ILP Imbroglio; Crisis Within

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The 42 hour public curfew announced by Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System, JCILPS has already begun denouncing the government’s ‘delaying tactics’ in implementing the ILP System in Manipur. It may be recalled that the Manipur Legislative Assembly on August 30, 2015 unanimously passed three bills on the floor of the House. Protection of Manipur People Bill, Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (7th Amendment) Bill and Manipur Shops and Establishments (2nd Amendment) Bill. The bills were passed amidst 12-hour bandh then imposed jointly by Kuki Students’ Organisations, All Naga Students Association Manipur and two factions of All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur in the hill districts. It has been a strong contention of the tribal civil bodies that the bills are against the interest of the tribal people. Nine bodies inside the freezer waiting for a proper funeral at the morgue of Churachandpur District Hospital for more than 8 months is testimony to violent turn of events aftermath of passing of the bills. Apparently the JCIPLS consider it too long of a wait for the president’s assent of the bills to become an Act and has charged the government of lacking initiative thereof. The JCILPS representatives were denied meeting with the president on his recent Khongjom Day visit to Manipur. In this regard, the president’s office had made it clear that it was not possible to include the meeting in the president’s itinerary due to delayed information given by the state government. This shoddy management on the part of the state administration must have also irked the JCILPS leadership. Whether the bills will be given assent or be kept in cold storage is to be seen in days to come.

Though the bills were passed unanimously in the House, unfortunately no concerted effort has been made from the side of the government to iron out the controversy, which has added more cups of woes to the already fractured ties between the hill and the valley. Consistent effort must be made rather than sending emissaries once in a while. True that greater onus is with the government, yet the civil bodies of both hill and valley who swear by the welfare of the people are rarely seen coming out of their comfort zones. An amiable dialogue between the civil bodies particularly on the controversial issue should be an opportunity that must not be overlooked. As a precursor to the dialogue, civil bodies of both the hill and plain should make a serious effort to reach out to each other. Attempt must be made to explore a common ground to jointly examine and re-examine the perceived flaws of the bills that purportedly violates tribal rights and interest enshrined in the constitution. Each side must stand up with uprightness in the best interest of the public with an inward gaze. On a humble note, it is high time for the tribal civil bodies to stop sticking to the argument of ‘we were not invited’ in the process of framing the bills. The valley based civil bodies at the same time should shed their attitude of big-benevolent-brother who flaunts to understand the aspiration of every single community. Having said this, the role of the political parties cannot be brushed aside. True to their selfish selves, it is unfortunate that two major political parties in the state have been busy playing musical chairs either for a cabinet berth in the ministry or for leadership posts in the party. Even more unfortunate is the fact that those who claim themselves to champion the cause of social justice succumb to the lure of money and muscles of electoral bandits. They even become paid foot soldiers of those contesting elections during election. Perhaps here lies the crisis of our political existence.
Leader Writer: Senate Kh.

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