All eyes on Govt ahead of fresh Bill Why not a Bill only for valley ?


Now that the Assembly session has been adjourned sine die, attention will be on how the Government proceeds with the task of drafting a fresh bill and introduce it in the House for its passage. That the State Government is intent on coming out with a Bill is underlined by the statement of the Chief Minister that the Government is working on introducing a Bill soon. The move of the Government will be watched keenly by all sections of the society, particularly those clamouring for such a Bill to check the large scale influx of non-local people into the State and those who have already rung out the message that any Bill that is sought to be passed in the Assembly should not be against the interest of the tribals. This must have been noted by the Government, particularly in the backdrop of the fact that the three Bills passed by the Assembly last year on August 31 had led to massive protest in Churachandpur. And remember the bodies of the nine men killed at Churachandpur are still lying in state. One demanding a fresh Bill and one demanding that the interest of the tribals should not be violated. It is between these two extremes that the State Government will have to walk and it will be interesting to see how it manages to please both sides. A number of tribal organisations have already stated their stand, but not all of them have been able to pin point any clause in the Draft Bill that may work against the interest of the tribals or any community of the land. Surely this is not enough, for it is only right that such clauses which are deemed to be against the interest of the tribals should be pointed out for rectification.
So while both sides have had their say, with the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System even coming out with their own Draft Bill, it is still not clear whether Delhi will give its nod to a fresh Bill. This may be a matter concerning the Government, both at Delhi as well as at Imphal, but it is interesting to note that not much thought seems to have been given to this. So while no one knows how the Centre will respond to a new Bill, already the two sides on either side of the Bill divide have made their stand known. And both seem to be strong stands. This is where the State Government may listen to the suggestion that the Bill should be applicable only to the valley area and not the whole State. After all it is the valley area which has no Constitutional safeguards and anyone can come and settle here and even buy landed properties. The hills on the other hand have more than enough Constitutional safeguards and forget the non-local people, even the valley people, that is the Meiteis, cannot buy landed properties there. The hill people too should understand this. The large scale influx of non-local people can pose a threat to the valley and this is why the cry for a Bill to regulate the entry of non-local people has been rung out. This is a point which should not be lost on anyone.


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