Eight bodies of the nine people killed in the Churachandpur protest against the three Bills passed by the State Assembly on August 31, 2015 finally laid to rest. Hopefully this should exorcise the ghost of the 2015 Bills, which the Joint Action Committee Against Anti-Tribal Bills (JACAATB) had dubbed as anti-tribals. Apart from the loss of precious lives, many more were wounded, some permanently, and the deep divide between the hills and the valley came to the fore in all its ugliness.
Apart from pointing out that certain due procedures were not followed while passing the three Bills, such as failing to consult the Hill Areas Committee before the Bills were passed, it is still not very clear to the public what other points were unacceptable to the people of Churachandpur. The path to the last rites of the eight bodies was paved with the BJP led Government inking an MoU with the Churachandpur JAC sometime back and while this will certainly add another feather in the cap of the BJP led Government, it would have been so much more positive if at least the other point or points which the Churachandpur JAC found unacceptable had been spelt out. This is important since it is imperative that the State Government does not do a repeat of the 2015 Bills. Now that the last rites of the eight bodies have been performed no efforts should be spared to ensure that the State does not see a repeat of the 2015 incident.
This is where the BJP led Government will need to tread very, very cautiously. The last rites of the eight people at Churachandpur should not lull anyone into believing that the demand that a mechanism or an ILP Bill to regulate the inflow of non-local people into the State has been dropped. The Joint Action Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) may raise the demand anytime and it remains to be seen how the BJP led Government deals with the issue. That a mechanism to check the inflow of non-local people is needed need not be overstated here and it is here that the BJP led Government will need to study the proposal that such a Bill be restricted only to the valley area, for it is the valley area which needs some sort of a protection.
The hills are already protected by the Constitution and forget about non-local people, even the valley people, meaning the Meiteis, cannot buy landed properties in the hill areas. An area which is already Constitutionally protected will not need another legislation and it is the valley area that needs this protection. The BJP led Government may consider this proposal with the seriousness it deserves. This is also a point which should not blow over the heads of the hill people.
Source: The Sangai Express