IMPHAL, July 28: Mounting pressure on the state government with regards to their demand to declare Sadar hills into a full fledged district, the Sadar hills districthood demand committee (SHDDC) has called an economic blockade on both the National Highways of the state commencing from July 31 midnight till August 7.
Informing this during a press conference held today at Motbung, Ngamkhohao Haokip, president SHDDC asserted that the blockade may further be prolonged if the government failed to initiate any concrete step within the mentioned period.
He further pointed out that all form of vehicles transporting essential commodities will come under the purview of the economic blockade and further appealed to all transporters and the general public to cooperate with the committee during its agitation.
Ngamkhohao Haokip, pointed out that the British administration strongly advocated separate administration for the hills areas of Manipur from the plain administration considering the circumstances of the existence. Besides that, the Manipur constitution Act, 1947 had also clearly provided separate administration for the hill people.
He stated that the Northeast (Re-organisation) Act, 1971 and other Major and Minor Acts of the constitution provide special provisions for administration under the 6th Scheduled of the Constitution in most North Eastern states. Since the two states of Manipur and Tripura were under the direct administration of the central government, the special provision was not provided to the two states, he maintained.
However, in order to give protection to the hill people under the constitution of India, an act of Parliament called Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous district council Act, 1971 was enacted prior to the Manipur statehood, as the government was apprehensive that the cause of the hill people might not be addressed by the new state. Therefore, the act was implanted in letter and spirit in all other districts except Sadar Hills Autonomous District Council, said SHDDC president.
Regarding the boundary issue, which he stated could be another factor for the government’s delaying tactic, he added that the Manipur Autonomous District Council, Act, 1971 has empowered the state government with the power to adjust district boundaries of the state. Accordingly, the successive state governments have formed several committees to study the boundary of Sadar Hills Autonomous district council and subsequently reports were submitted besides making adjustments.
He further maintained that assurances by successive governments and all form of agreements have been made between the SHDDC and the government but to no avail.
Now the patience of the people of Sadar Hills has surpassed the tolerance limit adding he charged the successive CM of the state of being contemptuous to the Parliament for not following provisions for the welfare of hill people as enshrined in the constitution, said Ngamkhohao.
He said that two lives have been claimed during the 40 years long movement demanding the districthood of Sadar hills adding he warned that the state is likely to witness the most extreme form of movement this time and presumed it could be the last resort.
On the event of the agitation turning to be futile despite the efforts, SHDDC will no longer pursue the demand rather turn to another dimension, he further informed.
Furthermore, the meet was also attended by Paoboi Haokip brother of late Seikeng Haokip and Shehpao Sitlou father of late Lalminlen Sitlhou, the family members of the late two victims have vowed to give relentless support to every decision taken by the committee.
Late Seikeng Haokip, was reportedly shot death by security forces by personnel of Manipur Rifles during a procession rally at Kangpokpi bazaar and Lalminlen Sitlhou was killed when a vehicle of security forces knocked him down at Keithelmanbi while supporting the bandh in connection with the demand of districthood of Sadar hills.