IMPHAL, August 17: The Sadar Hills team that has been camping at the national capital for the past few days seeking a meeting with the President of India Pratibha Devisingh Patil has informed IFP that the meeting with the President has yielded positive outcome with the President assuring the committee to intervene on the demand of a separate Sadar Hills district.
The delegation led by the general secretary of SHDDC, Tonghen Kipgen, met the president at 11:30 this morning and lasted till 12 noon.
“The President of India responded very positively to the demand of the SHDDC, she assured to do the needful to our demand” said Tonghen Kipgen while speaking to IFP.
He further stated that the team has also received an appointment to meet the union home minister. P. Chidambaram later at 9pm this evening.
The SHDDC secretary further expressed his optimism on the outcome of the campaign of the delegation at the national capital.
“Till now everyone is in our favour, with the peoples’ sincere support and the positive response of the President, the committee firmly believes that the decades old dream of the Sadar Hills people will be realized this time”, said Tonghen with confidence.
The team also submitted a memorandum to the President highlighting the plights of the Sadar Hills people due to the delay in declaring Sadar Hills into a full fledged district.
It has also drawn the attention of the President to intervene and give appropriate direction to the state government for implementation of the ‘Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Council Act, 1971 in Sadar Hills and for immediate declaration of Sadar Hills in Manipur as full fledged district in order to avoid further frustration of the citizens of area.
It reminded that in order to give speediest development and protection to the Hill peoples of Manipur, under the Constitution of India, the Parliament had enacted Manipur (Hills) Autonomous district councils in the Hill areas of Manipur which included Manipur North Autonomous Distirct (Senapati), Sadar Hills Autonomous District (Sadar hills), Manipur East Autonomous District (Ukhrul), Tengnoupal Autonomous Distirct (Chandel), Manipur South Autonomous District (Churachandpur) and Manipur West Autonomous District (Tamenglong). However five autonomous districts have been created while leaving behind Sadar hills, it further stated.
The Sadar hills district council comprises of 1698 sq. km with a population of 1,88,529 as per 2011 provisional census report, consisting of three sub-divisions with a clear map of administrative boundary of each sub-division, and is the second largest populated autonomous district after Churachandpur, it further mentioned.
While elaborating on the genesis of the struggle of the Sadar hills district demand, the memorandum recalled that the Sadar Hills Districthood Demand Committee was formed in 1947 and have been pressing successive governments of Manipur for complete implementation of the Manipur (Hill Areas) ADC act 1971.
The matter had also reached the Prime Minister and union home minister level on several occasions. However, the successive state governments have contemptuously sidelined the decision of the highest law making institution (Parliament) of the country for the past 39 years, it asserted before adding that it denied the rightful demand of the people.
The memorandum further recalled, “During the 39 year period the committee had resorted to many democratic forms of agitation. Consequently, in 1982, the then government began to assure the committee for doing the needful. Again, on March 7 1997, the then Governor had assured the people that the government is committed to inaugurate Sadar Hills as a full-fledged autonomous district in Manipur. Several state cabinet resolutions have been passed since then. The state cabinet in the year 2000 had also re-affirmed the cabinet resolution of 1982 for districthood of Sadar hills but nothing has come to be materialized”.
Moreover it asserted, besides denying economic development for prolonged period five peaceful agitators have also lost their lives for the cause of Sadar Hills Autonomous districthood.
It decried that despite the people of Sadar Hills being most patient and peaceful, successive state governments have continued to deny the rights of the people unreasonably.
It cited the prolonged deprivation meted out to the people that have provoked their sentiments, compelling the people to resort to unwanted political upheavals.