Public discourse resolves to oppose move to table ADC Bill in Assembly

The discourse decided on a resolution that the bill should not be tabled or passed without prior consultation with all the stakeholders of the state.

(Representational Image: Unsplash)

A public discourse convened on Sunday unanimously resolved to oppose the move to table the Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Council Bill, 2021 in the ongoing Assembly session.

The public discourse, jointly organised by IPSA, ACOAM-LUP, IPAK, PANDM, KANGLAMEI, KIL, CLK and KSA, was held at Nongmeibung, Imphal East. 

Terming the Bill highly sensitive, the public discourse adopted several resolutions. As per the resolutions, the gathering agreed that the bill should not be tabled and passed without prior consultation with all the stakeholders of the state.

Moreover, it claimed that the bill contains maximum provisions and objectives of the contentious “Naga Autonomous Territorial Council and Kuki Autonomous Territorial Council” which the people of Manipur have been opposing.

The discourse also agreed to invite all hill leaders and civil bodies to come forward for a transparent discussion and analysis of the content of the said bill and cooperate in working out an amicable solution to make an inclusive and judicious bill acceptable to all the stakeholders of the state.

It further stated that the meeting appeals to all the people of the state especially to the Hill brethren to not fall into the half-hearted attempts of the elected few who are leading the campaign in the name of Hill Areas Committee, which could be very much vested interest on the eve of their coming election.

The members present at the discourse appealed to all legislatures to abstain from such moves made by the few elected leaders from the Hills and reject the recommendations made by the HAC "to divide the state in the name of effective administration and development," the resolution mentioned.

As resolved in the meeting, letters along with the resolutions of the discourse have been submitted to the leader of the House (the chief minister) and to the opposition leader, requesting to withdraw the said Bill and give time for wide consultations on the aspects and objects of the bill.

The letters mentioned that the idea of a separate administration within the tiny state of Manipur has always been opposed and contested by the majority of the population which believes in the idea of co-existence and equitable sharing. The recent bill recommended by the HAC includes lots of provisions and objectives which encourages division and separation of administration and territories, and they could lead to the balkanisation and bifurcation of the state of Manipur, it added. 

Such bills should not be even discussed on the floor of the house, the letter stated, adding, “the bill was submitted to the government in a clandestine manner and it never consulted the major stakeholders of the state for a consensus on their proposals." 

It stated that the salient features of the bill duplicates almost all the provisions of the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution which is also not acceptable to the majority population of the state, and the bill reflects “the communal, ethnocentric and divisive intent of the vested interest groups by the elected representatives misguiding the general population of the hill areas.”

It also agreed that all communities and groups which stand for the integrity and peaceful co-existence between the ethnic communities of the state should oppose the said bill.

The resolution also expressed the discontentment towards the elected leaders of the hill areas "leading such campaigns to divide the communities rather than uniting them."

First Published:Aug. 22, 2021, 8:02 p.m.

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