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Pulling in opposing directions Deep hill-valley divide

Pulling in opposing directions
Deep hill-valley divide
12 hours bandh called in the hill areas of the State to denounce the alleged indifference of the State Government to the plight of the tribals. Women wing of the Joint Inner Line Permit System swooping down on the residences of MLAs to demand that a fresh Bill be passed to regulate the inflow of non-local people into the State. Central to all this is the diametrically opposing stand adopted in the valley area of the State and the hill districts. Not that there were no differences in the past, but these differences came out in all its ugliness after the State Assembly passed the three Bills in the Assembly on August 31 last year. No indication that any sincere effort is being made to iron out the differences across the negotiating table and this is best exemplified by the fact that the bodies of the nine people killed during the protest against the three Bills last year are still lying in state at Churachandpur. This is where the civil society organisations on either side of the Bill divide need to sit down and talk things over. This is the least that can be done for the departed souls as well as for their families. Finding the meeting point is obviously the first step and this is where it needs to be asked whether any sincere efforts have been made to find the meeting point. Will not serve the interest of anyone if both sides continue to blindly pursue their own agenda for after all the issue is about the people of the land.
If the JCILPS is talking about the need to protect the indigenous people of the land, the Churachandpur JAC and the others are talking about the need to protect the interests of the tribal people. This two stand cannot be on a collision course, for both are all about securing the future of the people and obviously the land. However going by the present look of the situation, it appears that the two sides cannot see eye to eye on any point and this is where it becomes obvious that there is a huge communication gap between the people. How did things come to such a pass ? That the hills and the valley have never seen eye to eye on many issues is obvious to all and what is happening at Manipur University is an apt example. Something, somewhere is obviously wrong but this should not be the reason to continue with the diametrically opposing view points. Efforts need to be taken up to see each others’ point of view and see where a meeting point can be scripted. The first is to admit that nothing is right between the different communities. Admit this, then see how things can be improved. Sweeping this under some high sounding slogans will not do. The past is the evidence of this.



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