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TRIBAL UNITY DAY : Declaration

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

/ Published by VIRTHLI

While paying our utmost respect to the nine Tribal Martyrs who sacrificed themselves in the hands of the communal State Forces for defending their inalienable tribal rights and are still waiting for an honorable last rite, we, the Indigenous Tribal Peoples of the colonial-constructed Manipur State, do hereby declare on this day, the Thirty First of August, Two Thousand and Sixteen Anno Domini on the occasion of the first Tribal Unity Day that:

1. The Indigenous Tribal Peoples in the present State of Manipur were a self-governed and self-administered people even before and after the British colonial regime till the princely State was merged with the Indian Union in 1949 along with the tribal areas without their consent, through deception which the tribal peoples continue to protest. Since then, tribals were marginalized, victimized, discriminated, dominated, and suppressed leading to degradation and obliteration of tribal history, identity, culture, and rights to land and resources. [Transcript by Virthli]

2. The present Manipur boundaries came into existence only after several Boundary Commissions were instituted by the British at different periods of time, viz., Manipur-Burma Boundary, Manipur-Chin Hills, Manipur-Assam, Manipur-Lushai Hills and Manipur-Naga Mills, which maliciously segmented the tribal lands. In fact, the tribals were never a part of the so-called '2,000 glorious years of Meitei Kingdom' and were not a party to the infamous Manipur Merger Agreement, 1949. Taking advantage of the undemocratic representation in the State Legislative Assembly, the communal Government of Manipur repeatedly passed anti-tribal bills and resolutions favoring the dominant Valley community. [Transcript by Virthli]

(I) Any Bill or Resolution that is detrimental to the rights over land, history, identity, cultures and customs of the indigenous tribal peoples introduced and passed in the communal Manipur Legislative Assembly shall never be accepted under any circumstances.

(ii) We reaffirm that the tribal MLAs and MP of the Indian National Congress Party (INC) and any political party who work against the interest of the indigenous tribal peoples and carry out any form of political activities affecting the tribal territory of Manipur shall be considered as anti-tribal.

(iii) We, the indigenous tribal peoples living in the present State of Manipur commit ourselves to promote solidarity, strengthen harmony and improve mutual understanding in the true spirit of brotherhood for promoting human dignity and peaceful coexistence to pursue a rightful and honorable place.

(iv) We commit ourselves to defend and fight collectively for any eventuality that undermined the rights and interests of indigenous tribal peoples. [Transcript by Virthli]

On behalf of the indigenous tribal peoples of Manipur, the Outer Manipur Tribals' Forum (OMTF) — a conglomeration of Hmar Inpui, Thadou Inpi Manipur, Mizo People Convention, United Naga Council and Zomi Council and the Joint Action Committee Against Anti-Tribal Bills (JAC-AATB) committed the above historic declaration to the Almighty God and signed on this day of the Thirty First of August, Two Thousand and Sixteen Anno Domini during the observance of the first Tribal Unity Day at Lamka, Chumehandpur District Headquarters.

Outer Manipur Tribals' Forum
Chief Convenor
Joint Action Committee Against Anti-Tribal Bills

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