Confirming the allegations of tribal community in Manipur, some civil bodies have said that the state government has been unfair towards the hill people and insisted that the recent violence was the outcome of the political representatives' failure to communicate with the masses.
Manipur's Churachandpur district witnessed massive violence on Monday as the state's tribal community opposed the recently passed three bills.
IBTimes India contacted some NGO members, concerned MLAs and protesting student leaders in Manipur and their comments suggest that the political representatives were least bothered to take the masses into confidence before passing the bills which raised the fury.
The tribal community in Manipur--comprising Kukis, Nagas and Zomis--alleged that the recently passed bills--Protection of Manipur People Bill, 2015; Land Revenue and Land Reforms (7th amendment) Bill, 2015; and Manipur Shops and Establishments (Second Amendment) Bill, 2015--are anti-tribal.
"Yes, all the three bills are anti-tribal people. New ILP system is not at all required in the hill areas of Manipur because the people are already constitutionally protected under Article 371(C) and Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council Act, 1971. ILP may be implemented in the valley areas alone. The political representatives did not even feel the necessity to convey the actual message to the mass," said R Sanga, managing director of Partnership in Progress Mission Foundation, Imphal.
"The tribal people in the state felt threatened that their land will be snatched and they will be removed from Manipur. The government should have the courage to convey the real implications of the bills to the tribal population before they were passed. Moreover, the valley people conducted two-month long agitation in demand of the ILP earlier but no action were taken against them. Whereas, so many tribal people were killed in police firing on Tuesday," Socio Economic Development Organisation secretary Lhunpu said.
An angry mob had set on fire the houses of state's Health Minister P Tonsing, parliamentarian Thangso Baite and five MLAs on Monday. One of the MLAs, whose house was burnt, also admitted that the violence erupted due to a communication gap, but there is nothing against the tribal people in the bills.
"The bills were passed considering the interests of both valley and hill people. There is nothing against the tribal population in the bills. May be we failed to communicate properly to the masses. It was all due to communication gap and a misunderstanding," said MLA from Singngat in Churachandpur district, GS Haopu.
Meanwhile, a student union leader alleged that the tribal community in the state has been neglected since the Independence. He said the tribals would continue the fight unless their demands are met.
"Although the tribal people in Manipur comprise of around 41 per cent of the population, only 35 percent of the developmental funds reach the hills. Entire 65 percent of the fund is enjoyed by the valley people. Tribal people are being neglected in the state since Independence. We fear that if the bills are implemented, the hill people's land will be snatched away from them," All Tribal Students Union president Muan Eonbing said.
"The ILP and land reform bill be confined to the valleys. If they want to implement it in entire Manipur, then we demand that the tribal community be granted a separate political entity. We will continue the fight unless the demands are met," Eonbing added.
Meanwhile, several tribal women staged peaceful dharnas in some areas of Manipur as the curfew was relaxed partially on Wednesday.