Thursday November 14, 2019
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Divide Manipur into two union territories, say MPs from Northeast

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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)

Next Story

Incidence of Hepatitis-B Virus Higher Among the Tribals in India

The Union Health Ministry said last year that in India, an estimated four crore people were suffering from Hepatitis B and some 1.2 crore were suffering from Hepatitis C

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Hepatitis C Blood Virus [HCV]. Photo Credit: michelsonmedical.org

By Sujit Chakraborty

The incidence of the Hepatitis-B virus is higher among the tribals, specially the Jarawas of the Andaman Islands and the Chakmas in Arunachal Pradesh, experts said.

“Hepatitis-B is still an important cause of chronic liver disease. The prevalence of the infection in higher among the tribals,” said Pradip Bhowmik, one of the country’s most renowned hepatologists and liver expert.

“Around 65 per cent of the Jarawa tribals and 21 per cent tribals in Arunachal Pradesh are affected by the virus. Except Central India, 3 to 6 per cent tribals in most parts of India are also affected.”

The Jarawas is one of the endangered tribes inhabiting the Andaman Islands and any interaction with them is prohibited by law.

“In Arunachal, the Chakma tribe has the highest percentage of the infection. More than 11 per cent of the population is affected which is a matter of concern,” Bhowmik told IANS.

On the eve of the two-day international scientific conference on liver disease, “Livercon V”, beginning on Saturday, Bhowmik said that earlier Hepatitis-C was about 0.1 per cent among voluntary blood donors.

A recent study shows that about 20 per cent of Hepatitis-C cases is transmission through injecting drugs.

“It was found earlier that Hepatitis-C was the disease of old age but new data shows that more than 30 per cent of Hepatitis-C patients are below 30 years of age and most of them have a habit of injecting drugs.”

Bhowmik said that availability of better diagnostic facilities in India was now making it possible to diagnose liver disease early leading to a reduction in complications.

Injection and medicines
Hepatitis A and E are the commonly transmitted hepatotropic viruses transmitted due to poor hygiene, contaminated food and drinking water, poor sanitation. Pixabay

“Awareness development among the health care providers is of paramount importance for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of liver diseases.”

Another hepatology expert Ajit Chowdhury said: “Alcoholic liver diseases were increasing in the country. But a chronic liver disease due to a fatty liver is gradually becoming a threat to the future generation and needs immediate intervention. Diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome are leading to chronic liver disease mostly.

“All these chronic liver diseases lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer.”

Across the world, the prevalence of liver disease is increasing and mortality rates were also rising steadily.

Chowdhury said that liver transplantation has revolutionized treatment for liver diseases and India has many state-of-the-art hospitals to provide the best care.

Gradually the treatment is also becoming cost effective for the common people.

According to Bhowmik, the Indian government has targeted to make India hepatitis free by 2030.

Also Read- Punjab Bans Online Delivery of Food without Hygiene Rating

The World Health Organization has estimated that viral hepatitis caused 1.34 million deaths globally in 2015, a number comparable to deaths due to tuberculosis worldwide.

The Union Health Ministry said last year that in India, an estimated four crore people were suffering from Hepatitis B and some 1.2 crore were suffering from Hepatitis C. (IANS)