12-hour bandh in tribal areas of Manipur on Oct 7

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The Outer Manipur Tribal Forum (OMTF) and Joint Action Committee Against Anti Tribal Bills (JAC-AATB) have decided to call a12-hour “tribal areas” bandh on October 7 from 6:00 am to show resentment and displeasure to the Government of Manipur for its “indifferent attitude” towards the tribal community of Manipur. This decision was taken during a joint meeting of the two organizations on September 30.

The OMTF and JC-AATB said the joint meeting was held with the agenda of “prevailing situation” in Manipur especially on the “demand by valley people and proposed Non-Local People of Manipur Bill.”

The joint meeting stated that after minute and deliberate discussion on the new draft bill of the Government of Manipur, i.e., Non-Local People of Manipur, and Scheduled Tribe status demand by the Co-ordinating Body of Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee of Manipur, it resolved to call a 24-hour general strike in all the tribal areas of Manipur on October 7 from 6:00 am.

Another resolution of the joint meeting is to organise a joint tour programme in all “tribal areas” of Manipur to mobilise and spread awareness with regard to tribal constitutional rights and duties, atrocities and prejudice faced by the tribal community of Manipur.

The OMTF and JAC-AATB will have their awareness programmes at Motbung and Kangpokpi in Sadar Hills on October 8, Senapati on October 10, Ukhrul on October 12, Chandel on October 15, and Tamenglong on October 21.

It may be noted that on September 27, the OMTF and JAC-AATB had reiterated their stand to boycott all tribal MLAs and the lone MP from Manipur who allegedly failed to hear the cries of their people, besides banning Congress party in all tribal areas in Manipur. “These betrayers of the tribal peoples are banned from having any activity or movement in the tribal areas of Manipur, and that neither the forum nor the JAC shall be responsible for any untoward incident if they fail to comply with the ban,” they said of the politicians.

OMTF, a conglomerate of Hmar Inpui, Thadou Inpi Manipur, Mizo People Convention, United Naga Council, and Zomi Council, and the JAC-AATB said that the boycott decision was taken during a joint meeting held at Haokip Veng, Imphal on July 18 last, the joint statement said.

The July 18 joint meeting also resolved that any individual or organization aiding, cooperating or standing with these individuals will be branded as “anti-tribal” and shall be at their own risk, the joint press release said.

It said the Congress party was solely responsible for drafting, introducing and passing of the three “anti-tribal bills” in the state assembly on August 30 last. The joint meeting also resolved to boycott the national political party in all tribal areas of Manipur from July 18 last.

Any political party, whether national or regional, which works against the interest of the tribal peoples shall face the same fate as that of the Congress Party, another resolution of the meeting said.

According to the joint statement, individuals, organisations and political parties betraying the indigenous peoples shall have no place in the tribal areas in “present Manipur.”

“The struggle for self-determination of the indigenous peoples in present Manipur that began with the spontaneous reaction that erupted after the passing of the three ‘anti-tribal bills’ by the Congress-led Manipur government has already crossed one year,” it said. “Yet, even after a year of unflinching agitation, both the Central and state governments have refused to take any genuine step to address the grievances of the tribal community.”

“The dominant valley-dwelling community of present Manipur in connivance with the communal Manipur government has been gearing up for inclusion of the Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribe list as a continuation of their policies to annex tribal lands and grab the meager privileges bestowed on the tribal peoples,” the joint statement alleged.

As part of the ongoing fight for tribal rights and identity, the OMTF and JAC-AATB also submitted a joint memorandum to the Prime Minister today to oppose the demand for the Scheduled Tribe status by the “valley-dwelling Meitei community and shall continue to resist such sinister design in the days to come,” according to the joint statement.

The forum and JAC said they “are committed to safeguard tribal ancestral lands, tribal rights and identity and shall leave no stone unturned in their ongoing effort to ensure an inclusive and promising future for all the tribal communities and an administrative setup separate from the ambit of the present Manipur government.”

News Source: Morung Express

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