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Corrected book chapter of the book, ” Claims and Refutations: Compilations on Inner Line Permit System

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Name of the Book: Claims and Refutations: Compilations on Inner Line Permit System

Edited by Homen Thangjam, Shukhdeba Sharma Hanjabam, Aheibam Koireng Singh

Published by Centre for Manipur Studiies, Manipur University, 2016

SECTION D: REVIEW OF THE CONCERNS

Chapter – 49: All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM)[*]

Section A: Appeal for Implementation of ILPS

Before the passing of the 3(three) bills in the Special Session of the Manipur State Legislative Assembly on August 31, 2015 ATSUM submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister of Manipur on August 25, 2015. It recommended 2(two) procedures to be followed step by step by the Government of Manipur to diffuse tension prevailing in the State to effectively address the grievances of the JClLPS, maintain public tranquillity and return to normalcy.

Step 1: Extend the existing ILPS Act to Manipur to stop further entry of non-natives/non-locals.

Step 2: Formation of a fully represented committee to examine the demographic impact of existing non-Iocals/non-natives in the State. As this exercise would take time, the involvement of local public in the form of agitation would paralyze the State for months/years and would have serious adverse impact on the State socially, economically and politically. Also the Hill Area Committee would have to be involved if the tribal areas are covered.

It appealed that the second step cannot and should not be taken up before or together with step 1 under any circumstances. But reading the prevailing mood of the people (especially of the CHIKUMI) it reiterated its position and submitted a memorandum to Shri Dr. Syed Ahmed, Hon’ble Governor of Manipur in August 2015. It expressed its position and apprehension with regard to the “likely” introduction a Bill rechristened as ‘The Protection of Manipur People Bill, 2015’ in the Manipur Legislative Assembly. In this memorandum

ATSUM demanded that the consent and approval of the Hill Areas Committee (HAC) might and also to make an official executive order so as to implement the power and function of the HAC independently as per Article 371C and to cause the Governor of Manipur to exercise his discretion in the spirit of Article 371(2); 371A (1(b); 371C(1) and 371F(g) to secure the proper functioning of the Hills Areas Committee.

Then, after the 3(three) bills – the Protection of Manipur People Bill, 2015, the Manipur Land Revenue & Land Reforms (Seventh Amendment) Bill 2015 and the Manipur Shops and Establishments (2nd Amendment 2015) – were passed on 31st August 2015 during the special session of the Manipur Legislative Assembly, ATSUM submitted a memorandum to Shri. Dr. Syed Ahmed, Governor of Manipur on September 5, 2015. Points raised by ATSUM and response of the authors are enumerated below.

ATSUM: The proposed Bill, is being drafted as per the wish and whims of JCILPS without any representation from the tribal Assembly Members

EDITORS: The Committee of the ILPS has representation from the hills community such as Kom, Kabui, Thadou Kuki, Anal, etc. version

ATSUM: Historically, the Hill tribes in the present Manipur were never ruled by the Manipur Rajas. In fact, it was the British who brought the hill areas within the fold of Manipur and engaged with them indirectly through the British Political Agent. Even after Manipur was annexed after the Palace Uprising (1891), the hill areas was not brought under the Raja, but kept under the President of Darbar, the post reserved for a British Officer. Only after the Kuki Uprising (1917-1919), the British introduced new administrative arrangement for the hill areas by dividing into 4 (four) Sub – Divisions – each with a British Officer In-charge stationed at the sub-division Headquarters; Through the said system of administration it was changed from time-to-time, the separate administrative governance was continued even after the Manipur Merger Agreement was signed with the Government of India in 1949. In short the tribal people of Manipur are under separate administrative setup since British era and, much before the Indian Independence (1947) or the Merger Agreement of Manipur to the Union of India in 1949.

EDITORS: Please refer the notes on JACATB and ZC ATSUM: When Manipur was about to be conferred statehood in 1972, there was an apprehension that the interest of the tribal would be at stake. So, the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council Act, 1971 was enacted by the Parliament to address the issue as a measure.

The Hill Areas of Manipur and its people are also protected by the Hill Areas Committee which is constitutionally envisaged under Article 371C of the Indian Constitution. But as this Committee has no longer Legislative and Judiciary powers, it cannot function to its intended provision of safeguarding the interest of the tribal in the Hill Areas of Manipur

EDITORS: Article 371C grants special provision with respect to the State of Manipur. Clause 1 states, “AII Scheduled Matters in so far as they relate to the Hill Areas shall be within the purview of the Hill Areas Committee”. Further, Clause 2 states that “Every bill, other than a Money Bill, affecting wholly or partly the Hill Areas and containing mainly provisions dealing with any of the scheduled matters shall, after introduction in the Assembly, be referred to the Hill Areas Committee (HAC) for consideration and report to the Assembly”. However, as pointed out by ATSUM, “Committee has no longer Legislative and Judiciary powers, it cannot function to its intended provision of safeguarding the interest of the tribal in the Hill Areas of Manipur”, suggest that hill areas in Manipur are under the Government of Manipur and are part and parcel of the administrative set up of the state. Historical and geographical factors, the manner in which peoples in the hills and valley have evolved together the stood in the way of political demands (separate administrative unit and autonomy) of the politically motivated sections of the hill people.

ATSUM: Given the background of the tribal people, who are being marginalized in their ancestral homeland due to absence and lack of political autonomy to safeguard their interest like other people in the Northeast India, the demands for Inner Line Permit System (ILPS) and Schedule Tribe (ST) status for the already advanced Meitei community’s declaration of the whole of Manipur as a Hill State/Tribal State’, and extension of Manipur Land Revenue & Land Reform Act 1960) to the whole state of Manipur are all ambiguous and not appropriate at all. These demands are designed with an intention to empower the dominant community against the interest of the minority tribals.

EDITORS: Please refer the notes on JACATB and ZC to clear the doubt that the tribal people has never been marginalized in Manipur. We still takes the stand that demand for Inner Line Permit System (ILPS) is for the protection of the peoples of Manipur. None has declared the whole of Manipur as a Hill State/Tribal State. Hill state was used in the Bills stating a geographical fact. Please read the context in which the words were used. Further, nowhere in the Bills there is mention about the extension of Manipur Land Revenue & Land Reform Act 1960 to the whole state of Manipur. There is only mention about the applicability of the three bills in the whole state of Manipur.

Therefore, the allegations of ATSUM that the demands of JCILPS are designed with an intention to empower the dominant community against the interest of the minority tribals is completely false.

ATSUM: The tribal of Manipur and its mandated Civil Societies (Students, Youth, Women, Chiefs and the Apex Bodies) are not at all consulted by the JCILPS before launching their intensive movement the State Cabinet also did not have the courtesy to consult the Hill Areas Committee even though the issue is much of relevance to the hill-tribal people as it is for the plain people of Manipur. The student wing of the JCILPS did not have the courtesy of at least informing the ATSUM of their involvement in the movement

EDITORS: ATSUM would not have submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister of Manipur on August 25, 2015 demanding implementation of ILPS if it was not consulted by JCILPS. Further, the Government of Manipur inviting cooperation from the people of Manipur on the 5(five) points raised by JCILPS and Government action taken thus far on the same in the local dailies on August 17, 2015. The whole process was transparent right from the beginning. There was no point in consulting the HAC as the proposed bills were in the nature of money bills. Last but not the least the MLAs from the hill constituencies including the Deputy Chief Minister who is a tribal were very much part and parcel of the drafting process (debate and discussion included) of the 3(three) bills. Thus, to allege that the tribal were nowhere involved in the proposed ILPS, even if it is passed by the Manipur Legislative Assembly, and that it should cover Valley Areas only as it was proposed and propagated by the Meiteis of the valley is a communal charge. Further, the allegation that enforcement of ILPS would certainly pave way for marginalization of the hill tribals and alienation from their “ancestral” land is simply baseless and without reason.

ATSUM: Manipur Legislative Assembly committed grave constitutional blunder intentionally as it did not follow the mandatory Rules of Procedures and Conduct of Business under Section 4, Clause 1 and 2 of the Manipur Legislative Assembly envisaged under Article 371C of the Indian Constitution. It can be noted here, that the above-mentioned Rules of Procedures and Conduct of Business had been clearly violated as the three Bills were neither referred to the Hill Area Committee (HAC) nor considered by the latter  before introduction and passing of the said Bills.

EDITORS: This has already been explained. As the 3(three) bills were money bills under 371C(2)[*], there is no justice in referring to the  Hill Areas Committee (HAC) for consideration and report to the Assembly, after the bills were introduction in the Assembly.

ATSUM: Section 2 of the Protection of Manipur People’s Bill, 2015 states, “It shall extend to the whole of Manipur” means the entire geographical area including the Hills Area. Therefore, the sentence should be changed to: It shall extend only to the four Valley Districts of Manipur. (Subject of the HAC).

EDITORS: This has already been explained above.

ATSUM: Controversial definition of the “Manipur People” and the undefined meaning of Native People, in the Bill under Section 2 Sub Clause (b) with reference to the base year i.e. the National Registry of citizens 1951, Census Report 1951 and Village Directory of 1951. Based on this parameter, 80 percent of the villages in the Hill areas would be rendered unofficial and liable to be derecognized by the Government.

EDITORS: Please refer the notes on ZC. At the same we place few clarifications below. Section 2 of the PMP Bill 2015 states: (b) “Manipur people” means persons of Manipur whose names are in the National Register of Citizens, 1951, Census Report 1951 and Village Directory of 1951 and their descendants who have contributed collective Social, cultural and economic life of Manipur;

(c) “Non-Manipur persons” means a person who is not covered by Clause (b) of Section 2, and who intends to visit the State of Manipur with a Pass , issued under sub-section (4) of section 4;” It is clarified that Section 2 (b) is intended for outsiders/non Manipur persons who migrated into the State since 1951 and does not apply to the people of Manipur who were born and lived in the State. This is clearly explained in Section 8 (a) and (b) of the act which is reproduced below:

Section 8 of the Act states:

The provisions of this Act shall not apply to:

  1. a) the native people of the State of Manipur;
  2. b) persons employed in connection with affairs of the Union Government, the, State Government, Public Undertaking and persons employed by a local authority, high dignitaries, students of educational institutions situated in the State or such other persons as may be determined by the State Government from time to time.”

It is also clarified that under Section 8(a) native people includes all sections/tribes living in Manipur (hills and valley). And hence, the apprehension that the tribal people who were then residing but not registered in the Census of 1951 cannot live in Manipur is totally false and misleading.

Section 8(b) provides those who are exempted from the provisions of the Act which includes persons employed by the Union or State Government and other Public Undertakings, non Manipur students of educational institutions, etc as may be determined by the State Government from time to time.

The base year 1951 was arrived only for the purpose of registering Non-Manipur people who enter the State in order to prevent further influx of outsiders which is clearly defined in Section 4(1) of the Act as given below:

“Section 4(l) At the commencement of this Act, every Non-Manipur person entering the State shall register himself with the registration authority designated under Sub-section (3) of this Section.

In case the above clarification is still found to be unsatisfactory, it is appealed that further amendment to the Act can be carried out if the details of the provisions which are considered affecting the people of the hill areas are clearly brought out. Hence, the allegations that Manipur people is not defined is baseless. Obviously yes, outsider who enter Manipur after 1951 will obviously be non Manipuris. As far as fear such as “80 percent of the villages in the Hill areas would be rendered unofficial and liable to be derecognized by the Government”, please refer the notes on ZC.

ATSUM: Registration of Citizens and census Report in the Hills fallswithin purview of the HAC for consideration because the “Second Scheduled” of the Manipur Legislative Assembly HAC order 1972 which reads, “The Establishment of Village committee or Councils and other matter relating to village administration and abolition of villages and counting of the numbers of villages in the matter of payment of Hill House tax are made by the respective village headmen/Chiefs as per item No.9 of the said scheduled matters (HAC)”. The Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (7th Amendment) Bill, 2015, Bill No. 17 of 2015. In the statement of objects and reasons appeared in the third line of the  ill, five Hill Districts are mentioned which as a matter of fact is within the purview of the HAC. Section 14B page 3 of the Bill which empowered the State Cabinet to approve purchase of any land in the state is a complete disregard to the power and function of the HAC, which is the sole authority in matters pertaining to Hill Areas, therefore, the cabinet has nothing to do with allotment of land. By virtue of Article 371C, the Cabinet is incompetent to consider the matter without the consent and knowledge of the HAC in all matters relating to Hill Districts.

EDITORS: This is a fact and village authority including HAC shall be considered /consulted at the same of determining outsiders. As pointed out in notes on ZC and JACATB, the Government is bound to come out with Rules & Regulations pertaining to the implementation of the bills.

ATSUM: The phrase “One of the Small hill states” appeared in the first line of the Objects and reasons is highly objectionable because Manipur is not a Hill State. It is a ploy to change Manipur to a Hill State so as to make the Meiteis eligible to be included in the list of the Scheduled Tribes of India.

EDITORS: This has already been explained above. The allegation that It is a ploy to change Manipur to a Hill State so as to make the Meiteis eligible to be included in the list of the Scheduled Tribes of India, is unfounded.

ATSUM: Section 14 A (1) “Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, Non-Manipur Persons, Firms, Institutions or any other similar entities who intend to purchase any Land in the state of Manipur. It is ambiguous as the terms (Firms, Institutions and other similar entities) does not clearly mention whether they (Firms, Institutions or other entities) belongs to Manipur People or Non-Manipur People.

EDITORS: It is a matter of understanding the syntax of the sentence. Here “Non-Manipur” applies to firms, Institutions or any other similar entities who intend to purchase any land in the state of Manipur.

ATSUM: Moreover, the term “Any Land in the state of Manipur” in the same section implies that the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act (MLRLR Act) shall be extended in the Hill areas of Manipur. Hence, It is in fact a sinister design to grab the tribal traditional land in due course of time by way of legal interpretation and means.

EDITORS: MLR & LR Act does not extend to the hill areas of Manipur and the present Seventh Amendment does not, in any way, make any provision for extension of the Act to the Hill areas. Hence, the question of referring the Bill to the Hill Areas Committee does not arise as it does not cover any of the Scheduled Matters as laid down in the Second Schedule of the Manipur Legislative Assembly (HAC) Order, 1972 and is not intended to be implemented in the Hill areas of Manipur.

[*] A corrected version after deleting the sentence, ‘Demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) Status for the Meitei is spearheaded by the Indian Intelligence and the military who has taken into their folds Manipuri compradors such as the retired army personnel.’

Notes & References

[*] 371C(2), “Every bill, other than a Money Bill, affecting wholly or partly the Hill Areas and containing mainly provisions dealing with any of the scheduled matters shall, after introduction in the Assembly, be referred to the Hill Areas Committee for consideration and report to the Assembly”.

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