Showing posts with label Manipur. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Manipur. Show all posts
07 October 2020

Insurgent group 'chairman' killed in encounter in Assam

 

UPRF is a Zomi group of Paites, Guites, Vaipheis and assorted Zomi tribes of Churachandpur district in Manipur

Guwahati: Self-styled chairman of UPRF (United People's Liberation Front) Martin Guite was killed in an encounter with Assam police in a village in Manja, in Karbi Anglong district on Monday evening. 

Confirming about the encounter, GP Singh, ADGP (Law & Order), Assam Police tweeted, "Late last evening, Martin Guite, SS Chairman of UPRF, an insurgent group active in Karbi Anglong, was wounded and later declared dead in exchange of fire with team of @assampolice in Manja PS area of Karbi Anglong."

UPRF is a Zomi group of Paites, Guites, Vaipheis and assorted Zomi tribes of Churachandpur district in Manipur.

The outfit was formed by ZRA (Zomi Revolutionary Army) in 1993 with NSCN-IM help to fight Kukis in Churachandpur, sources in Assam Police claimed.

The sources further alleged that the ZRA has been using its Paite cadres to poach rhinos for horns since early 2000 and its strongman Thaghtaum Thomte, who allegedly owns a studio in New Lamka, Churachandpur, controls 70% of the rhino horn trade.

Meanwhile, in a clarification, ZRA has denied its involvement in rhino poaching. It said, "It may be made known to all that ZRA has never abetted and supported rhino poaching in the past, present and will never do so in the future."

Further, it added, "It is also factually incorrect to say that ZRA was formed by NSCN (IM) to fight Kuki in Churachandpur, Manipur. ZRA, indeed, is a Zomi Army formed to fight the noble cause of reunifying the Zo people with the active and unstinted support from its people."

It reiterated that, "ZRA is fully committed to the cause it stands for and will never indulge in petty and illegal businesses like rhino poaching."

The organisation has also denied connections with United People's Liberation Front (UPRF) wherein its leader Martin Guite was killed in an encounter by Assam Police on Monday evening at Manja in Karbi Anglong district of Assam.

Source: EastMojo

11 March 2020

Manipur closes international gates at Moreh: Coronavirus


A couple wearing masks. File

An order says that all district authorities and security forces have been instructed to close down all entry points.

The legalised border trade with Myanmar came to a grinding halt from Tuesday as the Manipur government closed both the international gates I and II at Moreh, Manipur’s border town.


An order issued by H. Gyan Prakash, the special secretary (Home), Manipur, says that the preventive measure was taken to check possible outbreak and transmission of Coronavirus in Manipur. Crossing the international gates by all sections of people through these gates is prohibited. The order says that all district authorities and security forces have been instructed to close down all entry points.


On Monday, the troops of 43 Assam Rifles deployed along the border had banned crossing of the border. Only a few people are going to Myanmar and entering Manipur through these gates manned by officials of Manipur and Myanmar. Majority of the traders bring their goods to Manipur through other parts of the border. An official source says that the sealing of the international border will be extended to Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh which have a common border with Myanmar.
There have been local media reports saying that just one or two officials check the people coming from Myanmar. As there is no crowd control system near the international gates, the possibility of contracting the disease is high. Besides, reports say that those wanting to enter Manipur are stranded for hours as the doctors are yet to arrive from Imphal.

Health officials said that the tests conducted on 12 suspect persons were found to be negative. One Indian coming to Imphal was lodged in the isolation ward of the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal. Medical Superintendent C. Arunkumar said the patient was improving and said that he may be discharged soon.

There are two isolation wards in the two medical colleges, RIMS and JNIMS, in Imphal.

Chief Minister N. Biren had already given approval for the construction of a full-fledged isolation ward on the RIMS complex to meet any eventuality. He also appealed to the people to shorten the Holi festival which is a five-day carnival in Manipur.

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23 September 2015

Manipur Tribal Leaders Met President and Tribal Affairs minister


The representatives of Manipur Tribals’ Forum, Delhi along with 5 delegates of Autonomous District Council Churachandpur from Manipur today met Mr Pranab Mukherjee, President of India and Mr Jual Oram, minister of Tribal Affairs reiterating Centre intervention to bring political solution to the problems face by the tribals in Manipur State.

The team also submitted memorandum to the President and Tribal Affairs minister highlighting the major concerns of the hill people and history of discriminations and subjugation to the tribals of Manipur State. Both assured the delegations that they will do the necessary follow up.

The delegations requested the President to meet MHA Internal Security secretary Mr Ashok Prasad, who visited Churachanpur today spending about 3 hours with the people of Churachandpur.

The team strongly urged the President that the secretary must be consulted before he makes any decision to the bills, when the bills come to his office for consideration. The president was presented a beautiful traditional shawl brought from Churachanpur which he graciously received.

The team strongly urged the tribal affairs minister to fight for the protection and safeguards of the tribals rights which is recognized by the Constitution of India. The team also requested him to play an advocating role for the suffering tribals of Manipur within his own Government.

For further information, please kindly contact
Manipur Tribals’ Forum, Delhi
E-mail: manipurtribalsforum(aT)gmail(doT)com

MHA Special Secretary Appeals For Early Resolution to Tribal Issues


Churachandpur, Sep 23
: The union Special Secretary, Internal Security, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ashok Prasad visited Churachandpur today to take stock of the situation in the beleaguered township.

Prasad a former DGP of J&K was given a warm reception by the Churachandpur public at Kangvai where he was given a memorandum by the Chief's association of the district.

Around 10 am the central emissary reached the Lamka Public ground packed with womenfolk in black dress.

The JAC Against Anti-Tribal Bills and the Hmar Innpui, Kuki Inpi and Zomi Council together gave a separate memorandum to the Special Secretary while the women`s joint committee presented him with nine traditional shawls symbolising the nine who lay dead for the cause.

The JAC Chief Convenor, Mangchinkhup Hauzel, making known the demand of the committee and of the people, said that the JAC and the people are happy to see an emissary of the Union Ministry of Home.

The crowd in the meantime shouted slogan like “We want separate administration”, `Welcome the Centre Govt”, `Long live Pu Ashok Prasad” etc.

After presenting the memorandum, Prasad in his speech said that he feels and shares the pain that the people are going through, particularly the families of the victims.

“I congratulate the perseverance and effort of the women, the JAC and elders. I appeal to the older people to continue guiding us in the future too,” he said and asked the people to show now that they can find a solution.

Later LB Sona, the leader of the three apexs house presented a memorandum on behalf of the Joint apex body, the Zomi Council, Kuki Inpi and Hmar Innpui.

Sona also said that they were pleased to see the central official since no one from the state government, including politicians, bureaucrats and other dignitaries have bothered to take the trouble to make any spot assessments.

“The stare government tried to portray the incident as a law and order problem only although what is being witnessed is a political problem, and therefore we request the central government to intervene,” Sona further said.

The special secretary later visited the morgue where the nine martyr are kept. He was greeted by emotional scenes from the families of the victims. They told him that they had surrendered their deads to the tribal people for they died for the tribal cause.

In a very touching moment one girl in wailed inconsolably saying in English “I have only one brother. Why did they do this to me?”

After consoling her the official went to meet the JAC and later talked to the press where he said he was sent by the Union Home Ministry to make a direct assessment of the situation here and will apprise the central government.

He also appealed for the dead bodies to be buried and put to rest at the earliest.

“I am convince that this is not just an internal problem but more than that”, Prasad said and further added that he will try his best to do the right thing and report to the centre but the immediate need was to try to resolve the issue and find a solution to the problem.

In regards to the punishment of the culprits for the nine people killed, the official said we must await the enquiry report so action can be taken.

On the question of live bullets being used, he said he will take up the issue to the Manipur State Government.
21 September 2015

Manipur Tribal Groups Intensify Stir Against Anti-tribal Bills


Imphal, Sep 21
: Tribal groups in Manipur have decided to intensify their agitation in the hill districts in protest against the three bills passed by the assembly on August 31. The groups have warned of launching an indefinite economic blockade if the bills are not scrapped.

However, the Okram Ibobi Singh government has repeatedly claimed that there was no clause that would hurt the sentiments and interests of the tribal communities.

A few hours after the bills were passed on August 31, violence broke out in the Kuki-Chin-Mizo-dominated Churachandpur district. At least nine tribal protesters were killed, most of them in police action, in Churachandpur, while residences of eight Kuki MLAs and an MP were torched by the mob, which termed the bills as 'anti-tribal.'

Several tribal civil bodies have been calling bandhs in the hill districts since then and the United Naga Council has imposed a 15-day ban on construction of all national and international projects, including the trans-Asian railway network in Tamenglong district. A committee set up by Kukis in Sadar Hills in Senapati district on Friday decided to kick off a nine-day demonstration at different places in the area from Monday.

Army repairs damaged road and restores connectivity in Manipur

Imphal, Sep 21 : A 12 kilometre stretch of Tamenglong-Azuiram road which was damaged due to heavy rain and multiple landslides and had remained cut off for nearly three months in remote Tamenglong district, has been repaired and restored by the Indian Army.

The repair work was carried out by Army's Tamenglong Battalion of Senapati Bridge under the aegis of Red Shield Division with the help of local people, a Defence press release said on Saturday.

The Tamenglong-Azuiram road which was closed for about three months due to natural calamities like heavy rain and multiple landslides, has been restored connectivity this weekend and people of remote Azuiram village could go to their district headquarters, Tamenglong now, the release added.

People of Azuiram village expressed their gratitude and happiness to Indian Army for such untiring dedication to reach out to local populace, said another press release issued by the Chairman of the village authority of Azuiram.
16 September 2015

Churachandpur Rallies, Manipur Govt's Silence Slammed

Churachandpur, Sep 16 : It has been fifteen days since the spontaneous protest over the three Bill erupted in Churachandpur and other hill districts of the State and there is still no sign of normalcy returning to the district.

Significantly the bodies of nine people including a minor who were killed in the protest are still lying at the morgue.

Schools and offices have since closed and agitations and restrictions continue to affect public life and yet the political leaders both in the State and centre have shown no will to restore normalcy here, in a stark display of their apathy towards the popular voice in this restive part of the country.

For days, bullets and mob violence have overwhelmed normal life and dharnas, rallies, bandhs and public curfew have crammed people's life. Nine people have been killed and kept in a makeshift-mortuary that has neither a cold storage nor any tool to preserve human remains.

Church bells have stopped ringing to mourn the deaths. Womenfolk, now at the forefront of the protest are draped in black; houses raise black flags and the few emergency vehicles that ply as well adorn black flags. Anything, everything they do symbolise their mourning turning the protest and their protest into a public movement but the State Government and the Centre have so far not done anything concrete to restore normalcy or show concern for the common man.

The State tribals who have been brought together by the Bills like never before have pledged to never let the blood of nine martyrs vanish in thin air, rolling out their agitation plans well ahead for weeks. The Government has shown no sincere and genuine attempt to restore normalcy.

Meanwhile, women groups in hundreds today held a peace rally from their dharna points and converged at Lamka Public ground where the leaders who addressed them took a jibe at the Government’s attempt to still downplay their movement.

Some of the leaders from Mizo Peoples' Convention, Hmar Inpui, Kuki Inpi, and Zomi Council who addressed the rally have even dubbed the present uprising as a political earthquake taking into consideration its magnitude, but the Government seems to think otherwise, in stark contrast to the ground reality.

The call for interminable unity, criticism of the elected representatives to protect the tribal interest and their refusal to own it up, and the need for a separate political administration were repeatedly raised during the rally amidst a highly charged atmosphere.

They also questioned the Central Government for kow-towing to Ibobi’s rhyme, questioning how many BJP leaders have now set their foot in the hill districts, before and after the uprising, despite the iconic announcement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that his his Cabinet Ministers will visit the North Eastern States on rotational basis.
09 September 2015

Why Indian state of Manipur is gripped by violence

Eight people were killed and dozens others were injured last week in clashes between the police and protesters over tribal rights laws in the restive north-eastern Indian state of Manipur. Subir Bhaumik explains why the state is in turmoil. For the past few months, the majority Hindu Meitei community in Manipur have been holding protests, demanding promulgation of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) in the state.

The ILP - a system introduced by India's former British rulers and already existent in three north-eastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland - protects tribespeople by preventing "outsiders" from buying land or settling in their area.

The Meitei community wanted the the system to be introduced in Manipur to prevent unrestricted entry of "outsiders" - settlers from other Indian states or neighbouring countries like Bangladesh and Myanmar - whose numbers have sharply risen between the 2001 and 2011 Census and who now make up a fourth of Manipur's population of 2.8 million.

Upset tribes

During the Meitei agitation, schools were shut for weeks, prices of essential commodities skyrocketed and violence often erupted on the streets.

Then in late August, the Manipur state assembly passed three bills aimed at giving more rights to indigenous groups who accuse "outsiders" of taking land and jobs.


That assuaged the Meiteis, but upset the Nagas and Kukis, the other dominant tribes in the state.
On 31 August, three student organisations representing the Naga and Kuki tribes called a general strike across Manipur, demanding withdrawal of the bills.

Eight people were killed in violence over two days in the Kuki-dominated Churachandpur district.
Homes of Kuki lawmakers and one Kuki minister were burnt down by angry mobs who felt they had not protected "tribal interest" by supporting the bills. Additional security forces were deployed and an indefinite curfew was imposed in Churachandpur.

The tribal student groups claimed the new bills, when made law, would allow Meiteis to buy land in the hill districts of Manipur where the Nagas and Kukis live - something that is not possible now.

Pressures over land

But Manipur human rights activist Babloo Loitongbam says the bills have "nothing against the security or interest of the tribes people".

"Rather, the process of buying land by outsiders in the state has been made more stringent by the new laws," he said.

He blamed the violence on the state government's failure to take the Nagas and Kukis into confidence and explain to them the new proposed laws.


"The government should have explained the content in greater detail as the relationship between the tribals in the hills and the Meiteis in the Imphal valley has always been sensitive," Mr Loitongbam said.

"Earlier the permission to buy land had to be sought from a section or subsidiary of the local cabinet, but now the entire cabinet needs to approve land-buying by an outsider. The tribal areas remain protected and are not disturbed under the new amendments," Mr Loitongbam told the BBC.

The Nagas and Kukis have concerns over a clause setting 1951 as the base year for classing residents as indigenous, with those settling in the state before then given land rights - the groups fear that those who have moved into the state after that date would stand to lose.

Women activist Binalaxmi Nephram blamed the federal government for taking no interest in tackling the unrest - first the Meitei agitation and now the tribal unrest against the bills.

She blamed the violence on the pressures over land.

"About 60% of Manipur's population lives on 10% of its land in the plains. So land is a sensitive issue."

Manipur is not new to conflict - Meitei, Naga and Kuki separatists have run long armed campaigns, often targeting Indian armed forces, protesting against controversial anti-insurgent laws like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) which gives the security forces the powers of search and seizure.

But Meiteis, Naga and Kuki militias have also fought one another in the 1990s over conflicting homeland demands.

Now Meiteis, upset with demographic changes, are targeting "outsiders" much as they all continue to fight against the AFSPA.

Unless the authorities take quick steps to defuse the situation, these several layers of conflict could explode into huge violence in Manipur.
08 September 2015
By Prashant Jha


Members of JAC in Churachandpur look at bills and allege it is anti-tribal. (Prashant Jha/HT Photo)

Churachandpur/Imphal, Sep 8 : On Monday afternoon, it appeared as if the entire town of Churachandpur had descended on the district hospital.


Hundreds waited inside, a majority of them women, and many climbed up the emergency and trauma centre building, peering out of windows. Young men had their mobile phones cameras on as they stood patiently at the gate. A convoy of motorbikes, SUVs, and finally, a large jeep of the Young Vaiphei Association drove in.

En Khankhup was brought back home – but in a coffin, with a white shroud and a cross.

Women wailed and men broke down as the body was brought out and kept in the middle of the hospital. Community leaders paid their respects and then made a public address. Khankhup joined eight others, fellow protestors who had been killed during an agitation last week in Churachandpur, in a morgue.

Lacking cold storage facilities, the morgue has been equipped with two ACs, with 24-hour electricity supply arranged, as the dead men wait for a political solution they failed to achieve in their lives.

"Public opinion here is that we must not conduct the burial ceremony till the government acts and fulfills our demands, repeals the three laws, and gives us a separate administration. We cannot trust the valley anymore," says Sasang Vaiphei of the Kuki Students Organisation.

Meitei push for regulation
Manipur has been in the middle of political unrest for over two months now. At the heart of it lie the three laws, which Vaiphei referred to, and competing narratives around the issue between the Meitei dominated valley and tribes dominated hill region. And underlying it is a sense of fear on both sides, fueled by misunderstanding and power imbalance. 

People in the Imphal valley – Meiteis – had been agitating for the introduction of the Inner Line Permit system. This permit would regulate the entry of non-Manipuris into the state as well as bar them from acquiring assets. One student was killed in police firing on July 8 and this only gave the movement a further fillip.

Those leading the protests claimed there had been a massive influx of outsiders in the state, and their opportunities were being squeezed. An Imphal police constable told HT, "The Biharis, Marwaris, and Punjabis are doing business in the capital. We will be reduced to a minority in our land."

There is an 'explosion of anxieties' in the valley, says Pradip Panjhoubam, editor of the Imphal Free Press, a respected Manipur daily. "They feel under siege. In the north, Naga districts want to carve out and merge with Nagalim. The Naga accord has only made people in the valley apprehensive about the implications for the state's territorial integrity. Across the hills, they cannot buy land even though people of the hills can buy land here. They also see what has happened in other northeastern states with outsiders coming in. All of this has added to paranoia and fear of being marginalised."

Eventually, the government passed the three bills to meet the concerns of the protestors. Among them two are contentious.

In The Protection of Manipur People Bill, 2015, the 'people of Manipur' have now been defined as those whose names are there in the official records since 1951. Severe restrictions have been imposed on outsiders - they now have to register with a directorate of the government as soon as they entered the state and they would then be issued a pass for six months, subject to extension. The directorate would also keep track of all tenants.

A second act – which was actually an amendment to the Manipur land revenue and land reforms bill – made land transaction for non-Manipuris across the state contingent on state approval.
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At the Churachandpur district hospital, a big crowd receives En Khankhup, the ninth dead after violence last week. (Prashant Jha/HT Photo)
Tribal backlash
This, however, triggered a backlash from the tribal groups in the hill districts of the state – primarily the Kukis, Zomis and Chins, as well as the Nagas – who saw it as 'anti-tribal'.

There is a historical context here. Tribal groups have been deeply resentful of the Meitei domination of the Manipur state structure, the overwhelming concentration of resources and 'development' in the valley, and have demanded separation from it. They also see the demand for the ILP as a precursor to Meiteis asking for ST status since the other states which have ILP are all tribal states. If Meiteis get it, this would eat into the share of other tribal groups in reserved categories.

Thuampi, an advocate in Churachandpur, explained to Hindustan Times the tribal case against what he saw as inter-related bills. It did not help that the government pushed ahead with the bill without consulting authorised bodies like the Hill Areas Council.

The first issue was the decision to have 1951 as the cut-off date – those registered in official records before that year were to be people of Manipur, and those after would be considered foreigners. "Very few tribals, if any, would be registered in the Census. There was no access to the hills, very little communication. If this is passed, we will all become foreigners."
This was the most widespread refrain we heard during conversations with the tribals, angry that despite being here for generations, they were facing the prospect of being termed outsiders. This in turn would deprive them of services, access to opportunities and right to procure assets.

The second objection, Thuampi said, was that the amendment to the land revenue and reforms act did away with the distinction between the hills and the valley.

At the outset, the bill frames the debate in terms of hill versus valley question – while the valley area is 10% of the state, and hills comprise 90%, 60% of the people live in the valley which has a density of 730 while in the hills it is 61. The bill then states that non-Manipur persons and entities who want to purchase any land 'in the state of Manipur' shall submit an application to the deputy commissioner of the district where the land is to be purchased. The DC will solicit recommendation from the local bodies and make inquiries and submit the application and report of the inquiry to the state government and it is the state cabinet which will have the authority to approve the transaction.

"Earlier, in the case of the hills, Autonomous District Council was the final authority for land transaction. This power has been given to the cabinet," said Thaumpi. This in turn has given rise to a perception among tribal activists that the land arrangements in the state are almost being reversed; that since they would be categorised as non-Manipuris under the first act, it would make it impossible for them to purchase land.

"And while it makes it difficult for us to buy and sell land even in the hills, the valley people can penetrate into the hills with state permission. They want to commoditize our land, and destroy our culture," Lianzamung Tunsing, a member of the Joint Action Committee in Churachandpur, told HT, a little distance away from the district hospital.
The JAC is the umbrella civil society body of tribals negotiating with the government in the town now.    
Violence to uneasy calm
It was in this backdrop that the violence erupted.

HT spoke to government officials, who wished to remain anonymous, protesters, and members of civil society to piece together the turn of violence in Churachandpur.

On August 31, student outfits had called a bandh. It went off peacefully and at 5pm government officials breathed a sigh of relief. But within an hour, they began receiving calls from ministers and MLAs of the region from Imphal, who said their homes were close to being burnt.

Tribal protesters were angry at these leaders for not opposing the bills in the legislature. It was also a rare moment when different tribal student and civil society groups – especially Kukis and Nagas who have been adversaries and rivals – had come together against the bills.

Thousands had surrounded the homes of five MLAs and one MP. The deputy commissioner's car was burnt while he was on his way to the troubled sites. At some point, there seems to have been a request for reinforcements and paramilitary forces were called in. Clashes erupted and by the end of the evening, four people had died. Two were killed in firing; one arsonist died when he could not come out of one of the burning houses and one protester died in an accident.   
http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2015/9/Manipur2.jpg
Protestors put up placards during a demonstration in Churachandpur. (Prashant Jha/HT Photo)

The next day, protesters had again engaged in mass demonstrations and defied the curfew. Even as the government and civil society were negotiating, protests intensified. Here, narratives diverge.
Officials say that after a two-hour scuffle, agitators burnt down a police station gate and were marching in. To defend themselves, police personnel had no choice but to shoot, and four more people were killed. Tribal activists, however, say that it was the police which had been provocative, and engaged in ruthless suppression. To support their version they show a video which indicates that cops were kicking protestors with the butt of their rifle unprovoked.

The police response has fed into the tribal perception of being discriminated.
"For the valley, they use rubber bullets; for us, they use live bullets. In the valley, one person dies after two months of agitation; in the hills, nine people die after two days of protests. In the valley, they use tear gas sporadically. In the hill, they even use expired tear gas," a woman activist of a human rights said on the condition of anonymity. She told HT they had decided only JAC members would speak to the media.

Local officials are very keen to restore order, and know they cannot do it without the citizens cooperating. The Imphal government has sent the additional DGP to Churachandpur; he belongs to the district and is a tribal. Authorities have reached out to the JAC, which is keen on maintaining peace as well.

The most striking element of the current peace approach is the presence of women's groups at the forefront in all sensitive areas in the town. They carry placards, which speak out against the bills and the police response; but they are also a layer of protection from mob action and are protecting public property. A police official says, "We are relying heavily on them rather than deploying security forces. Their presence deters the younger radicals."

Government clarification
But while there is uneasy peace, what remains unresolved is the politics.
A full week after the violence had erupted, N Ashok Kumar, secretary to the chief minister of Manipur, issued a detailed clarification on Monday.
The government statement asserted that as far as the 1951 cut-off in the protection of manipur people bill was concerned, this was intended only 'for outsiders/non Manipuri 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'.
Pointing to a provision of the act which says it does not apply to the 'native people' of the state, the government said that native people include all sections/tribes living in the hills and valleys of Manipur.
"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."
The government has added that in case this clarification does not convince people, they would be willing to amend the act, and so there is 'no need for panic'.
On the issue of the land bill, the government has said that this only applies to the areas where the original act is enforced.
"The bill does not affect the tribal areas of Manipur… MLR&LR does not extend to the hill areas of Manipur and the present seventh amendment does not, in any way, make any provision for the extension of the Act to the Hill Areas."
It added that the people living in tribal areas need not fear at all.
Whether this clarification will work and how Imphal balances the demands of the Meiteis with that of the deep grievances – real or perceived – of the tribals will determine when peace returns to the state as well as the nature of Manipur's future political order.
The dead men in the morgue are waiting.
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Women at a protest site in Churachandpur. (Prashant Jha/HT Photo)

Source: Hindustan Times

ATSUM Demands Resignation Of All Hill MLAs

Imphal, Sep 8 : The Coordinating Committee, All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur (ATSUM) while appreciating the resignation of the four tribal MLAs owning moral responsibilities, decided that the remaining tribal MLAs should also tender their resig-nation immediately on moral ground as demanded by the tribal people.

A high level meeting of the Coordinating Committee, All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur (ATSUM) was held today at Imphal regarding the three infamous Bills — PMP Bill, 2015, MLR& LR (Seventh Amendment) Bill 2015 and The Manipur Shops and Establishments (2nd Amendment ) Bill 2015 passed on August 31 during the special session of the Manipur Legislative Assembly, according to a statement issued by Muan Tombing and Joseph R Hmar.

The committee today demanded immediate restoration of the internet connectivity and SMS facilities and questioned why such facilities were not interrupted during the recent two months agitation in the valley.

Such selective response of the Govt towards the tribals in violation of the freedom of expression is seen as a deliberate attempt to disintegrate the Tribals as they are uniting in one voice against the anti tribal Bills.

The committee felt that the State has become like a dictatorial regime under which the rights of the tribal people are systematically abrogated in various aspects including their land ownership rights besides denying them their rightful entitlements as citizens.

The committee appreciated the initiatives and the efforts of the Joint Action Committee, Churachandpur in dealing with such volatile current political situation and expressed solidarity for future actions.

The committee appealed for safe passage for people of this State who are travelling on trains across the State of Bihar and appealed to all sections to maintain communal harmony in the State too.

Hmar, Paite Students Condemn Bills

Imphal, Sep 8 : A joint meeting of the Hmar Students’ Association (HSA), Jt Headquarters, Aizawl and Siamsinpawlpi (SSPP), Headquarters, Aizawl, Mizoram was held on September 4 in Aizawl over the passage of three Bills by the Government of Manipur recently and the outbreak of spontaneous mass agitation in hills areas of Manipur thereafter.

The joint meeting which was convened and presided by K Lalramtana, President, HSA strongly criticised and blamed the Government of Manipur for the passing of 'anti –tribal bills’ in the State Assembly which infringe on the long existing rights of the indigenous tribal people in Hill districts of Manipur.

It objected and strongly disagree with the three Bills- PMP Bill, 2015, MLR and LR (Seventh Amendment) Bill, 2015 and MS and E (Second Amendment) Bill, 2015 passed by the Government on August 31 against the interest of the indigenous tribal.

The meeting observed that PMP Bill which set 1951 as the base year to identify the indigenous people was an attempt to grab the ancestral lands of the indigenous tribal people by the Government and a deprivation of the rights enjoyed by them from time immemorial.

The joint bodies condemned the suppressive or oppressive measure adopted by the Government of Manipur and the brutality of Manipur police/commando to control the agitating mob which led to the killing of several innocent tribal civilians in police firing during violence which erupted in Churachandpur district since August 31 following the passage of anti-tribal Bills by the State Assembly.

The joint student bodies urged the State Government to repeal or review all the Bills and demanded punitive action against those security personnel
07 September 2015

Manipur: Student Bodies Slam Bills As ‘Anti-Tribal’

Imphal, Sep 7 : Four powerful Naga, Kuki, Hmar and Zomi civil bodies on Saturday categorically rejected the three land and indigenous people's bills passed by the Manipur government and resolved to fight against them together.

The four organizations - Hmar Inpui (HI), Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM), United Naga Council (UNC) and Zomi Council (ZC) - held a joint meeting in Imphal on Saturday.

Amid protests in the hills, the state assembly had passed the Protection of Manipur People's (PMP) Bill 2015, Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (MLRLR), Seventh Amendment Bill, 2015 and the Manipur Shops and Establishment (Second Amendment) Bill, 2015, last Monday. A few hours after the bills were passed, violence had broken out in the Kuki-Chin-Mizo-dominated Churachandpur district and at least eight protesters had been killed in police action.

The residences of eight Kuki MLAs and a Lok Sabha MP had been set ablaze by irate protesters in Churachandpur and Chandel districts. A number of government offices had been torched by agitators even as deputy chief minister Gaikhangam said the bills would not infringe on the rights and sentiments of tribals.

In a joint declaration, the four organizations condemned the 'brutal action of state police and security forces' in killing the eight persons, including a minor boy, and injuring many others. They resolved to uphold the unity of the Manipur tribes and agreed to fight together 'to secure a common political cause'. The bodies of the eight protesters were yet to be claimed from Churachanpur district hospital.

Meanwhile, riot-hit Churachandpur town on Saturday witnessed panic buying of essential items when the district magistrate relaxed curfew from 6am to 12noon. During the six-hour window, people, including policemen, hurried to buy essential commodities, particularly food items and medicines, local sources said. There were long queues outside ATMs, the sources added.

Churachandpur is Manipur's second-biggest city after Imphal.
01 September 2015

Houses of Manipur Minister, 5 MLAs Torched

Churachandpur, Sep 1 :  Three people have been killed after violence erupted in Churachandpur town last evening over three bills passed in the Manipur assembly yesterday. Indefinite curfew has been imposed in the area.

Five people were injured in burning incident and the houses of Manipur's health minister Phungzathang Tonsing and five other lawmakers were set on fire during the protests.

Groups opposed to the passing of three bills in the assembly -- that seek to regulate the entry of outsiders in the state through a permit system and carry out land reforms in the state -- went on rampage around 6 pm.

The lawmakers were targetted because none of them objected to the bills and allowed them to be passed, sources said. Their houses were set on fire and the mob prevented the police and fire engines from reaching the area. The minister and the lawmakers were reported to be safe.

Reports say the vehicle of Churachandpur Deputy Commissioner and his escort have also been torched.

The main objection, according to groups leading the protest, is to an amendment bill passed called Manipur Land Revenue & Land Reform Act (7th Amendment Bill 2015).

According to the protesters, this amendment will make tribal areas -- currently off limits to non-tribals -- accesible to all and lead to tribals, the Nagas and the Kukis, losing their land.

One of the clauses in the bills passed today is to set 1951 as the base year to identify non-indigenous people, who are regarded as outsiders by a section. The new law decrees that those who settled in Manipur before 1951 can have property rights. The rest will have to give up property and may even be asked to leave.

Protestors say most people living in the hill areas don't have exact records of when they settled in these parts, and hence any cut-off is impractical.

Manipur has been witnessing violent agitations over the last three years for the implementation of the Inner Line Permit System.

The agitation is based on a belief that an influx of outsiders into the state has taken away jobs, and land from the indigenous people, unlike in states like neighbouring Nagaland, where the entry of outsiders is strictly regulated.
27 August 2015

Manipur Govt, ILP Activists Ink Agreement

Imphal, Aug 26 : An agreement has been signed between the Government of Manipur and Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) which was spearheading a movement demanding implementation of inner line permit system in Manipur, Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh said.

The Chief Minister said the agreement with JCILPS came about after four rounds of talks. The government will introduce Bills related to protection of the people of Manipur soon in the state Assembly, as demanded by the JCILPS. He also informed that the state cabinet would soon forward a proposal to convene the Assembly to the Governor.

State Chief Secretary PC Lawmkunga signed the agreement on behalf of the government, while Khomdram Ratan, BK Moirangcha, Arjun Tenheiba, Ksh Somorendro, Haopu Kom, Md Kheiruddin Shah Moijingmayum, Lourembam Nganbi and Oinam Nandababu signed on behalf of the JCILPS.

The Chief Minister told newspersons that the agreement was signed last night and included seven points with a preamble. The agreement said the Government of Manipur and leaders of the JCILPS had agreed on the actions of the government to enact three laws, for which Bills shall be passed in the Manipur Legislative Assembly.

The Bills are Protection of Manipur Peoples Bill, 2015, Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (Seventh Amendment) Bill, 2015 and Manipur Shop and Establishments (Second Amendment) Bill, 2015.

The government also agreed to incorporate all the five-point demands of the JCILPS placed before it, while passing the Bills, Singh said. The government should associate the experts selected by JCILPS while framing the rules of the Protection of Manipur Peoples Bill, 2015, according to the agreement.

The government should also constitute a Manipur State Population Commission to assess the problems and issues of demographic imbalance and other related matters so as to take up measures towards social harmony and peaceful development, it said.

A white paper on population influx should also be brought out by the state government within one year, it added.
20 August 2015

All You Need To Know About The Inner Line Permit Issue in Manipur

What exactly is the Inner Line Permit, and why is the issue so sensitive?

Manipur ILP
People take out a cycle rally in Imphal East district on Tuesday demanding for Inner Line Permit System in Manipur.

On Tuesday, fresh clashes erupted between two groups over the Inner Line Permit issue in Manipur.

For the past several months, the state has been wrangling with mass protests for implementing the Inner Line Permit.

While a 13-member all-party committee was formed in 2014 to look into the demand of various social organisations for introduction of the Inner Line Permit (ILP), not much progress has taken place. The Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) has been spearheading the agitation, and many people have gone on an indefinite fast, defying repeatedly imposed curfews.

Inner Line Permit (ILP) is an official travel document issued by the Government of India to allow travel of an Indian citizen into a protected area for a limited period. It is obligatory for Indian citizens from outside certain states, to obtain such a permit.

ILP is a British era document. This provision was made by Britishers under an Act called as the Bengal Frontier Provision Act, 1873. But it is still used in independent India to protect tribal cultures of the North East.

At present, the ILP is in force in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland. In Manipur, large scale protests have called for its implementation for years.

Under the ILP system, a certificate can be issued to outsiders only for travel in the areas covered by ILP. A non-resident also cannot buy property in these areas. Long term residence however, is allowed under certain kinds of ILP. Such provisions though are not valid for Central government employees and security personnel.

In 2012, the Manipur state assembly passed a resolution urging the Government of India, to implement the ILP system in Manipur.

The Manipur Assembly introduced the Manipur Regulation of Visitors, Tenants and Migrant Workers Bill this year, but it was withdrawn on July 15 because the JCILPS felt it protected immigrants more than native Manipuris.

There is no ILP in Manipur because Manipur was never under British rule. In 1949, the King of Manipur signed a document merging the region with the Indian Union. Before 1949, Manipur was a sovereign state with an elected government.

The argument of JCILPS is that since Manipur can no longer protect its indigenous culture and distinctiveness after the 1949 merger, the ILP system must be put in place.

The free entry of 'outsiders' both from within and outside the Indian state is a central cause for the demand for ILP. Some believe that absence of a permit system can make indigenous communities in Manipur a 'minority', both culturally and demographically.

ILP proponents assert that after independence and subsequent accession of Manipur to India, the influx of foreigners and other Indians into Manipur has increased exponentially. Illegal immigration from Bangladesh, Burma and Nepal has also gone up. This has led to increased competition for employment opportunities among other things. Local youth have to compete with outsiders for jobs.

Moreover, outsiders are often ready to work for lower wages.

ILP advocates also say that Manipur had not acceded to the Indian Union when the Constitution was drafted, and hence it had no say in the framing of the Constitution. Many advocates thus support constitutional amendment to make the ILP system possible.

Proponents also argue that since Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland, which have similar indigenous cultures and problems post independence, have implemented ILP, Manipur should also be included in the system.

Furthermore, most political parties in Manipur and outside, support the implementation of ILP. The BJP has very strongly demanded its implementation for the past few months, after being opposed to it for a long time. Regional parties in Manipur mostly support the ILP, and although the Congress did not take a strong stand on the issue in its 2012 election manifesto, it is officially opposed to the ILP system. Long time Congress ally the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) is also opposed to ILP.

However, CM Okram Ibobi Singh, a member of the Congress party, has supported the ILP and asked the BJP-led Modi government to implement it. Thus, even within political parties there seem to be differences on the ILP. Meanwhile, agitations and curfews continue, life in the region comes to a standstill and lives are lost in the pursuit of the ILP issue.
19 August 2015

Manipur ILP Clash: Curfew in Moreh


Imphal, Aug 19
: Indefinite curfew has been imposed in Manipur's border town Moreh in Chandel district after miscreants burnt shops and hotels and looted properties during a clash between two groups on Tuesday.

The incident occurred when a rally organized by a group in support of Inner Line Permit (ILP) system in Manipur was opposed by Kuki tribals who are a majority here. The Kuki tribals tried to stop the rallying people and pelted stones at them. This snowballed into a clash.

The rally was organized under the banner of Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) near the Indo-Myanmar border.

Later, a mob set ablaze some shops and roadside hotels, police sources said. Six people were injured, but there was no report of any casualty, a police official said.

Security forces rushed to the spot to take control of the situation, he added. Additional police forces, led by Inspector General of Police (IGP), have been sent to Moreh from Imphal. Kuki tribals, who opposed the rally, started vandalizing shops, hotels and other business establishments, sources in the police said and added that they had torched an office building, a hotel and two computer shops.

Over 50 shops were looted, an policeman said. The situation was brought under control with more police teams reaching the town, he added. Deputy chief minister (Home) Gaikhangam said that the situation was brought under control. The government has sought help from Assam Rifles which has been deployed in Moreh.

A team of ministers would visit the town on Wednesday, he added. Three civil society organizations — United Committee, Manipur (UCM), All Manipur United Clubs' Organization (AMUCO) and Kuki Inpi, Manipur (KIM) — appealed to all communities for peaceful co-existence.
17 August 2015

Ibobi Calls All-Party Meet On Draft ILP Bill

Crisis over demand for ILP deepens in Manipur
By Khelen Thokchom




Activists demand inner-line permit in Imphal on Sunday.

Imphal, Aug 17 :
Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh has convened an all-party meet tomorrow to finalise a draft bill prepared by his government for protection of indigenous people of the state.

Ibobi Singh convened the meet after the ongoing crisis over the public demand for inner-line permit (ILP) or a similar legislation deepened with more ILP supporters joining the indefinite hunger strike today.

Life continues to be severely affected because of ILP agitation for more than a month.


Police arrested five students, including a girl, who were on indefinite hunger strike since Friday in support of ILP at Ananda Singh Higher Secondary Academy in Imphal East, late last night.

The students are undergoing treatment at the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences here.

Principal magistrate of Imphal East A. Noutuneshori today remanded the five students in two juvenile homes in Imphal till August 29. They will be taken to the juvenile homes after their condition improves, an official source said.

"The chief minister has convened an all party meet tomorrow at 2pm to discuss means to end the deadlock and discuss the draft bill," an official source said.

The state government has drafted a bill and Ibobi Singh would discuss with the political delegations the demand for inclusion of five points raised by the Joint Committee on ILP, a public conglomerate that has been spearheading the agitation.

The five points are permit for outsiders, identification of outsiders with 1951 as the cut-off year, deportation of the identified outsiders, no land ownership right to non-locals and strengthening of the labour department.

Today, five more students, including two girls, began an indefinite hunger strike at the gate of Ananda Singh Higher Secondary Academy.

Six other persons, including students, also began their hunger strike near the home of Sapam Robinhood, who was killed in a police crackdown on ILP supporters on July 8 in Imphal East.
Robinhood, who hailed from Lairikyengbam Leikai in Imphal East, was a class XI student of Ananda Singh Higher Secondary Academy.

Robinhood's father Sapam Romesh was admitted to Shija Hospitals yesterday after he fell ill. His condition is stated to be stable.

Two other ILP activists are also on an indefinite hunger strike at Thangmeiband in Imphal city since yesterday.

Protesters turned out on the streets today to block the roads in support of ILP after the news of the arrest of five students spread.

The police said the agitation was more intense at Khurai, Robinhood's neighbourhood. The police last night fired tear gas shells at various places to disperse torch rallies heading for Imphal city.

Several protesters were injured. Ibobi Singh is also expected to review the situation arising out of the signing of a peace accord between NSCN (Isak-Muivah) and the Centre on August 3, during tomorrow's all party meet.
14 August 2015

No Breakthrough in Talks Between JCLIPS and Manipur

Okram Ibobi Singh Okram Ibobi Singh No breakthrough was reached between the Manipur government and the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS), a committee leader has said.

Manipur government could not provide copy of the drafted bill submitted to the Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh by the Bill Drafting committee on August 4 last to 20 representatives of JCILPS, Kh. Ratan, Convenor of the JCILPS, told mediapersons last night after coming out from the talks table. This showed the drafted bill was yet to be finalised and there was trust deficiency on the government's part for the talks, the Convenor alleged.

A government spokesman, however, maintained they were hopeful of resolving the issue by continuing dialogues with the committee. However, Ratan further said JCILPS insisted to include five points already submitted to the government while drafting the bill but the state side could not give any update about the inclusion of the points in the bill. The JCILPS convenor called for passing the Bill on implementation inner line permit system on or before August 15 next "to save the indigenous people of the state", Kh Ratan added.

Regarding the claimant of the body of Sapam Robinhood who died in alleged police action on July 8 last during JCILPS movement, the convenor said representatives of the state government could not say anything about the matter. He demanded the issue of claiming the body should be decided by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) formed after the killing of Sapam Robinhood and parents of the deceased with the JCILPS.
13 August 2015

Why the Naga peace accord is keeping Manipur on its Toes

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh with leaders of the NSCN(IM) in New Delhi (PTI photo)
Despite repeated assurances from the Union government that the territorial integrity of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam will be maintained and the peace accord recently signed between the Centre and the NSCN (IM) will not affect these states, tension has been palpable in Manipur since August 3.

Both Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh and Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister of the state G Gaikhangam (himself a Naga) have maintained that they had been kept in the dark and had not been consulted before the signing.


Any other month in any other year, the secrecy of the peace accord would have been enough to spark violent protests among the non-Nagas in the state – the dominant Meitei community who inhabit the four districts that constitute the Imphal valley, and Manipur’s third largest community the Kuki tribe.

But despite headlines in Manipur’s local dailies and Manipuri sentiment being dominated by the present Inner Line Permit agitation and demand, underneath lies a slowly simmering anger about the peace accord.

In 2001, the Centre had to quickly clarify the terms and conditions of the ceasefire signed with the NSCN (IM) as Imphal valley erupted in violent communal riots in protest against the ceasefire. The ceasefire was to be valid for all Naga area without territorial limits. Manipur reacted to it as an implicit threat on its territorial integrity – an acceptance on the part of the Indian Government that all Naga areas were considered one.

The Chief Minister’s residence was attacked as was the Secretariat, government buildings were set afire and mobs ran amok. To this day the violence of the June 18, 2001 protests are marked as yearly anniversaries across the Imphal valley.

There are four Naga districts in Manipur – Senapati, Ukhrul (where NSCN (IM) General Secretary Th Muivah hails from), Tamenglong and Chandel which cover vast expanses of Manipur’s land. The fear in 2001, as is today, is that the land will be handed over to Nagaland reducing Manipur to a shadow of a state.

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Even as Manipur waits and watches, Naga families who have been living in Imphal for decades have already begun considering moving out of the valley and relocating to their original districts and making contingency plans and “escape routes” in case communal riots break out in the near future.

The Kuki Inpi – Manipur umbrella Kuki body – has meanwhile issued an open memorandum to the Prime Minister demanding that the peace accord be explained.

The Kuki Inpi has said that the “criminal actions” of the NSCN (IM) needed to be addressed before the signing of the accord – a reference to the Naga-Kuki riots which had taken place in the early 90s in which 906 kukis were killed and 3,000 Kuki villages and 100,000 Kukis displaced by the Nagas.
07 August 2015

Manipur goes without newspapers

title=Imphal, Aug 7 : Newspapers were not published in Manipur on Thursday in view of a 48-hour shutdown called in support of an inner line permit (ILP) system for the state.

The ILP is a special pass or permit required to enter the northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram.
It originated during the British rule and is now essentially used as a mechanism to safeguard tribal people and culture from outsiders.
"The media fraternity in Manipur regrets to announce non-publication of daily news and electronic media on August 6 due to the intense nature of the bandh," said a statement by the Editors Guild of Manipur and the All Manipur Working Journalists Union (AMWJU).
The protest was called by the student wing of the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System.
"The decision was arrived at after a meeting of editors and members of the AMWJU," it said.
It said journalists and non-journalists could not reach the press. Similarly, reporters and cameramen could not gather news.
The 48-hour shutdown began at 6 p.m. Tuesday after police cracked down on students demanding an ILP system the previous day.
The demand for an ILP to check the unregulated entry of non-Manipuris into the state -- mostly in the Meitei-dominated Imphal valley -- has been simmering since the 2011 census came out.
According to figures, of the over 2.7 million population in Manipur, one million have their roots outside the state.