irrespective of the explanatory provisos made in the proposed Bill;
(c). The proposed Bill is silent on tribal ways of administration and governance. The proposed legislation aims for systematic de-recognition of tribal customary practices, tribal land owning system, tribal chieftainship, tribal culture, identity and way of life and eventually would confer this power upon the Director; and
(d). The proposed Bill is detrimental to equilibrium of socio - economic and cultural comity of the Hills and Valleys, which decimate the plurality of Manipur State having tribals and non-tribals with their separate and exclusive identities.
2. In view of the above points in the proposed Bill, above many others, it is reiterated that the same yardstick cannot be applied to the Hills (Outer Manipur) and Valleys (Inner Manipur) of the State. While the tribal communities of the Outer Manipur have been waging a protracted struggle for extension of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution in the Hill Areas of the State, It is quite striking that there is no mention of special provisions for the Hill Areas in the proposed Bill.
3. Therefore, the proposed the Manipur Regulation of Non-Local People Bill, 2016 may be aborted and above all else, justice delivered to the tribal Martyrs.
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