December 17, 2021 9:30:11 pm
Tribal student bodies have called for a 12-hour total shutdown in the hill districts of Manipur from December 18 reiterating its demand for introduction of ADC bill 2021 in the state Assembly.
The shutdown, which will come into effect from 5 am to 5 pm, is spearheaded by the All Tribal Students’ Union Mission (ATSUM), the Kuki Students Organisation (KSO) and the All Naga Students Association Manipur (ANSAM).
Khaiminlen Doungel, information and publicity secretary of ATSUM, said the ADC bill movement under the aegis of ATSUM, KSO GHQ and ANSAM has been going for the last 3 and half months.
The three tribal student bodies have been demanding the tabling of the bill in the Manipur Legislative Assembly. However, the government has been trying to avoid tabling the bill on the pretext that the act is parliamentary act and cannot be repealed in the state assembly despite the fact that the act has been repealed and amended several times in the past, alleged Doungel.
“Now it says the draft bill needs to be modified before tabling it in the house despite knowing very well that it has no authority to modify a bill recommended by the HAC. It makes no sense at all, it has only aggravated the situation because the intention of the government is dubious,” Doungel added.
The ATSUM publicity secretary said the three student bodies consider the state’s plan to modify the bill as before it is placed in the assembly for debate and discussion as “unconstitutional.” If the government has any good intention, then it should discuss and debate over it in the assembly, urged Doungel.
The ATSUM also informed that the Manipur tribals in Delhi under the aegis of Manipur Tribal Forum Delhi will also be organising a mass protest rally on December 18 in support of the collective tribal movement spearheaded by the three tribal apex bodies.
The Hill Areas Committee (HAC) of Manipur Legislative Assembly recommended a new ADC bill that aims to bring equal development in the hill districts. The Committee maintained the existing bill indicated deficiencies that resulted in disproportionate development between the areas of Hills and Valley of Manipur over the years.
As a result, the new draft bill seeks to repeal and replace the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Councils Act, 1971 in order to provide more autonomy to the HAC and the district councils. However, the state Government opined that the Bill needed to be addressed before tabling in the House citing legal issues.
Article 371C of the constitution of India provides for separate schemes for the administration of the hill areas in Manipur through Hill Areas Committee and District Councils.
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