Zomi Council Press Statement - 18 June 2016

Office of the
Churachandpur: Manipur

June 18, 2016

The Zomi Council, the apex body of the Zomi tribes - Gangte Tribe Council (GTC), Kom Union Manipur (KUM), Mate Tribe Council (MTC), Paite Tribe Council (PTC), Simte Tribe Council (STC), Tedim Chin Union (TCU), Thangkhal Peoples' Organization (TPO), United Zou Organization (UZO), and Vaiphei Peoples' Council (VPC), is pleased to note that the President of India has withheld assent to the Protection of Manipur People Bill, 2015, most commonly known as PMP Bill, from becoming an act. The same was conveyed to the Government of Manipur on May 11, 2016. This clearly shows beyond a shadow of doubt that the Government of India, specifically the Ministry of Home Affairs, has meticulously and minutely examined the Bills purely based on the merit of its legal and constitutional validity and viability. The Council repose its full faith and confidence in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, that it would scrutinise the other two pending Bills, namely: Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (7th Amendment) Bill, 2015 and the Manipur Shops and Establishment (2nd Amendment) Bill, 2015 on its merit, legality, procedural nature and constitutional provisions taking into consideration the concerns of the tribal people and not to be swayed by emotional appeal and the pressure tactics adopted by political parties operating in the state of Manipur.

The Zomi Council is also delighted that the Government of India is aware of the immense hardship faced by the tribal people of Manipur, and as a step toward solution to our long-standing problems had initiated political talks with the United People's Front (UPF) and Kuki National Organization (KNO), who are under Suspension of Operation (SoO) since August 2008. The preliminary political talks which was held in New Delhi on June 15, 2016 at the initiative of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, was a manifestation of the sincerity and seriousness of the National Democratic Alliance Government under the dynamic leadership of Shri Narendra Modi to solve the protracted tribal issue in the interest of peace and development. The Council express its hope that the tripartite talks involving Ministry of Home Affairs and the Government of Manipur with the Hmar, Kuki and Zomi armed groups under the umbrella of United People's Front (UPF) and Kuki National Organization (KNO) would continue till an honourable and logical conclusion is reached.

The Zomi Council deeply appreciate the keen sense of wisdom, maturity and farsightedness demonstrated by the United People's Front (UPF) leadership in placing an all-inclusive, issue-based, non-communal agenda before the Government of India, taking into account the enormity, sensitivity and susceptibility of the issue before us. The Council understand that the United People's Front's agenda was taken in the larger interest of the tribal populace, especially the Hmar, Kuki, Mizo and Zomi ethnic groups. The Council firmly endorse the demand placed by the United People's Front (UPF) and appeal to the Government of India to work out a durable and workable political solution at the earliest.

The Zomi Council also would like to appeal to all our people to stand united as we are at a crossroad which will incontrovertibly shape the future. The impasse we are going through presents a rare opportunity to chart our own course, and a destiny of our own making. We must not allow our efforts to diminish. It will require a lot of determination, and patience. And above all, an unwavering unified effort. If not, we are at risk of squandering this rare moment in history.

General Secretary