IMPHAL, July 23: The grievances of tribal people in Manipur which has recently led to the demand for “Alternative Political Arrangement”, “Kuki State” or an “Autonomous State within Manipur” is not without any reason or justifications.
Stating this a release of Zoumi Council, maintained that their grievances got compounded over the years and are pushed to a situation where they are left with no choice but to demand for justice, a dignified place in the sun of the great Indian nation. All the tribal communities in the State shared in common the sense of neglect; discrimination, indifferent attitude and the desperation for a separate political arrangement, although there may be difference of opinion over the model for a political solution and its approaches toward the goal.
It further mentioned that, the voices of dissent from the Hills call for immediate attention of the Government. Yet, what we observe today as the possible response of the Government seemed to be symptomatic without attending its core issue. The much acclaimed re-instating of Autonomous District Council in Manipur and its attempt to devolved maximum powers appear to be a failure even before it actually take off, because most of the ADCs are unable to function at their own area for obvious reasons. The fact that they continue to function from Imphal is a betrayal of effective local-self government in Tribal areas of Manipur or a mockery of Indian democracy, rather than an achievement. What is essential today is immediate redressal of both development deficit and democratic-deficit condition in tribal areas.
Communal approaches to the issue and adopting undemocratic methods to aired tribal grievances is never the choice at this juncture. The tribal struggle should not be directed against any community but against the political system, in other words, the inadequate political arrangement of the State. The State had enough of bitter communal experiences in the past and taking our history back to a barbaric stage would be most unfortunate. It was on this principle that the various tribal armed groups signed Suspension of Operation Agreement in 2005 with the Government, choosing democratic process to raise their grievances it added.
It is also mentioned that, the time has come for every sensible citizen of the State to retrospect and learn lesson from past mistakes and begin to seriously engage in the process of peaceful solution to the tribal problems. The genuine grievances of 90% area of the State can never be simply ignored if we dream of a shinning Manipur. In order to achieve this collective objective, each men and women of the State should come out of our narrow or parochial mindset and start looking thing in its larger perspectives. It is in the light of this observation that the Zomi Council have demanded for, “Creation of an Autonomous Tribal State or an Autonomous State within Manipur by extending the provision of Art.244A of the Indian Constitution” whereby there will be two Assembly-Hill Assembly and Valley Assembly- in the State. Such political re-arrangement is bound to fasten the pace of progress for achieving equitable development, strengthen integrity of the State and ushered durable peace and security in this part of the country. The proposition is found to be constitutionally valid and legally justified on all count, and denial of even such arrangement within the State could be counter- productive for the people of the State it added.