JAC PRESS RELEASE
Lamka, June 7, 2016
The Joint Action Committee Against Anti-Tribal Bills (JAC), in its meeting today at Imphal with the Outer Manipur Tribals’ Forum (OMTF) – a tribal apex body of the Hmar Inpui, Mizo People Convention, Thadou Inpi, United Naga Council and Zomi Council – jointly resolved to impose a 10-day economic blockade on all National Highways passing through the tribal territories of Manipur, as well as a ban on all ongoing national projects in the tribal areas starting from the midnight of June 9, 2016 till the midnight of June 19, 2016. This is in protest against the prolonged ill treatment of the tribal people that has recently been highlighted through the three anti-tribal bills passed by the Manipur Legislative Assembly on August 31, 2015. The JAC would like to humbly request each and every tribal community in Manipur to take active part as a vigilante and ensure the effective execution of the said blockade.
At this juncture, the JAC would like to reiterate that the tribal people will not settle for anything less than a permanent and sustainable solution, and shall continue the fight for tribal identity and land rights till a solution that is acceptable to the tribal people is reached.
The JAC would also like to bring to the notice of the tribal populace that in addition to the three anti-tribal bills there are three other prominent demands by the dominant Valley community in the pipeline which are perceived as the 4th, 5th and 6th anti-tribal ‘bills’ that have the potential to be more detrimental to the rights of the tribal people, viz., the Manipur Population Commission, the Manipur Land Reforms Commission and the demand for inclusion of Meiteis in the Scheduled Tribe list.
The above three demands are the exclusive designs of the dominant Valley community to grab tribal lands and undermine tribal rights, and are also an integral part of the communal Manipur Government’s long-term policy of subjugation, marginalization and exclusion of the tribal people; hence, the demands shall be opposed with the same obligation and commitment.
The JAC is disheartened to learn that some tribal MLAs participated in the ‘All Political Party’ delegation to New Delhi to advocate the sinister design of the communal Manipur Government against the will and approval of the people they represent. It has also been learnt from a reliable source that Sangaikot Block TD office is planned to be inaugurated on June 11, 2016 by a certain tribal MLA despite the JAC’s boycott on all tribal MLAs. Such agonizing and unremorseful betrayal by the tribal MLAs on their own people is unjustifiable and unpardonable. May it be noted that neither the JAC nor the general public shall be held responsible for any untoward incident if the boycott is not respected by the tribal MLAs, bureaucrats or their sympathisers.
The Chief Minister’s confession to the JAC’s 18-member delegation on December 29, 2015 that the three anti-tribal bills are the agenda of CorCom, an umbrella of proscribed Meitei militant groups, followed by the publication in the Indian Express newspaper dated June 2, 2016 of a photograph of the key leader of the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit Systems (JCILPS) taking an oath of allegiance with the flag of a proscribed Meitei militant group, the subsequent issuance of a ‘Wanted’ tag on the JCILPS leader by the Manipur Police, and the Chief Minister-led ‘All Political Party’ delegation being sent to Delhi to pressurize the Union Government to give President’s assent to the three anti-tribal bills clearly point to only one thing – that the Manipur Government, Non-State actor (CorCom and the various Meitei militant groups under the umbrella) and Valley-based civil society organisations have always been working hand-in-glove, and that the State and the civil society organisations of Imphal Valley are merely agents of a conglomerate of various outlawed militant organisations. It is therefore more imperative than ever that tribal people.