Deep divide over proposed Bill Refusing to see eye to eye

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Four major players and at stake are the people. Two players diametrically opposite to each other while no one knows how one of the four players will respond when approached. One of the four remaining is obviously caught between the two extreme opposites. Welcome to Manipur. One obviously is talking about the present volatile situation and while no one knows how the Centre will respond when the State Government approaches it with a Bill to regulate the entry and the exit of non-local people into and from the soil of the land, the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) and the tribal bodies are yet to see eye to eye on the matter. In the middle of the tug of war between the two extreme opposite is the State Government. A look at the situation should be clear. While the State Government has in its Draft Bill proposed 1972 as the cut off base year to identify the non-local people from the local people, the JCILPS has already announced that it is for keeping the cut off base year at 1951. On the other hand, the Manipur Tribal Forum, Delhi has already gone on record and stated that the Draft Bill is not at all different from the earlier Bill which has been rejected by the President of India. Sticking to a similar line of thought, the Naga Political Leaders’ Forum, Manipur has questioned the State Government’s hasty decision to introduce a new Bill in place of the one earlier rejected by the Centre.
More than clear that the divide spawned by the Bill is indeed deep and one can expect more stormy days ahead. Not a new development, for this is something which became very clear from the day Churachandpur erupted in protest leading to the death of nine protesters when the three Bills were passed by the State Assembly on August 31 last year. The question now is what has been done to iron out the differences in the last one year ? Nothing to suggest that any measures have been taken up to address the differences in the nearly 365 days that have passed. This is a tragedy, for all should remember that the best way to address differences is to sit down and talk things over. What is it that the tribal bodies find objectionable in the Draft Bill ? Why not point it out to the Government ? Moreover what has the Government done to get the last rites of the nine people killed in Churachandpur last year conducted ? Even as the final Bill is awaited, sharp differences have already come to the fore and this says something very disturbing about the people to people contact in Manipur. This is the tragedy of this land.

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