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Stop false propaganda on Manipur (Hill Areas) ADC Bill 2021: HAC members

Hill Areas Committee (HAC) members and others during the meeting, Ukhrul

Public consultative meeting held. The populace of Ukhrul had the opportunity to get more clarity on the Bill with comprehensive explanation by some of the MLAs from the Hill Areas. The existing Act, if it is of no use to tribals, it must be replaced and repealed for a better tomorrow was the opinion of the participants.

TFM Ukhrul Correspondent

A public consultative meeting in regards to the Hill Areas Committee recommended Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Council Bill 2021 was held on Wednesday at Town Hall, Ukhrul. The programme was organised by Tangkhul Mayar Ngala Long (TMNL) and around 1,500 people from different walks of life attended the programme.

Speaking at the programme, chairman of Hill Areas Committee (HAC) and MLA of 43-Phungyar Assembly Constituency Leishiyo Keishing said, “Election is a different issue. The recommended Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Council Bill 2021 is for the welfare of the tribal as a whole and it does not belong to any political party or individual.”  The leader of the house of Manipur Legislative Assembly is refusing to introduce the recommended Bill on the floor of the Assembly, he added.

He also said that “rights of the tribals have been trembled upon for many decades. ADC had been functioning toothless through grants of aid and mercy from the state government. There cannot be recruitment in the Hills when the ADC is in suspension. The objective of the Bill is to provide more autonomy to the HAC and ADC. False propaganda and misinformation must stop and it is time for the tribals to walk in one path.

“The power is given to HAC and not to individuals. The chairman is just to represent the committee. Economic planning for the hill areas has to be made by the HAC. In reality, it is done by others and not the HAC. Administration power is not given to HAC. There is no autonomy given to HAC or ADC. You have elected us by reposing your faith, we are doing what we ought to do. Unitedly, let us raise the issue, if you are really for the tribals. This is our right time, let us not retreat back but move forward unitedly.”

MLA of 59-Saikot Assembly Constituency TN Haokip recalled that “In the 90s, there was awakening in the HAC. The tribals for 20 years boycotted the ADC Election demanding that “No Sixth Schedule, No Election”. He remarked that “the Ibobi-led government was indifferent to the welfare of the tribal people. The centre had enquired the Ibobi-led government for not conducting ADC Election. The centre asked for re-recommendation from the state as a way out for conducting ADC Election. The plain majority objected to Sixth Schedule demand and gave a new face for holding ADC Election. Sorry for telling the truth. For the last ten years we have experimented and have found out that it has failed to translate into action and has totally failed on all fronts. After looking at the various loopholes, in principle, the HAC recommended ADC Bill 2021. HAC has proposed the said Bill after checking from various angles that it does not conflict with the various laws existing in the state. We seek an appointment with the CM. However, there was no positive response from the CM. Instead, nine non-tribals MLA were inducted as members of HAC. Which is a direct challenge to the constitution of India. Though the same order was kept in abeyance it is against the spirit of Indian Constitution.

“It is neither the fault of past tribal MLAs nor the fault of present tribal MLAs but purely the indifferent attitude of MLAs from the majority community. Collectively, we supported the 8th Schedule demand and achieved it. However, the tribal MLAs could not bring out the 6th Schedule as desired by the tribals because of the majority attitude. This was the reason why we have come out with the new proposed ADC Bill 2021. We were compelled to go to Delhi because the CM could not give us an appointment in this regard. We the tribal MLAs have done our part, it is now the duty of every tribal CSOs headed by ATSUM to materialise and achieve the goal.”

MLA of 44-Ukhrul Alfred Kanngam Arthur gave a thorough explanation to the content of the Bill. He remarked that “Everything is wrong in the hills. Why? Because of the system. Telangana is a state because the Constitution of India permits for creation of a new State under Article 3.”

“Why the delay in bringing out this Bill was some of the questions that are hovering in the air. Let me tell you, we have begun the process in 2017, we have raised the issue on the first day of the Assembly. On 10 February 2021, assurance was given on the floor by the CM to rectify the said matter by inviting experts. So far nothing has been done. Therefore, we were compelled to seek the intervention of the centre. It is not the individual who will give. It is the law of the land that will guarantee all we need. This is the system we are pressing for. There are 68 doctors in a 10km stretch in the valley whereas in Khangkhui PHC covering 120km we have had only one doctor since 2017. We are not to destroy Manipur but simply asking for our rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India. We have sacrificed everything to secure our future, for the well being of the people. Every single tribal MLAs have been working tirelessly to secure our rights and the support by tribal CSOs is wonderful. Your support keeps us going. All politicians are not thieves. And every politician is not elected for contract work.”

“When 25 departments were handed to ADC nobody said it was to break Manipur. Due to injustice done for 49 years on the tribal, the Bill is introduced as a necessity so that the tribal can live a dignified life in the future. We have never proposed extending Hills’ laws to the valley. If you feel that your lawmakers are hopeless, you are hopeless because it is you who sent the elected representatives.”

The consultative meeting was attended by leaders from ATSUM, ANSAM, TNL, Kuki Inpi, KSO, TKS, TMNL, TSL, TNWL, Tangkhul Longphangs and leaders from different political parties. Sitting MLA of 45-Chingai Assembly Constituency, Khashim Vashum could not attend the meeting due to his health problem informed sources close to him.

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