Manipur political parties to lobby in Delhi for three bills

Imphal, May 17 (IANS) Representatives of political parties in Manipur are busy drafting a memorandum calling upon their central leaders to support presidential assent for three bills that introduce a system to check influx of migrants into the north-eastern state.

A committee, chaired by Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam, has finished drafting the memorandum, said an official here.

“It will be handed over to Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh who will table it in the next round of meeting of the political parties. A time frame cannot be announced now,” he said.

The three bills — the Protection of Manipur People Bill 2015, the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (Seventh Amendment) Bill 2015, and the Manipur Shops and Establishment (Second Amendment) Bill 2015 — were passed last year by the state assembly.

Earlier, a visit to New Delhi, proposed on Monday, of the representatives of political parties was put off indefinitely.

A politician of a local party said: “The deliberate delay on the part of the representatives is understandable. The leaders of the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) have announced that the delegates must convince the central leaders on the need to give assent to the bills.”

He said the representatives would be welcome back only if they were successful, but would face the music if they returned empty-handed.

“The President, who refused to clear the bills all these months, is unlikely to approve the same.”

The JCILPS activists have been organising demonstrations, including blocking of roads, to demand immediate enactment of the bills.

“We will keep on agitating till assent is given,” Khomdram Ratan, the JCILPS convenor, said.

On the other hand, there is a widening chasm between the Naga and the Kuki organisations over the 48-hour shutdown intended to send a grim message to the central leaders during the proposed talks on the pending Bills.

Meanwhile, Kuki Impi Manipur (KIM) and Kuki National Organisation (KNO) asked the Kukis not to organise shutdowns.

“The government is yet to rehabilitate the victims of the NSCN (IM) atrocities on the Kukis during 1992-97. Those who organise the shutdown shall be made accountable,” said KNO, the umbrella body of 18 Kuki insurgent groups which signed the suspension of operations with the government.

“A preliminary meeting was held on May 13 and the next round is scheduled on May 20. So there is no question of organising the shutdown now,” said KIM, which is regarded as the apex Kuki organisation.

The All Tribal Chiefs Forum Manipur, however, supported the shutdown in the tribal areas.

An ILP is a special permit required to enter certain restricted areas in some north-eastern states of the country. The system is already in force in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram.

It was first introduced by the British, restricting entry into these areas to protect their commercial interests.

–IANS

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