MLR & LR amendment will not harm tribal interests, State reassures

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IMPHAL, August 31: In a bid to control the unrest among a section of the tribal population and their apprehension against the passing of the Protection of Manipur Peoples Bill, 2015 and the two related amendment bills, the State government has announced that the MLR & LR amendment bill will not harm the interest of those residing in the hills.

Concerned by the growing unrest, the State cabinet under the leadership of Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh called an emergency meeting and discussed the bandh called of the Kuki Students Organisation General HQ, All Naga Students Association Manipur and the two factions of All Tribal Students`™ Union Manipur against the passing of the three bills.

The meeting was convened at 5pm today.

Following the meeting, Education minister Moirangthem Okendro who is also the State government spokesperson said The Manipur Land Revenue & Land Reforms (Seventh Amendment) Bill 2015 will not harm any interest of the inhabitants of the hills.

The government will not act against the interest of the hill people the minister said and further added that the council of ministers has also appealed to all people to maintain peace and not to allow tension among the different communities residing in the State to grow.

He said the amendment of the MLR & LR Act is to only lengthen the process for land buying by non-Manipuri people/ non-permanent residents.

Explaining further, the minister said according to the amendment, if a non-Manipuri people/ non-permanent resident, an application citing the purpose for buying the land should be submitted to the concern deputy commissioner.

Following proper enquiry of the application at the DC`™s level, the enquiry report will be submitted to the State government which will be tabled before the State cabinet for approval, he said.

He continued the MLR & LR Act, 1960 is limited only to the four valley districts and a small portion of Churachandpur and since non-tribals cannot buy land in the hill districts, the government had not discussed the amendment of the Act with the Hill Areas Committee.

The amendment doesn`™t attract Article 371 C of the Indian Constitution, he said.

Okendro said even if the HAC was not consulted, it doesn`™t mean rights violation of the people of the hills.

The passing of The Protection of the Manipur Peoples Bill 2015 is to only safeguard the indigenous population of the State, he said.

There is no hill-valley divide, the council of ministers resolved during the meeting today.

The council of ministers have also appealed to all against spreading rumours which could harm the peace and increase the tension among the communities.

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