IMPHAL, March 15: Condemning the draft Bill for the safeguard indigenous people of the State to be tentatively passed tomorrow during the Assembly session, members of JCILPS called an 18-hours general strike starting midnight tonight. The general strike will end at 6 pm will tomorrow but ongoing school examinations, press and medical emergencies would be exempted from the purview of the strike.
Convenor Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System Ibotombi Khuman in a press meet held at its office, Nongmeibung said that the committee with the support from the general public have been demanding the implementation of a permit system for migrants so as to safeguard indigenous people of the State. He continued that the State Government had agreed to pass an Act with suggestions from an expert committee.
He mentioned that current Assembly session was extended to pass the Bill but unfortunately the Draft Bill stated nothing pertaining to safeguarding citizen of the State and instead seems aimed at safeguarding migrants.
The Draft Bill is strongly condemnable said Ibotombi and added that if tomorrow the Assembly Session fails to discuss the Bill inculcating their five charters of demand then it will be better for the Assembly to withdraw the Bill.
The five charters of demand for inclusion in the Bill, include the issue of a pass or permit which is compulsory for all non indigenous people who comes to Manipur to hold; to mark 1951 as the cut-off base year to decide who is an migrant; no land ownership right to be given to any non indigenous people; installation of a full fledged labour department for proper registration of migrant labour; and lastly detection of non indigenous people without proper identity cards and to deport them.
The convenor further said that the draft Bill has included only one of their demands, namely the registration of migrant labourers at the labour department.
He elaborated that if the Assembly passed the draft Bill then it will surely promote demographic imbalance in the State. He mentioned that the State Government`™s attitude towards the popular sentiment in matters of safeguarding indigenous people of the State has left the the committee`™s recommendation meaningless.
The JCILPS convenor said that there is still time for the state Government to rectify the bill in the discussion hour of the session else the JCILPS with the support of the public will demonstrate stronger form of agitations.
We can even sacrifice our lives for the safeguard of indigenous people of the State said convenor JCILPS women wing L Nganbi supplementing in the press meet.
She further said that there is doubt that the draft bill was not framed by fellow leaders of the State but by some non indigenous people for the benefit for migrants and non locals of the state.
Later the draft Bill was set ablaze in front of JCILPS office at Nongmeibung in front of media fraternity.