Testing time for Govt, people More stormy days ahead ?


ILPS Bill or a new Bill to check the entry and exit of non-local people will be ready soon. This was the Chief Minister while addressing the 70th Independence Day function at the 1st MR Parade ground on August 15. Fast forward to August 18 and a 48 hour bandh has been called to protest the arrest of Khomdram Ratan while he was taking part in a protest fast at Keishampat Leimajam Leikai in the dead of the night on August 17. Something is seriously wrong somewhere. The Government was acting in line with the wanted tag it patched onto Khomdram Ratan after a picture of him taking oath with the flag of a proscribed organisation went viral on the social media some time back. The important question is what next ? What will happen after the 48 hours bandh comes to an end ? Tough to say what will happen in the coming days, but the uncomfortable feeling that more stormy days are ahead cannot be simply brushed aside. And this is what is worrying. From a movement which is aimed at protecting the interests of the local people, today it has taken such a turn that it has the potential to pitchfork the Government with the people demanding the enactment of a legislation to protect the indigenous people from the incursion of non-local people into the State. This is one side of the coin, for remember the mortal remains of the nine people killed at Churachandpur after the three Bills were passed in the Assembly on August 31 last year are still lying in state.
The Government pulled apart in the hills and now in the valley and obviously Chief Minister O Ibobi must be a worried man. Still not clear how the Centre will respond to the next Bill once it is passed by the State Assembly. No one knows this, but the pitch is already high and the Churachandpur JAC has already announced that any Bill that goes against the interest of the tribals will be opposed tooth and nail. Not clear on what the stand of the Churachandpur JAC is on the Draft Bill which has already been made public, but the State Government need to proceed very carefully. It is also imperative that the Government puts its best foot forward on how to interact with the JCILPS now that its former convenor has been taken into custody. Not an easy task, but then it is expected of the Government to deal with all the issues sensitively and wisely.  The coming days will be tough, no doubt for it is more than clear that the Government will have to contend with both those who are demanding a Bill to check the incursion of non-local people into the State and with those who have made it clear that no Bill should hurt the interest of anyone, particularly the hill people. The next few days will be testing for the Government as well as for the people.


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