Bringing out the deep divide May 16 : Destination Delhi

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No one knows whether the Centre will give the nod to the three Bills passed by the State Assembly on August 31 last year. However what is very clear is the fact that these three Bills have brought out in the open the deep divide between different communities in the State. Three Bills meant to protect the interest of the indigenous people have today driven a deep wedge between different communities and this should be more than enough testimony of the deep distrust between the indigenous people. The decision of the all political parties to send a team to the Centre to pressurise the Union Government to enact the three Bills has again brought to the fore the deep divide. A 48 hour bandh has already been lined up by the Churachandpur JAC from May 16 midnight, the day the all political party team will leave for Delhi to pile the pressure on the Centre to enact the three Bills. On the other hand, there is as yet nothing to indicate that the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) will relax its ongoing agitation. The Naga Political Leaders’ Forum, Manipur (NPLFM) has also gone ahead and slammed the decision of the all political parties to proceed to Delhi and rightfully questioned why the Naga People’s Front (NPF) did not attend the all political parties meeting to oppose the decision thus adopted. Paper tigers is the sobriquet used by the NPLFM while addressing leaders of the State unit NPF. Rather strong words, but the NPLFM has delivered a strong point and that is to present cases in the right forum.
People pulling in different directions and ironically on the issue of protecting the interest of the indigenous people. Still early to say which way the wind will blow, but whatever the outcome, it should be clear to all that nothing is looking right for the people and the place. If the Centre gives the go ahead signal then what ? Obviously the hills will erupt in protest and in the process the divide between the hill people and the valley dwellers will get deeper. On the other hand, if the Centre rejects the three Bills, then to be sure Imphal and the valley areas will erupt in protest again and the protest may be more intense than the mass movement Imphal and the valley districts witnessed in 2015, before the three Bills were passed. Making matters worse is the fact that this is not the only issue besetting the State. At the moment, the debate over the demand that the Meiteis/Meeteis be included in the list of Scheduled Tribe is raging. Just like the three Bills, nobody knows whether the Centre will agree to the demand that the Meiteis/Meeteis be included in the ST category, but already this is threatening to drive wedges amongst the Meitei/Meetei people. The ILP demand and the ST demand for the Meiteis/Meeteis are clear indications that the people still have a lot of distance to cover before they can see eye to eye on issues which concern them. A clear case of everyone having an opinion on anything but unwilling to listen to anybody.

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