IMPHAL, July 16: The Committee on Protection of Tribal Areas, Manipur (COPTAM) strongly condemn the statement of the Revenue Minister Th Debendra Singh on the floor of the just concluded assembly session that MLR & LR Act would be extended in the hill areas of Manipur.
According to a release of COPTAM, the minister should not forget that the Constitution of India provides for protection and safeguarding of Tribal Land, customs, cultures and rights etc. As such, any plan to extend MLR & LR Act in the hill areas amounts to encroachment on Tribal land which is totally unlawful and unconstitutional. COPTAM will vehemently oppose the attempt to extend the Act in Hills/Tribal areas of Manipur.
COPTAM also vehemently denounces the decision of the State Cabinet to conduct hill land survey. The Tribals, since time immemorial have strong and rigid traditional land holding system which is based on customary practice of each tribe. All the land in Hill areas are owned and managed by village chiefs within their jurisdictions. Each village has a clear-cut land boundary with their respective neighbouring villages. So, the plan of the State Government to conduct land survey in hill areas is totally unreasonable which is also not feasible.
It has furthest said that all land records should be transferred to the respective Blocks/Districts immediately. However, the state government still remain indifferent to this demand till date. On the contrary, the state government now plans to conduct hill land survey, which is a direct challenge to the interest of the Tribal people.
COPTAM has appealed to the state government and all right-thinking citizens to ensure that each and every communities living in Manipur should avail of their rights and privileges as per law for strengthening emotional integrity in state interest.