MEMORANDUM submitted by JAC Churachandpur

To,
Shri Rajnath Singh,
Hon’ble Union Minister Ministry of Home Affairs
Government of India, New Delhi

Subject: Appeal for immediate political settlement with SoO Groups with Government viz, Kuki National Organisation( KNO) and United People’s Front (UPF) and the withdrawal of three anti-tribal Bills
             
Hon’ble Sir,
We, the Joint Action Committee (JAC), Churachandpur, in solidarity with all the hill tribes of Manipur, like to draw your attention on the present hill people’s movement in the wake of protest escalated by the passing of three unconstitutional anti-tribal bills viz. (i) The Protection of Manipur People Bill, 2015, (ii) The Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (Seventh Amendment) Bill, 2015. (iii) The Manipur Shops and Establishments (Second Amendment) Bill, 2015 in the Manipur State Assembly on 31stAugust 2015. This is for your kind consideration and immediate action.
    1. : The three bills were passed following sustained protests in the Manipur valley districts demanding the implementation of Inner Line Permit (ILP) system for the State. It directly infringes the existing constitutional safeguard for the tribal in the ‘hill areas’ of Manipur in relation to land-ownership and the infiltration of non-tribal population in tribal areas. Considering the way in which the Meiteis are eying the lands of the tribal people, the three bills were passed in the Assembly in great haste. The informed tribal students (ATSUM) had called a state-wide bandh against the passing of the bills the day before they were actually passed. In so doing, the Manipur Assembly had gone against the Constitution of India. It by-passed the Hill Areas Committee (HAC), comprising of all MLAs from the Hill areas, set up under Article 371C of Indian Constitution. This provision protects tribal interests and therefore its concurrence to any bill passed in the Assembly is mandatory for all legislation affecting tribal areas and tribal rights.
    2. : As the security of land is central to the psyche of the tribal people the passing of the three bills which had opened up tribal land to non-tribal people immediately sparked off protest across the hills. Churachandpur town, the second city of Manipur, eventually became the epicentre of the movement. As our representatives in the Assembly had not defended us in the Assembly the emotionally charged protesters attacked the houses of the tribal MLAs. Instead of consoling the agitated masses the state government immediately sent its reckless, communal and bloodthirsty security forces called “Commandos” in Manipur to suppress the mass protest. The reckless state security forces freely used the live bullets to disperse the mass. This resulted into the death of nine tribal people and more than 50 of them were seriously injured.
This is not the first time the Manipur Government had used its brute security forces against the hill tribes. Cases of killing tribal protesters at Ukhrul (in 2014), Mao Gate in Senapati District (2010) and at Moreh (2007) are few cases of brutality of state security forces against the tribal. In a clear case of daylight repression brutality of state security forces has become so unbecoming of any democratic government. Your Honour might have seen various reports in the national media and social media networks testifying to the brutality of the state forces in dealing with the situation.
  1. Manipur State Government is for Meiteis, not for tribal: Under a sustained pressured from the Meitei-dominated valley people of Manipur, the passing of the three bills has reflected the real intention of the valley people, and supported by the State Government, not only to expel what they called “Non Manipur People” but more importantly to expel the tribal people from their ancestral homeland and to grab their lands which have been so far protected by the Constitution of India. It also shows a clear case of the present Ibobi Government’s incompetency to govern the state and to maintain peace among several sections of the population.
  2. The dead bodies are waiting for Central Government assurance in writing that anti-tribal bills are withdrawn and political dialogue should begin with KNO-UPF for permanent political solution: Today is the 21st day after the nine tribal “martyrs” have been brutally killed by state security forces. Since that day their bodies are waiting for the Central Government to provide us a satisfactory solution to the demands of the hill people for a separate political settlement for the hill people. They will remain there until this demand is fulfilled. Till you come to this place there was a total absence of the Indian State except in the form of police and armies. The gravity of the situation is such that the disappointed masses are more and more bend to go violent way. Most of the government establishments such as offices, schools, hospitals, banks and so on under threat. It was the women groups who had to keep guarded all these government establishments day in and day out so that they did not fall into the hands of the disappointed masses. Shops, educational institutions, offices, hospitals and various other institutions are in complete shut-down since the incidence had taken place on 31 August. People feel insecure, disappointed and distrust to any state interventions. Violent protest can erupt anytime unless the Central Government give us an assurance in writing that the three anti-tribal bills will be withdrawn and an immediate step should be arranged for a political dialogue with KNO-UPF for a permanent political settlement for our people. Your honour is provided here a brief history of discrimination and marginality of the hill people by the Manipur and dominant Meitei people.

2. HISTORICITY OF THE IMBROGLIO
The hill areas of present Manipur was outside the ambit of Manipur kingdom during pre-colonial period. The hill tribes of Manipur, as also to our close kinsmen in neighbouring states, had been, until the British occupation, lived as independent nations away from the control of all valley kingdoms in the region such as in Manipur, Assam, Burma and Bengal. We have ruled ourselves through a unique tribal authority system. Voluminous amount of colonial records and that of the court chronicles of the valley kingdoms in the region are testimony to such historical fact (please see Annexure-01 for details). 
The passage of the three Bills by Manipur Legislative Assembly on the 31st August, 2015 and the reactions that follow on are the culmination of the accumulated endemic, mutual distrust and suspicions of the hill tribes and valley dwellers. The three Bills recently passed are unconstitutional and cannot be enforced in areas under the jurisdiction of Autonomous District Council (ADCs) and some pockets that are amalgamated with Valley District, without the consent of the tribal, in Manipur( please see Annexure-02 for details).
Separation of tribal areas from Manipur State for a separate administrative and political arrangements for the hill tribes under the Constitution of India is the only solution for peace and security in the region. It is under the circumstances narrated above that the hill tribes had finally resolved that the only solution for their future growth and progress as to the safety and security of their lives and property as to their security of their ancestral land and territory as to the preservation of their culture and tradition is to detach themselves from the Meitei dominated Manipur State. The best way to do this is the creation of a separate State for the Kuki groups of tribes and the amalgamation of Naga group of tribes into Nagalim. The hill areas of Manipur consist of 20,089 sq. km. (almost three times the size of Sikkim which has only 7,096 sq km or six times the size of Goa which has 3,702 sq km) and a population of 9,02740 persons (again almost two times the population of Sikkim which has 6,10,577 persons and a little short of Mizoram which has 10,36,115 persons). While the small hill states like Mizoram, Sikkim and Goa are doing quite well in HDI and other developmental indexes there is a very strong hope for the hill tribes of Manipur that if they governed themselves independently from dominant Meiteis they would be in better position to scale into greater height toward progress.

OUR DEMAND
Looking forward for your favourable action, WE, the Joint Action Committee, Churachandpur District, in solidarity with our brothers in Manipur, therefore, demand:
  1. Immediate political settlement with KNO-UPF leaders for separate political administrative arrangements for our people within Indian Constitution
  2. Immediate withdrawal of the three anti-tribal bills
    1. Memorandum submitted to the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India by JAC
    2. Memorandum submitted to the Hon’ble Governor of Manipur by JAC
The nine death bodies will wait its honourable funeral until the Central Government gives its assurance in writing that the above three demands will be fulfilled in time bound manner.                       Your honour may kindly consider our appeal as a call of do or die situation.
Thanking you in anticipation.
Yours sincerely,
(H. MANGCHINKHUP)
Chief Co-ordinator
(LALKHOHAO CHONGLOI)
Co-ordinator Secy. (Admin)
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ANNEXTURE - I

HISTORICAL DISCRIMINATION OF TRIBAL PEOPLE AND THE APARTHEID OF MANIPUR STATE

  1. The hill areas of present Manipur was outside the ambit of Manipur kingdom during pre-colonial period: The hill tribes of Manipur, as also to our close kinsmen in neighbouring states, had been, until the British occupation, lived as independent nations away from the control of all valley kingdoms in the region such as in Manipur, Assam, Burma and Bengal. We have ruled ourselves through a unique tribal authority system. Voluminous amount of colonial records and that of the court chronicles of the valley kingdoms in the region are testimony to such historical fact. The British Government of India had tagged, without consulting any of the tribes, our ancestral territory some parts into the British Empire and some parts to certain valley kingdoms in the region. The case of Manipur hills is no exception to this general contour of British colonial expansion and annexation. It is a recorded fact that Manipur kingdom, until the Burmese occupation, extended to the present valley of Manipur. The surrounding hill areas were virtually outside the ambit of Manipur’s rule although they occasionally raided the nearby hill villages for slaves and booties and on few occasions invaded the Burmese or Cachari territory marching through certain routes in the hills. There was not a single record to prove that Manipur kingdom ever had conquered the hills and ruled over them. Instead, the hill warriors had occasionally joined the Manipur’s forces in its war against rivals as an independent political entity and purely on political ground. The hills were always considered by the Manipur kingdom as the abode of power and hence maintained peaceful and symbiotic relationship instead of being the “subjects” of the Manipuri kingdom. Peaceful co-existence as different and independent political entities was central to the hill-valley relationship in pre-colonial period. The court chronicle Cheitheirol Kumbaba and the Puijas of the Manipur kingdom are testimony to this historical facts.
  2. The inclusion of hill areas under the princely state of Manipur by British and the beginning of their marginalisation: After the Burmese were expelled from the kingdom of Manipur during First Anglo-Burmese War, the British had reconstructed Manipur kingdom as “dependent state” of British India and tagged suo moto the surround hills into the princely state of Manipur. Its boundary with British Bengal and of Burmese Empire was drawn and bulldozed by the British respectively in 1833 and 1834. The northern and southern boundary
Shortly afterwards [after Gambhir Singh was put up on the throne of Manipur] the British Government discontinued the payment of the Manipur Levy [of 2000 strong], but still furnished ammunition for the reduction of refractory hill tribes; and further supplied 3,000 muskets and sets of accoutrements, on the condition that the Rajah should raise the Manipur Levy to the same number. (Mackenzie 1884, 150)
This policy of the British Government over the hill tribes was taken as a licence to kill and brutally subdue them by the Manipuri forces. Hence, a history of whirlwind raids and infiltration of Manipuri forces into the hills had just begun. The Manipuris had launched a massive campaign of conquest in the hills which centre around the policy of barbaric suppression and annihilation against the hill tribes. Nevertheless, the hill people hardly accepted neither the extended boundary into their consider sphere of independence nor the conquest policy adopted by the Manipur state. They hill people had opposed the Manipuri forces on various fronts.
While the British wanted the hills areas under Manipur’s control to bring peace and tranquillity in the hills the brutal way the Manipuri forces have chosen to subdue and suppress the hill people had therefore become cause of concern to the British Government. When such brutality has become so unbecoming of a state within British Empire, and when the opposition from the hill people was equally unmanageable, in the eyes of the British government which condemned it as “rash dealing with the neighbouring hill tribes”, it was eventually decided to take over the hill administration in the hands of British officer. Thus, even after the hills were included within Manipur state it continued to be indirectly ruled by the British Political Agent of Manipur through some hill lambus. Only after the Kuki Rising 1917-19 the state administration was extended in the hills with the creation of four sub-divisions which were administered by British ICS Officers. These Officers administered the hills till India’s Independence. Thus, the hill areas of Manipur were never directly ruled by any Manipuri officers during the colonial period. 
Although the hill people contributed large amount of revenue in the form of house-tax into Manipur state treasury and similar amount in the form of mandatory labour services, they had received back very little from the state for their development and progress. For instance, J.E. Webster, Chief Secretary to the Chief Commissioner of Assam, wrote in 1919 to the Government of India that “the revenue derived directly from the hill tribes as house tax consists of about Rs. 70,000 a year, while the expenditure on the hills has hitherto ranged between Rs. 17,000 and Rs. 19,000”. He also reported that the hill areas were practically without road, school, garrison, sub-division and so on. He has categorically stated that such state apathy to the development of the hill areas was one main cause of the Kuki Rising 1917-19. Hence the hills continued to be marginalised in all spheres of development under Manipur state. This is how the then Manipur State had treated the hill people before India’s independence. No wonder, the Rajah of Manipur even felt that the hill areas were not part of Manipur state. Thus, when the question of federating Manipur state with British crown came in 1939, the Rajah of Manipur “agreed in a letter” dated 21 July 1939 “to federate on terms which covered the exclusion of the Hills from his direct control”. In other words, the Rajah wanted to federate only those areas he actually controlled and ruled i.e. the valley part of Manipur state.
  1. Marginalisation and backwardness of the hill people under Manipur state after independence: The marginalisation of the hill people continues to remain unabated under Manipur state after independence: politically, socially and economically. The apartheid system of segregation and discrimination on ethnic and geographical line that centre on hill-valley divide is profound in the official policy of the State. Just as we see under the Manipur’s Rajahs, the hill tribes were hugely marginalised and continue to remain backward after independence when other citizens of India are rapidly surging ahead in the world. Manipur consisted of a geographical area of 22,327 sq. km. of which 20,089 sq. km. consisted of the hill areas, inhabited exclusively by the hill tribes, and 2,238 sq. km. of the central valley, dominated by the plainsmen Meiteis. As per the 2011 census the total population of Manipur is 25,70,390 persons of which 9,02740 persons (35.1 percent) are the hill tribes and 16,67,650 persons belongs to non-tribes.

In terms of political and administrative disparity, it is explicit that out of 60 members in the State Assembly only 19 seats were reserved for the Scheduled tribes which each of them represent 44,107 persons (2001 Census) whereas 41 seats belongs to the valley districts which each of them represents 35,294 persons.Manipur Hill Areas District Council Act was passed by the Parliament of India in 1971.  It was arbitrarily amended by State Assembly in 2000, 2006, 2008, and 2011, which ultimately render it toothless. It was under suspended animation from 1989 to 2010. Article 371C provided for Hill Area Committee (HAC) to ensure that no state law goes against the interests of the hill tribes. However, the advice and recommendations of this august body were never taken seriously by the State Assembly when consulted and in most cases this office was not consulted at all although many of the state laws affected the hill areas. Apart from many other cases, the present three bills, which had directly assaulted the hill people, HAC was not consulted, clearly amplifying the general attitude of Manipur State Assembly towards the HAC.

Socially and economically, the hill districts are still reeling for their economic and social upliftment. Till now a single Directorate (Directorate of Hills and Tribal Development) under a single Minister is centrally running (in contravention to democratic decentralization principle) the whole affairs of hill development. Besides, as State funds are allocated by population size, the hill people continue to remain at the receiving end of social and economic development ladder which the valley people reaped the fruits of all governmental development programmes. This is most clearly visible in the state annual budget allocation. For instance, the budget of 2004–05 show as follows:

Sl. No
Budget allocation (Department-wise)
Valley Districts consisting 10% of total area and 64.9% of total population (in %)
Hill Districts consisting 90% of total area and 35.1% of total population (in %)
1
Education
74%
26%
2
Health
75%
25%
3
Public Works
78%
22%
4
Social Welfare
86%
14%
5
Agriculture
88%
12%
In the worst case scenario, most of these funds allocated for the hill districts never reached the hills; they were in most cases siphoned off in the valley by ministers and bureaucrats. Similarly, non-existent or insufficient manpower to run the hill administration was the order of the hills. For instance, the sub-deputy collector’s office in Parbung, Tipaimukh sub-division of Churachandpur district has no staff or infrastructure and does not work.

In government employment also we can see that the hill tribes are far below to what they actually deserved. Already in 1976 the Assembly had passed Manipur Reservation of Vacancies in Posts and Services (for SC and ST) Bill 1976 and received Governor’s assent. But rules related to this Act first came in 1990 only to be soon withdrawn. A new bill was again introduced in 2007 which eventually was implemented. This Act envisages 33 percent of government posts for the scheduled tribes but till now not a single department of the state government had met the target. Manipur University, for instance, employed (immediately before it was converted in a central university) only three tribal out of the total 130 contract employees, 38 out of 322 non-teaching staff, and three out of 165 teaching faculty. The strength of ST for a 7.5 percent reservation under central law is not yet even fulfilled till today.
The result of such state apathy and discrimination is reflected in most explicit way in the state Human Development Indexes in which all the five hill districts performed badly in comparison to the valley districts. The Human Development Series of Manipur 2003, for instance, reported that the hill districts have a larger proportion of the poor than valley districts. In the valley district of Imphal, Bishnupur and Thoubal it reported the percentage of poor at 19.33 percent, 26.24 percent and 24.39 percent respectively. In contrast, the five hill districts recorded 40 percent in Churachandpur, 42 percent in Chandel, 44.4 percent in Ukhrul, 51.3 percent in Senapati, and 54.5 percent in Tamenglong.

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                                                                                                                      ``Annexure-02
REASONS WHY THE THREE BILLS ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE
The passage of the three Bills by Manipur Legislative Assembly on the 31st August, 2015 and the reactions that follow on are the culmination of the accumulated endemic, mutual distrust and suspicions of the hill tribes and valley dwellers. The three Bills recently passed viz. The Protection of Manipur People Bill, 2015; The Manipur Land Revenue & Land Reforms (Seventh Amendment) Bill, 2015 and The Manipur Shops and Establishment (Second Amendment) Bill, 2015 on 31st Aug, 2015 are unconstitutional and cannot be enforced in areas under the jurisdiction of Autonomous District Council (ADCs) and some pockets that are amalgamated with Valley District, without the consent of the tribal, in Manipur. The reasons for rejecting the Bills are:-
  1. The Protection of Manipur People Bill, 2015

The phrase “one of the small hill states” in the first line of the objects and reasons is highly objectionable because Manipur is never recognized and recorded as ‘a hill state’ in the Indian Constitution. Manipur was rather recorded as ‘one of the Princely State’ in the country whereby the King administered a limited area (valley areas) of the present Manipur State. The statement is a ploy to change the entire Manipur to a ‘hill state’ and its entire population into ‘hill tribes’ which is NOT acceptable and is NOT related to the issue of ‘protecting the Manipur people from outsiders’

The Bill is not a Money Bill as claimed by the Government: The Government introduced this Bill as Money Bill, but the Preamble, Objectives and Reasons and area coverage are not at all related to any taxation or expenditure matters which will affect the Consolidated Fund of the State Government. The very title of the Bill (Protection of Manipur People Bill, 2015) itself suggest the social security objectives and not taxation/monetary objective. The expenditure involves for development of infrastructure, salaries and maintenance are secondary in nature.

Even if the Bills are a Money Bill as claimed by the state government, the question still arises as to whether the Protection of Manipur People Bill, 2015 passed attracted the provisions laid down in the Schedule Matters of the Hill Areas Committee Order, 1972 pertaining to allotment of land and tribal affairs in the Hill Areas of Manipur.

There is a deliberate attempt to by-pass the Hill Area Committee (HAC) in violation of the provisions of the Manipur Legislative Assembly (Hill Areas Committee) Order, 1972: Article 4 Clause (1) & (2)….Every Bill, other than a Money Bill affecting wholly or partly the Hill Areas and containing mainly provisions dealing with any of the Scheduled Matters shall, after introduction in the Assembly, be referred to the Hill Areas Committee for consideration and report to the Assembly.
Why become a foreigner in your own land..? The Government has clarified that sub-section (b) of Section 2 is intended for ‘outsiders/Non-Manipur persons’ who immigrated into the State since 1951 and does not apply to the people of Manipur who were born, are born, lived and living in the State and protected under clause (b) of Section 8 being Native People of the State of Manipur”. The Government has also clarified that under Clause (a) of Section 8,  “Native People” includes all sections/tribes living in Manipur (Hills & Valley).

The Bill also set 1951 as base year to qualifies as ‘Manipur People’ and identifies three criteria under clause (b) of Section 2 viz. the National Registry of Citizens 1951, Census Report 1951 and Village Directory of 1951. In essence, if the Act is to be implemented almost eighty percent of the Tribalpopulation in the hill areas will be excluded from the purview of section 2 (b) of the Act and will be treated as ‘Non-Manipur persons’ under section 2(c) of the Act with disastrous consequences.
Hence, the Protection of Manipur People Bill, 2015 passed by the Manipur Legislative Assembly is indicative of the deliberate intension of the Government to infringe on the rights and privileges of the Tribal Peoples in gross violation of Art. 371C of the Indian Constitution.
  1. The Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms(Seventh Amendment) Bill, 2015:
The insertion of the new Section 14A and 14B after Section 14 of the Principal Act in the present Amendment Bill is nothing but only a ploy to further extends the Manipur Land Revenue & Land Reforms Act to the whole of the Hill Areas of Manipur or areas under the jurisdiction of the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Councils Act, 1971. It may be noted that large pockets of plain areas of Churachandpur, Ukhrul, Senapati (including Sadar Hills) and Tamenglong Districts have been brought under the Manipur Land Revenue & Land Reforms Act, 1960 by virtue of insertion of “proviso to sub-section (2) of Section 1” as per Manipur Act No. 13 of 1976 published in the Manipur Gazette dated 24-05-76.

Interestingly, as per Clause (b) of Section 158 of the Principal Act of the Manipur Land Revenue & Land Reforms Act, 1960, the permission for transfer of land from tribal to non-tribal can be given by the Deputy Commissioner subject to the consent of the District Councils which says that, “where the transfer is to a person who is not a member of any such tribe, it is made with the previous permission in writing to the Deputy Commissioner, provided that the Deputy Commissioner shall not give such permission unless he has first secured the consent thereto of the District Council within whose jurisdiction the land lies.”
In contrary to the Principal Act of 1960; The Manipur Land Revenue & Land Reforms Act (Seventh amendment) Bill, 2015 passed by the Assembly, the words “valley areas” have been purposefully inserted. Further,  amendment is made on Section 158 of the Act whereby  the words “District Council” is deleted and two Section 14A & 14B are inserted to empower the State Cabinet to approve purchase of ‘any land in the state’ in complete disregard to the provisions of Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council Act, 1971. This completely distorted the spirit of the principal Act and is bound to have long lasting impact on tribal land ownership system. As a matter of fact, the amendment Bill is a sinister design to grab tribal traditional land in due course of time by way of legal interpretation and means.
The new Section 14A (1) includes ‘…..who intend to purchase any land in the State of Manipur…’ thus, all Non-Manipur persons living in Manipur(Hills & Valley) shall be entitled to purchase any land in the hill areas as per Section 8 (a) on account of the Clarification Statement given in the Press Release issued by the Chief Minister’s Office on the 7th August, 2015 in corporation with the Protection of Manipur People Act, 2015 although the term“native people” is not defined anywhere in the Bill. But as clarified by the Government of Manipur, it is assumed that the Native People includes all sections/tribes living in Manipur (Hills & Valley), which include the valley dwellers too under the category of persons to be exempted from the said Act, which indicates that they could easily purchase any tribal land in the hill areas of Manipur.
It may be noted that, there is no common land laws in Manipur and trying to enforce such law negate the historical and cultural distinctive characteristics of the tribal.

  1. The Manipur Shops and Establishment (Second Amendment) Bill, 2015:
The Principal Act provides for registration of Shops/Establishment and regulation of employment. The Amendment sought to provide for Registration of Employees by the Employers and to issue Identity Cards to the Employees. This law applies to the whole of Manipur including the Hill Areas as well. As Shops and Establishment shall be established not only in the Valley areas but also in the Hill Areas, why the Bill was passed without referring to the Hill Areas Committee for consideration which is against the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Manipur Legislative Assembly. The passing of the Bill tantamount to infringement of the Manipur Legislative Assembly (Hill Areas Committee) Order, 1972 as per clause (1) & (2) of Section 4 as mentioned above.

  1. The present Bills and its implication to the hill tribes:
The Constitution of India under Article 371C provided that any legislation in the State Assembly of Manipur that effect the interests of the hill people should be first approved by the Hill Area Committee. In keeping with the spirit of the Constitution, the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act 1860 (passed when Manipur was a Union Territory) also provided a special provision (section 158) to make all tribal land non-transferable to any non-tribal person. But after Manipur got statehood in 1972 several attempts were made to dilute the said provision. For instance, clause (b) was added in 1976 which permitted a non-tribal person to purchase tribal land “with previous permission in writing to the Deputy Commissioner” but it was made mandatory for the Deputy Commissioner to first secured the consent of the District Council (within whose jurisdiction the land lies) before s/he gives such permission. When all attempts to loosen this protective provision in MLR&LR Act was thwarted (due to stiff opposition from the tribal people), the government finally came up with the present amendment bills as a backdoor provision to override section 158.

Under the new amendment bill passed on 31 August 2015 the final decision on transfer of “any land” in the state (including the tribal lands) is given to the State Cabinet. As per the provision of the amendment bill the recommendation of “Local Body” or “Local Self Government” can be override by the State Cabinet. This means that even if the tribal bodies oppose to the transfer of tribal land the same can be made possible if the Cabinet approved the transfer. With this power in the hands of the State Cabinet, non-tribal (especially the dominant Meiteis who were all this time eying the hill territory) will eventually buy out all the lands of the hill people and very soon the indigenous hill tribes would be reduced to refugees in their own homeland.

This will be made more legibly and tangentially by another Bill which was introduced along with MLR&LR one: the Protection of Manipur People Bill 2015. This Bill defined “Manipur People” as “persons of Manipur whose name are in the National Register of Citizens 1951, Census Report 1951 and Village Directory of 1951 and their descendants” in clause (b) of Section 2. It also defined “Non Manipur Person” as “a person who is not covered by clause (b) of Section 2”. The implication of this Bill is disastrous to the hill people who had not been covered by the said base line due to bad communication and official apathy. Therefore, larger part of the tribal population who had been living in their ancestral homeland since time immemorial would be suddenly labelled as “Non Manipur Person” and condemned as “foreigners”. The consequences of such labelling is but a hell to majority of the hill population who would undergo the tedious process of procuring a “Pass” and “Identity Card” under this Act or that of Manipur Shops and Establishments (Second Amendment) Bill, 2015 when he will be forbidden to purchase “any land” in the whole state. This means an expulsion from the state as “outsiders”. Overall, the three bills are targeting the hill people so that they can be expelled from their land and thereafter their land and territory will be distributed among the valley population. This intention will become clear from the following paragraph.

  1. The growing tide of ethnic tension and conflict under Meitei domination
The passage of the three bills in the State Assembly is not the first time the dominant Meiteis had attempt to make the hill people refugees and foreigners in their own ancestral homeland. The Meiteis had fought for ST status so that it would allow them to access the hill territory which is so far protected from the tribes by MLR&LR Act 1960. They had fought to recognise Manipur as “Hill State” so that they can freely purchase land in the hills. Such and such attempts will go on in the future and the State government will continue to encourage such sinister design of the dominant Meitei community so that in the future the whole hill areas will be dominated by the valley Meiteis leading to the expulsion of the indigenous hill tribes from the hills of Manipur. This is already visible in the hill villages in the foothills. The valley district administrative jurisdiction was constantly extended over the hill districts. Several hill villages which belong to the hill districts earlier have now come under valley district jurisdiction and many of the hill tribes who live in this area were gradually and systematically expelled into the interior part of the hills. The bias state administration toward promoting the interest of the dominant Meitei community is also even more explicit in other cases. The naked forces of the State armed security personnel were often employed by the government to subdue the tribes. Many inhuman treatments were daily committed by the state forces (especially the so called “Commandos”) against the tribal people. In our daily situation the so-called protectors of the innocent people, the state security forces, turned out to be the perpetrators of terrors in the hills. The brutal killing of 9 people by the Commandos in Churachandpur on 1 and 2 August 2015 was just one case.
It is also a well publicised fact that since about 2000 the valley based Meitei insurgents make their hideouts in the hills and declared the hills of Manipur was their “liberated zone” committing as it went on uncountable heinous crime against the hill tribes. They planted landmines across the hills so that the hill tribes would be prevented from doing their daily agriculture chores. They forcibly outraged and raped many tribal women, forcibly used many more of them as their concubines. The tribal men were made to work for them as slaves. They destroyed anyone who came against them. The State Government pretended blind and remains a mute spectator before such barbaric invasion by the Meitei UGs. The reign of terror they spelt across the hill landscape during this time finally caused the central security forces to drive them away only to build their hideout camps in Myanmar border from where they continue to harass the hill tribes living in the border areas.
The Meitei public were equally vicious and rash in their dealing with the hill tribes. The tribal people were never considered by them as their equals and fellow citizens. Their arrogance has become more and more explicit in recent times. For instance, the Meitei International Forum had spread the venom of hatred across the state against the hill tribes terming them as “foreigners” and “outsiders”. It was this hate campaign against the tribes that brewed more and more tensions among different communities in the state. The Moreh incident of 18 August 2015 where conflict broke out between Kukis and Meiteis was just one part of the whole story resulted out of hate campaign perpetrated against the tribes by dominant Meitei community. In all this play of games the local media, mostly owned and dominated by the Meiteis, played a crucial role not as unbiased reporters but by promoting and propagating the Meitei interests and fuelling ethnic hatred in the state. More than one times the Meitei dominated electronic and print media were boycotted by different tribal bodies in the hills. With the
participation of media on the side of the Meiteis against propagating hate campaign against the hill people, ethnic tension and conflict has come at the apogee.
If the Meitei’s intention to grabs the land of the hill people is clear in all their earlier attempts and public discourses, the three bills introduced on 31 August 2015 finally spelt out even more clearly of that intention. It would be the fulfilment of their long cherished dreams to grab the land of the hill tribes if the three bills come into laws. The situation which we see in Manipur in the past, in the present, what is to come in the future is indeed what J.H. Hutton and N.E. Parry had once warned the British lawmakers (Simon Commission) in 1930. The clubbing together of hills and valley people in the Reformed Scheme of British Government was what Hutton had called the clubbing of “people of irreconcilable culture in an unnatural union which can ultimately only entail discomfort for both parties” and what Parry has called a “little short of a crime” that would ultimately brings nothing but “bloodshed”. This is what is exactly happening in Manipur today and will continue to happen in the future if the clubbing goes on. This is but a situation of an embodied fear and ontological insecurity (one experienced in the war zone) to the hill tribes.
The three Bills are not only anti-Tribal, but is also ‘unconstitutional’ as it is intended for protection of ‘Manipur people’ from ‘Non-Manipur people’ of the entire country, making the ‘non-Manipuri a foreigner’, thereby advocating ‘Dual-citizenship’ in India. The increasing population pressure in the valley Districts of the State is overstated and the reasons stated are unrealistic. Decades of unplanned settlement, self-centred concentration of all major infrastructures in valley areas and their inability to ‘see beyond self’ is responsible for such pathetic situation.  Nevertheless, if the valleys District need protection and regulate migrants, let the three Bills be confined to the four valley District of the State without disturbing the rights and traditional land ownership of tribal.. Side by side, there should be another Law to protect the tribal from non-tribal in Hill Districts of the State i.e areas under the Six Autonomous District Councils of the State including pockets of land amalgamated with Valley District, without the consent of the tribal, in Manipur.

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