Proposed state govt amendment put tribals` rights in jeopardy

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IMPHAL, April 13: Deeming that the proposed drafts for the amendments the existing Manipur Hill Village Authority Authorities Act, 1956 and that of the Manipur Hill areas district Councils Act, 1971 and 1972, as a threat to the Tribals People in the hill, an awareness campaign was held today at Kangpokpi ADC hall, on the effects of the amendment act in hill Tribals Land.
The awareness programme was organized by the Sadar Hills’ Chief Association (SAHILCA), Manipur. The awareness campaign aiming to sensitize the tribal peoples of the defect of the Amendment in the entire hill district and ADC, was kicked off at Churachandpur district on April 9.
Around 90 percent of the entire Sadar villages chiefs turned up to attended the campaign.
Acting as resource persons, R. Sanga enlightened the gathering of on the difference of the Act before and after the amendment while Dr. T. Lunkim talks on the topic of Chieftanship Institution.
Thangminlen Kipgen, Chairman Hill Areas Committee and SH. Seipu, Chairman ADC Sadar hill who was invited for give speech during the campaign failed to turn up.
While talking some media persons TK. Kipgen, president SAHILCA maintained that if the amendment is passed by the government concerned it will abolish the chieftainship in the Manipur Hill Areas, which serves as a vital tool for the protection and survival of the tribals.
TK. Kipgen maintained that the tribal people opposed the amendment and urged the authority concerned to maintain the status qou of the existing acts in the interest of the minority tribal.
Another senior tribal leader on the ground of anonymity said that there are many defects on the proposed amendment to the acts. He held that the sole purpose of the proposed amendment to these Acts is to dominate and control the hill areas of Manipur inhabited by various hill tribes.
He pointed out that the proposed amendment to the existing Manipur Hill Authorities Act, 1956 aims at converting the present village Authorities into Municipal/Urban local bodies, the proposed amendment chapter V 57-C(1) clearly mentioned that the amendment give power to the state government that nothing can prevent it from constituting elected Municipalities or Urban local bodies. On the other hand it aims directly abolishing Chieftanship of the tribals of Manipur under section 3(5) and Section 6(3) of the proposed amendment wherein provided are the chief to contest the village authority election, and the elected members of the village authority are to elect its chairman. Moreover the proposed amendment is an attempt is an attempt to extend “the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act, 1960 in the hill areas of Manipur.
Whereas the major defects of the proposed amendment to “The Manipur Hill Areas District Councils Act, 1971 and Rules, 1972” as pointed out by the leader said that the only constitutional protection that the tribals of Manipur is provided in the constitution of India under Article 371-C by providing the “Hill Areas Committee”. The Tribals are benefited by the constitution of this committee adding now the Manipur Government is attempting to curtail the function of the HAC by proposing the State election Commission to have a share, he said.
The proper Autonomous district as provided under the Sixth Schedule, Article 244(2) and 275(1) is for administration of tribals areas adding if the Government of India is serious about protecting the Manipur Tribals the provisions of the sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India be extended to the Hill areas of Manipur at the earliest possible, he said.

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