Presenting the Draft Bill to the people Out PMP in MRNLP

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Out Protection of Manipur People Bill (PMP) and in Manipur Regulation of Non-Local People Act (MRNLP). This is a development but the matter of greater import is whether New Delhi will give the nod and get the Bill enacted or not. More importantly will the new Bill be acceptable to all the people ? The latter question is important given the fact that the three Bills which were passed by the State Assembly on August 31 last year had torn the people apart widely. The bodies of the nine people killed at Churachandpur in protest against the three Bills are still lying in state and it is not clear when the last rites of the departed souls will be performed. Significantly the Government this time has realised the infeasibility and probably the primary reason of the last three Bills and has now kept the base year of defining a local person at 1972 and not 1951 as was the case in the earlier Bill. This is obviously a significant improvement from the last Bill, for remember an RTI application filed by a social worker had revealed that the National Register of Citizens of 1951 was not available with the State Government. Keeping the base year at 1972 is a move in the right direction. Even the Government of Assam had to move to 1971 or 1972, as the earlier base year was not feasible. Another significant development is the decision of the Government to invite public opinion on the Draft Bill on or before August 24.
This is the reason why The Sangai Express had carried the full text of the Draft Bill in its August 11 edition of the paper. Let everyone study the Draft Bill and accordingly express their opinion. The primary agenda of coming out with the Draft Bill is obviously to secure the future of the local people and the land. This is an issue where the local people should come together and join hands. If there is anything in the Draft Bill which is not clear then let the people spell it out and accordingly submit their observation. The importance of the proposed new legislation should not be lost on anyone. It is about the future of the land and the people and let everyone come forward and be a part of the process of drafting the new legislation. The Churachandpur JAC too should study the Draft Bill minutely and see if there is any point which may be construed as going against the interest of any particular community. Let everyone remove the blinkers from their eyes and look at things objectively. Absolutely makes no sense to drive the local people apart on an issue which is all about protecting the interests of the local people. The issue should be understood objectively. The Government has come out with its Draft Bill and it is only right that the people too respond responsibly.

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