By Ngahanyui Zimik
The CM of Manipur has firmly strategised upon and effected his biggest political manoeuvring ,-propelled by his sharp political instincts- by bringing an all-Party delegation to Delhi to launch a campaign in favour of the 3 anti-tribal ,unconstitutional Bills Bills passed by the Legislative Assembly of Manipur in August 2015.
How effective and how consequential, his political entourage will be vis-a-vis the Political masterstroke of the man at the helm/cusp of affairs in Lodhi garden of the GPRN ,- who has had a battle of attrition with the Government of India for nearly 2 decades-is for the foreseeable time to reveal.
The 3 anti-tribal Bills were passed by Manipur Assembly on 31st August as a quick and immediate response to the Naga Accord of 3rd August.
Considering that the effective implementation of the said Accord is at hand, it should not come as a surprise that the Government of Manipur has just launched a Counter-offensive drive under its C M to stave -off the game- plan .
The 3 anti-tribal , unconstitutional ,extremely controvial, highly polarising, immensely provocative and partisan/divisive Bills, wrapped in Communal overtones, should be withdrawn by the Government of Manipur, if it does not want to undertake a disastrous path to its own self-destruction.
Any society that is destroyed by its own contradictions and paradoxes will never rise again, unlike a society that is conquered , can always make a comeback and secure political redemption or salvation.
Why are the 3 Bills overtly anti-tribal ?.
Firstly, all the 3 Bills were introduced by the Meiteis.
The most important Bill i.e, Protection of Manipur Peoples Bill 2015, which is an Original Bill and not an Amendment like the other two,was introduced by the CM of Manipur.
The Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Bill- 7th Amendment-2015 , was introduced by another Meitei MLA, the Revenue Minister .
The Manipur Shops and Establishment Bill -2nd Amendment Bill-2015 was also introduced by the Labour Minister , another Meitei MLA.
Secondly, all Bills except Money Bills ,before being tabled in the Assembly has to be presented to the Hill Areas Committee-HAC for consideration and deliberation- Manipur Hill Areas Committee(H AC) Order 1972.
The Govt brushed it aside and introduced the 3 Bills pretentiously as Money bills ,assuming the less-educated tribal MLAs would not even care to understand the fine -print of the texts and their repercussions and ramifications.
The Meiteis have a knack of being arrogant to an extend that they assume to have a foreknowledge of what the tribals really want or are aspiring for or ought to have.
With due regard to many brave, less-than fully knowledgeable and dedicated Nagas, who are in doubt about the legitimacy of this struggle of the tribals of Manipur, here is a layman’s simplification of the contents of the 3 Bills.
FIRSTLY, the Protection of Manipur Peoples Bill-2015-ORIGINAL BILL.
As per the content of this Bill, in order that one is not dubbed or re-branded or reclassified as non-indigenous, non-native,foreigner , illegal migrant or refugee in our own state of Manipur,he/she has or his/her ancestors have to be enumerated in all the three-( let me reiterate again, all the 3 and not just 1)- Official Records viz-National Registry of Citizens 1951, the Census Records 1951 and the Village Directory therein.
However, Manipur achieved its statehood only in 1972 and there is no evidence of proper documentation of the state population prior to that.
There used to be only one DC in Imphal in the 1950s and many villagers of the Hills never really cared to come down to the valley , to register themselves in the Official Records.
There are some Kuki Villages where more than 90% of the Villagers are not enumerated in the official record system of the state.
In other words, thousands of Nagas and Kukis will be classified as refugees or non-indigenous in the new scheme of things that are structured to be worked out.
Herein comes the necessity of contextualization vis-a-vis the demand of the Meiteis is re-naming Manipur as a ‘small Hill-state’ ,demand for the introduction of ILP in MANIPUR and recognition of the ST claim of the Meiteis, all of which gets coagulated into a gigantic political strategy to assert an unimaginable level of control and pre-dominance of the Meiteis in Manipur , to a level never conceived , thought of and seen before.
The Act of the British government in 1919 coined the typography- ‘Backward Tracts’- beyond the Inner Line were also considered as unadministered, non-revenue areas.
By GOI Act 1935, these areas were re-christened as ‘Excluded Areas’ and ‘partially excluded areas’.
The ‘partially excluded areas’ had a partial- representative system in a manner that some persons from those areas were nominated by the Governor ,but unelected.
The valley areas of the present state of Manipur came under the Provincial govt. ,some areas under the President of the Manipur State Durbar(PMSD) and some were the ‘Excluded Areas’ like other Naga areas, totally unadministered.
Now, the folly of the political conspiracy lies here.
Many Nagas and Kukis are not in the Official Records.
Secondly, if ILP is introduced, then through re-interpretation and geographical re-structuralization, an attempt would be made to classify many Tribals outside the Valley districts, as illegal migrants, by the state of Manipur , or if not, many Tangkhuls will be considered refugees who poured in from ‘Somra Tracts’ and many of the Kukis who poured in from the Chin state of Myanmar.
I still remember why the Meiteis actually instigated the Kukis that 60% of the Patta- lands in Ukhrul , belongs to the Kuki Chiefs, not realising that the British invaded -not conquered- the Tangkhul Region through the Kuki warriors who were armed by the British with modern Rifles in the early 20th century.
The whole thing about ILP as an instrument to protect the outsiders is mere gimmick.
Outsiders-Biharis or Sikhs or Bengalis- are not in a competition with Manipuris for jobs in the government.
These so- called ‘mainlanders’ cannot even purchase lands in Manipur.
In a nutshell, the whole ILP agitation is not geared towards the ‘mainlanders’ ,rather more focussed on renaming, re-classifying the tribals of Manipur, in order that the valley-inhabitants could go on a massive territorial expansionist policy upon the Hill-region.
ARAMBAM LOKENDRO, a pucca Meitei intellectual based in London, drafted the Memorandum of the JCILPS and is openly supporting the CORCOM,- the modus operandi/SOP of which , is for all to see.
The aforementioned intellectual, even opined that the 3 Bills not being considered by the HAC first, is just a slight error in technicality.
The Deputy CM of the state has even launched a broadside against the habit of ‘skim-reading’ of the Bills.
Well he should have been aware of the over-arching purpose of the 3 Bills, because the devil lies in the details and the specifics.
There is even a standing MLA who said that there are NO NAGAS IN MANIPUR.
Is this ethnic-cleansing political motive?.
I am reminded of SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC of Yugoslavia , whom Bill Clinton said he was the coldest person he ever met in his entire life.
SECONDLY, the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Bill-7th Amendment .
The Act was passed by the Union Government in 1960 when Manipur was only a UT and not a state.
It was initially meant only for the Valley districts and was a kind of a modern, civil land tenurial system, forming a Revenue district.
That Act has undergone many changes.
Through amendments, many Wetlands that were under the Naga areas were incorporated into the Valley districts.
Even now, there are a few Tangkhul Villages under Imphal East district.
Prior to this Amendment, no Meitei caN come and purchase land without the permission of the DC and the ADCs-formed in 1971 -in the tribal areas.
Hence our protection was guaranteed .
Now seemingly, if a Meitei wants to purchase land , in say, a MAO NAGA VILLAGE, a nod of the state cabinet would suffice to make it happen.
Under this new amendment, the tribals of Manipur will lose their last line of defence against the outsiders.
I am reminded of a journalist who confessed that, on his recent tour to CHATTISGARH, many govt- servants confessed discreetly, about how many of the tribal -lands would be sold away by the insensitive state government to mining corporations, if the NAXALS had not been around to defend themselves.
The Meiteis can well guard themselves in their own shrinking ground, which constitute 10% of the total geographical area of the state.
LET it be understood that —
For as long as 80% of the state budget gets consumed by the valley, for as long as the tribals are fed and funded, only by the non-Finance Commission transfers or through the CSS-Centrally sponsored scheme-rather than doling out of the state funds, for as long as the tribals have no access to jobs in the government, for as long as all hospitals and institutes come up only in the Valley, for as long as tribals of Manipur who constitute 49% of the state population have only 19 MLAs out of a total of 60, and the stalling of the delimitation Commission in 2008 delegitimising the claim of the civil administrations of the various hill districts about population Census figures, it shall be clear in the minds of the tribals of Manipur that they will continue to fight, defend and still die in hundreds , if need be, to safeguard our God-Given right of HOMELAND in one of the forgotten- corners of the Earth.
TO DIE FOR IT SHALL BE OUR BIRTHRIGHT.
THIRDLY, the Manipur Shops and Establishments aCT-2nd amendment.
If it is at all implemented,- suffice to say,- no NAGA or Kuki or no Naga-owned or Kuki- owned firms or entities will have the right to establish businesses in the city of Imphal, if you have not been domiciled in all the 3 Records or Registers.
The state government of Manipur is at its wits-end, having realised the significance of the NAGA PEACE ACCORD, wherein the ADCs under the 6th schedule-which is possibly one of the contents of the Accord- would in the future , establish direct control of all the Hill areas of Manipur .
In other words, the PAN NAGA HOHO, which will be an elected National Assembly of all Nagas, will in the foreseeable future, establish its suzerainty on all of Nagalim , in lieu of the recognition of the principle of SHARED SOVEREIGNTY by the Government of India.
Considering the NDA has the support of 163 MPs in the Rajya Sabha ,with 12 AIADMK MPs likely to support the Naga Peace Accord- which would effect a major Constitutional Amendment -it is quite likely that , the implementation of the fine-print of the Accord, is just a matter of time, considering the GST Bill—touted as the mother of all Tax Reforms since 1947— which would bring about a single common market in India and a unified tax structure, is likely to be passed in the monsoon session of the Parliament.
However, it is important for the Nagas to remain somewhat subdued, well- calculative and not be over-impulsive to minute or small political currents or events or we risk converting ourselves into a SUCTION FORCE for all negative opinions from our neighbours.
By Ngahanyui Zimik