Student bodies seek PM’s intervention on Manipur situation

Guwahati, Sep 9 – A number of tribal students bodies of Assam’s Karbi Anglong district have sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention in the prevailing situation in Manipur due to three controversial bills being passed in the Manipur state assembly.

In a joint memorandum, the Karbi Students’ Association, the Rengma Naga Students’ Union, the Hmar Students’ Union, the Kuki Students’ Union, the Students’ and Youth Council, and the Khasi Students’ Union have appealed to the prime minister to look into the problems faced by their fellow tribal indigenous people in Manipur.

At least nine people were killed and 20 seriously injured after violence erupted last week following the Manipur government’s adoption of three landmark bills – Protection of Manipur People Bill 2015, Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Bill 2015, and Manipur Shops and Establishment Bill 2015.

The bills were unanimously passed in the assembly on August 31 after the ruling Congress signed an agreement with the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) on August 25 to enact three laws to protect the interests of the indigenous people.

The JCILPS had been spearheading a month-long agitation, demanding an inner line permit system in the state similar to ones in force in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland.

However, the state’s hill tribes have claimed that the three bills would directly undermine the existing safeguards for the tribal hill areas regarding land-ownership and population influx as the primary threat for the tribal people came not from outside the state but the Meitei people from the valley itself.

In the memorandum, addressed to Modi and submitted to the Karbi Anglong deputy commissioner on Tuesday, the students’ bodies held Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh responsible for the loss of the nine lives and condemned his anti-tribal policy.

As such, he (Singh) has no moral right to continue as the chief minister and he should step down to restore peace and harmony in Manipur state, it stated.

The memorandum urged the central government to immediately intervene on the bills in question and request the government of Manipur to repeal or revoke the said amended bills which affect tribal rights.

We also want you to address the issues raised by the tribal people of the state in particular and the northeastern states in general which is to protect the lives and properties of the tribal indigenous people from such type of government set-ups, it said, adding that the tribal people could govern themselves and determine their future freely.