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Divide Manipur into two union territories, say MPs from Northeast

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credit: www.e-paolive.net

New Delhi: As Manipur continues to simmer over the passing of three landmark bills by the state government in a special assembly called by Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, tribal parliamentarians from the Northeast have suggested that the “creation of two union territories” out of existing Manipur is the only solution to the prevailing impasse that has claimed the lives of eight civilians in the recent clash.

The parliamentarians, who are considered to be veteran tribal leaders of the Northeast, have also stated that if the governor gives the assent to the bills, then the clashes that Manipur will witness will be far more extreme than what it has witnessed in recent times.

credit: www.topnews.in
Meiteis in Manipur credit: www.topnews.in

“It has been proven that the tribals and the Meiteis of Manipur cannot co-exist peacefully in the same state. If the governor gives the assent for the bills that have been passed, the tribals, including Kukis, Hmars and Nagas, will start revolting, which will be far more extreme than what Churachandpur has witnessed recently. However, if the government doesn’t give the assent for the bills, then the Meiteis will go on hunger strike and commit suicide. So, it’s a complete deadlock for the government,” Khekiho Zhimomi, veteran Naga leader and the lone Rajya Sabha member from Nagaland, told.

The 70-year-old leader who has fought for the cause of the Naga tribes residing in the northeastern states has asserted that by creating two union territories out of Manipur the central government can look after both the territories directly.

“In the form of good neighborhood the three laws can be appreciated or else the three bills will become the bone of contention in case the two communities are asked to stay together. This is for the satisfaction of both the groups. The solution needs to be balanced and concrete,” Zhimomi said, and added that the tribal communities and the Meiteis being compelled to stay together would be an artificial solution.

Tribals in Manipur credit: thealternative.in
Tribals in Manipur
credit: thealternative.in

The tribal belts of Manipur comprising five districts — Ukhrul, Senapati, Tamenglong, Chandel and Churachandpur – constitute 75 percent of the state’s area and have a population of 500,000 to 600,000, while the valley part of the state dominated by the Meiteis has a population of more than 1.4 million and an area of only 5.5 sq km.

The rift between the Tribals and the Meiteis has existed for decades. However, it intensified on August 30 after the Congress-led Manipur Government passed three bills — Protection of Manipur People Bill 2015, Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Bill 2015, and Manipur Shops and Establishments Bill 2015 – of which the tribal population has taken exception to the Manipur Land Reforms Bill which ostensibly brings all land under the Manipur government and makes sale to outsiders difficult.

Even if the dominant Meitei community of Manipur has been demanding the implementation of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) to restrict the entry of outsiders or “mainland Indians”, the tribal population of the state has not been a part of this agitation considering that the ILP agitation is a Meitie ploy to gain Scheduled Tribes status, setting the already marginalised tribal population back further.

The fear is also that the land will be taken away by the state, that the chieftain’s power (the custodian of tribal land) will be eroded and made redundant, and that the tribal population will be pushed out and marginalised further.

Speaking over the issue, Thangso Baite, MP from Manipur, said, “Creation of two union territories out of Manipur definitely can be a possible solution; however, the sequence of events happening in the states needs to be observed a bit more closely before making the final decision.”

“I will take up the issue with the central government very soon and let’s see what the central government has to say about it. Commenting on all this at such an initial stage might be problematic for the state, but let’s see how things can be taken up,” Baite told.

Baite, who happens to be a Kuki, became a victim of the recent violence when his house in Churachandpur was burnt by the protesters after the three bills were passed.

(Rupesh Dutta IANS)

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Dalai Lama on Three Day Visit to Manipur

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Dalai Lama
Dalai Lama will be in Manipur on Tuesday. ians

Imphal, October 16: Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama will arrive here on Tuesday on a three-day visit to Manipur, officials said.

This will be his second trip to India’s northeast after his April visit to Arunachal Pradesh.

Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh told IANS on Monday that the government had declared the Dalai Lama a state guest.

“We will extend a warm welcome to him. He will be given all facilities as an honoured guest,” he said.

On Wednesday, the Dalai Lama will be given a public reception at the Convention Centre here. It will be followed by a felicitation programme at the same venue.

The Dalai Lama will interact with members of the public and dignitaries.

The Dalai Lama, who has lived in India in self-imposed exile since fleeing his homeland in 1959, is coming to Manipur at the invitation of the Speaker of the Manipur Assembly.

His Arunachal Pradesh visit had sparked a diplomatic row between India and China.(IANS)

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Feeling Left out in the Race to Progress, Tribals express wish to get Educated and make up for Lost Time

AIMBSCS is an organisation formed to spread the ideology of Ambedkar and Birsa Munda, among other such progressive personalities

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Tribals of India, Wikimedia

– by Vishal Narayan 

Jamshedpur, Nov 27, 2016: A feeling of resentment among tribals at being “cheated” by upper-caste Hindus, of being left out in the race to progress, is now giving way to the urge to get educated, to “make up for lost time”. At a pan-India conclave of tribals here, many spoke of the need for education to shake off a widespread “inferiority complex”.

Adivasi rights campaigner Thalko Majhi of the Ho tribe of Jharkhand, who had put up a book stall at the Tribal Conclave ‘Samvaad’, organised by the Tatas, said that upper-caste Hindus had made God their trustworthy ally in order to keep the tribals chronically subservient.

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Majhi spoke to IANS about his lifelong circumspection about the existence of God, which he could never describe for want of a proper idiom, until 2012.

“That year I came in contact with Shishir Varge of the All India Mulnivasi Bahujan Samaj Central Sangh (AIMBSCS). I joined his eight-day camp in Nagpur,” Majhi recalled.

“They taught people like me how to reason well; taught us the historical facts about the ‘varna vyavastha’ or the Hindu caste system that had never reached us earlier,” he said.

“All this soul/spirit is a lie! Hindus have cheated us,” said Majhi, adding, “I always wondered that if God is so benign then why does he allow such gross iniquities in the society? God is a myth.”

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Majhi said that until he was acquainted with the teachings of Bhimrao Ambedkar he had no idea about the “exploitative system” of the Hindu religion, which he conceded has made deep inroads into possibly every Indian culture through sophisticated propaganda.

“Did Hindus not eat beef? They very much did,” he said.

“And they made Buddhists flee when they faced tough competition from them,” Majhi said at the Dalit-Aadivaasi literature stall at the Tribal Conclave, which had on display titles like “Shoodron ki Khoj” (Search for the Untouchables) and “Tribals not Hindus”.

“I keep telling tribals not to mind such abstractions as God and not spend time on elaborate rituals. We have to make up for lost time,” Majhi said.

He rued that people, even those who benefit from the quota system, “tend to restrict the good fortune to themselves, and don’t educate others”.

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AIMBSCS is an organisation formed to spread the ideology of Ambedkar and Birsa Munda, among other such progressive personalities.

Munda, a 19th-century warrior, was an Adivasi and as far as can be gathered from his calls to his fellow men, was a confirmed sceptic. He was known to have urged tribals not to make animal sacrifices to appease any deity and not to indulge in idol worship.

Sukhmati of the Ho tribe, who too had a book stall at the conclave, had attended the eight-day AIMBSCS workshop in Nagpur as Majhi.

“I just want my future generation to be educated. I think this is the best way to wean them off their inferiority complex. Otherwise, they will just go on drinking and doing nothing as they have been doing for years,” Sukhmati told IANS.

Jharkhand has, among others, three main tribes — Ho, Santhal, and Munda. Although Mundas have of late come into the mainstream, the other two remain backward, with many of their youths unemployed.

The third edition of the four-day-long Tribal Conclave was held from November 15-19 and was themed around the Tribal Health System. There are an estimated 60 million tribals, or indigenous people, across India. (IANS)

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This year 600 children died of malnutrition in Palghar: So what? says Maharashtra’s Tribal Welfare Minister

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Malnutrition in Nigeria. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
  • Videos of Maharashtra’s Tribal Welfare Minister Vishnu Savra’s encounter with the tribals of Palghar went viral on the social media
  • Savra alleged that some activists of Shramjeevi Sanghatana, a local organisation, were instigating the tribals
  • Savra arrogantly shots back at the tribals saying, “If you don’t want me to come, then I won’t.

Palghar, Sept 17, 2016:Maharashtra’s Tribal Welfare Minister Vishnu Savra faced the ire of tribals in Palghar whose children have perished due to malnutrition.

When he visited a tribal hamlet in Khoch village in the worst-hit Mokhada sub-district on Thursday evening, angry locals confronted the minister and demanded answers.

Some infuriated tribals asked him, “600 children have died here (in 2016) what have you done for us?”

“So what? The government is doing its work, implementing schemes…..,” Savra retorted, as some of the enraged villagers virtually asked him to ‘get out’.

One grieving young tribal woman, whose two-year-old son died due to severe malnutrition late August, accosted the minister at the doorstep of her hut, “Where were you so long.. My son died 15 days ago and you come now? You want to click pictures? We don’t want to meet you. No need to come here.”

Other villagers also joined the chorus and said there was no need for the minister to come, and Savra arrogantly shot back, “If you don’t want me to come, then I won’t.”

 

Savra’s comments were dubbed as insensitive by the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and even ruling alliance partner Shiv Sena, with several leaders including Leader of Opposition (Congress) Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, demanding his resignation or dismissal from the cabinet.

 

Later, Savra alleged that some activists of Shramjeevi Sanghatana, a local organisation, were instigating the tribals and that his comments were being “twisted out of context,” even as videos of the encounter went viral on the social media.

The locals expressed their anger that though claims are made of huge funds being allocated for their welfare, they received no funds and had to even ‘beg’ for money to treat the child of the young tribal woman.

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The child’s condition suddenly worsened last month and he was rushed to a Nashik government hospital, but succumbed due to suspected malnutrition symptoms.

 

Stung by the villagers’ aggressive attitude, the BJP leader who is also Guardian Minister for the district, beat a hasty retreat along with his motorcade from the village.

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Governor C V Rao had directed three ministers — Minister for Women and Child Development Pankaja Munde, Tribal Welfare Minister Vishnu Savra and Minister for Public Health Deepak Sawant — to take urgent remedial steps to tackle malnutrition not only in Palghar but in other parts of the state also. (IANS)