Gearing up for more stormy days ahead The deep Bills divide

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Cease work strike in Imphal and valley areas from 5 am to 6 pm of June 7. This was the call of the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS). In the hills, a 24 hour bandh called by the Churachandpur JAC is in force in all the tribal inhabited areas of the State. This is not all for a highway blockade has also been lined up from midnight of June 9 to midnight of June 19. Centre to all these are the three Bills passed by the State Assembly on August 31 last year. Of the three Bills sent to the Centre for the President’s assent, the Protection of Manipur Peoples’ Bill has been rejected while the other two Bills, Manipur Land Reforms and Land Revenue (7th Amendment) Bill, 2015 and Manipur Shops and Establishment (2nd Amendment) Bill are under the scrutiny of legal and Constitutional experts. Difficult to say what the Constitutional and legal experts will say with regard to the two Bills, but what is clear is the deep divide between the hills and valley people of the State. The question is whether the present divide is only due to the Bills or is it something which runs much deeper ? Time for all to acknowledge that the divide between communities, especially between the valley people and the hill people can no longer be defined by some old sayings. Ching-Tam Amatanni is passe’. Acknowledge the truth and then start doing something to promote people to people contact.
Time to look beyond the Bills for what is happening today is the deep divide between communities and this cannot be good for the State at all. There can be no winners in the present case and all should sincerely look inward and see how the seeds for the divide were sown. What is the way forward ? No easy answers here. Why has the idea of Manipur failed to make an impression upon all the people of this State ? So while there are Nagas and Kukis as well as all the sub-tribes, there are hardly any Manipuris. A sure indication that no one thinks of the land. Why is it that it is only the Meiteis who do not hesitate in identifying themselves as Manipuris ? This is a question which the Meiteis should also ask themselves seriously. An issue which should have united the indigenous people has today brought to the fore all the differences and is threatening to tear the people apart. At the moment, the hill people too need to acknowledge that they have Constitutional safeguards as no non-tribals are allowed to buy landed properties in the hills. It is only the valley area where everyone can settle down and buy landed properties. This is why concern has been expressed over the large scale influx of non-local people. This is a point which should be acknowledged by everyone cutting across the Bills divide.

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