While honouring and accepting all recognised Schedule Tribes, Meetei/Meitei Pangal and Meetei/Meitei as Manipur peoples, the convention expressed strong reservation against the title of the new draft Bill ‘Manipur Regulation of Non-Local People Act 2016’.
The public convention held under the aegis of the JCILPS deliberated on the new Bill drafted in place of the Protection of Manipur Peoples Bill 2015 which was withheld by the Government of India.
JCILPS convenor-in-charge BK Moirangcha and MU Economics Professor Dr Ch Priyoranjan attended the convention as president and moderator respectively.
The convention resolved that 1951 should be adopted as cut off base year for the Manipur Regulation of Non-Local People (MRNLP) Bill 2016.
Revision of the cut off base year to 1972 in the new draft Bill is distorted/problematic in the matters of demographic imbalance, National identity and character, socio-economic realities. The cut off base year of 1972 is unacceptable to the indigenous peoples of Manipur, opined many speakers.
The influx of non-local people saw a quantum rise after the abolition of the permit system which regulated entry and exit to/from Manipur by the then Commissioner of Manipur Himmat Singh on November 18, 1950.
As such, 1951 should be retained as the cut off base year.
The convention resolved to oppose the very title of the new draft Bill Manipur Regulation of Non-Local People (MRNLP) Bill 2016. The term ‘Local People’ as inserted in the draft Bill marginalised the identity of the people of Manipur and their National character which were shaped over centuries when Manipur was under monarchy.
The third resolution says that the Government of Manipur should formulate an acceptable Bill for the regulation of non-Manipur people with due consultation and participation of all indigenous peoples of Manipur. The convention also condemned the way former JCILPS convenor Khomdram Ratan was declared as a wanted man and how he was arrested.
The gathering agreed to extend full cooperation to the JCILPS to translate into action all the recommendations/resolutions adopted today.
The convention was attended by CSO leaders, student leaders, scholars, social activists and a large number of people.
Giving the key-note address of the convention, JCILPS co-convenor Ng Deva remarked that the MRNLP Bill 2016 formulated by the State Government has a predilection towards safeguarding the interests of non-local people rather than protecting the indigenous peoples.
The term ‘owner’ used in the Bill is quite ambiguous. Adoption of 1972 as cut off base year is not acceptable. The Bill has provisions for penalising defaulting owners but there is no such provision for non-Manipuris.
At the same time, the State Government is yet to translate into action the points of agreement it signed with JCILPS on August 25 last year, Deva said.
FECOGTA general secretary Dr L Somorendro, JAC Against the Announcement of Wanted Tag on JCILPS former Leader Kh Ratan media coordinator Thongam Dara, Senior Advocate Khaidem Mani, AMESCO advisor LS Guite, Advocate Rabi Khan, COHR chairman Phulindro Konsam and many others spoke at the convention.
JCILPS convenor in-charge BK Moirangcha said disappearance of Government documents cannot be an excuse for adopting 1972 as base year in place of 1952.