The day was observed at the Churachandpur College campus with hundreds, including leaders of apex bodies of major tribes, in attendance.
However, in an unfortunate incident member of Bodo Territorial Council, Assam Bishwarjit Daimary who was supposed to attend the observance as the chief guest had to turn back following opposition from a group of womenfolk at Koite Village along the Teddim Road.
Daimary who was coming along with a team of United Naga Council representatives to attend the tribal unity day was stopped at the village by womenfolk who laid down on the road in front of his vehicle.
Meanwhile, at today’s observance, chief convenor of the JAC Mangchinkhup Hauzel delivered the key-note address and said he has the highest respect for the nine “martyrs”.
He said “Till you continue to support us we will lead you, though we have not yet tasted victory, but the Manipur government is our greatest enemy and they are frustrated while trying to break our unity and goal and playing divide and rule policy but have failed to dampen our resolve as of now.”
“We have been neglected in our struggle to have autonomy…”, he said continuing if we are not united in our struggle, we may not have much time, as our enemy, the government, is very strong, and if we entrust the JAC alone to fight we will not survive.
It is time to act to protect our land we inherited from our forefather, he added.
The three bills are politics and we have to fight politically for which our ADC “Churachandpur members have a major role to play and I request them to do their utmost,” he said.
“We have to heal our wound and not content with pain reliever. We have to have more intense effort after we missed some chances in the past.”
Although representatives of the Outer Manipur Tribal Forum could not attend the observance, the chief-convenor read out its resolutions which said the tribals were always suppressed and manipulated, but we will always support this call for unity among the tribals of Manipur and beyond.
Meanwhile, the eight who were injured in last year’s agitation against the three bills were also felicitated during the programme.
Zomi Council chairman S Dongzalian said the hills and valley and their politics are different.
Thadou Innpi president James Thadou said that Thadous in Sadar hills and other place are fully with the tribal unity and those who are opposing the ‘tribal movement’ are worst than animal who know their folk and stay united.
He said he is referring to the section of tribals who are opposing the movement.
He added this opposition is shameful, when the emphasis should be for the tribals to stay united and keep the momentum going.
Hmar Innpui president Joseph Lalrouthang said “We stand here united and those who can’t come today and oppose us are our brothers, who are just misguided, and we await their change of heart from being misguided.”
“Among our Hmar community we have many orgnisations and groups but the huge majority are for tribal unity” he said.
Meanwhile, the Outer Manipur Tribals’ Forum, a conglomeration of Hmar Inpui, Thadou Inpi Manipur, Mizo People Convention, United Naga Council, Zomi Council and the JAC formed against the three bills committed to promote solidarity, strengthen harmony and improve mutual understanding in the true spirit of brotherhood for promoting human dignity and peaceful co-existence to pursue a rightful and honourable place.
It further committed to defend and fight collectively any eventuality that undermine the rights and interests of indigenous tribal peoples, and that any bill or resolution that is detrimental to the rights over land, history, identity, cultures and customs of the indigenous tribal peoples introduced and passed in the state legislative assembly shall never be accepted under any circumstances and that the tribal MLAs and MP of the Indian National Congress and any political party who work against the interest of the indigenous tribal peoples and carry out any form of political activities affecting the tribal territory of the state have be considered as anti-tribal.