Failing to define who is a Manipuri Not enough homework done


Apparent that no homework was done before the three Bills were passed by the State Assembly on August 31 last year and later referred to the President for assent. Now that the respectable The Hindu has spelt out the factors why the President rejected the Protection of Manipur People’s Bill it should be more than clear that not enough homework was done before the Bill was passed in the Assembly. As The Hindu reported, fixing 1951 as the base year to define who is a Manipuri can be faulty as the Census exercise that year did not cover the entire State. Moreover no one knows whether the State Government has the record of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) of 1951. The State Government could not answer when a social activist filed an RTI application to find out where the NRC of 1951 was some time back. So on what basis did the State Government fix 1951 as the base year when so many things were not clear ? Clearly the Bills were passed in haste and the fruits are being reaped now by the people. Not questioning the intention of the Government for it was done to protect the interest of the indigenous people, but adequate homework should have been done before the Bills were passed. The Centre has also advised that the other two Bills, that is the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (7th Amendmend) Bill and the Manipur Shops and Establishments (2nd Amendment) Bill be referred to an expert committee and this should say something about the sloppy approach to the issue.
The way forward now should be to take all the people onboard. Consult all the stakeholders. This will definitely be the best way forward. At the moment no one seems to know what the future holds but to be sure the coming days will be stormy. With the Government announcing the wanted tag on former convenor of the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System Khomdram Ratan, a 48 hour bandh is underway. After this the theatre of action may shift to the hill districts where the nine people killed in police action are still lying in state. In the valley too, one student has already laid down his life in the course of the demand to implement the Inner Line Permit System or a similar mechanism to check the inflow of non-local people into the State. The situation is tense and what should ideally be seen as people demanding the Government to do something to check the inflow of non-local people into the State has today pitch forked the people against each other, exposing the deep trust deficit. Nothing can be more unfortunate than this and compounding the matter is the presence of a Government which has consistently failed to read the ground situation and act accordingly. For the moment, the finger of accusation ought to be pointed to the Government.


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