Close on the heels of the JCILPS’s ultimatum to the state government to convene a special assembly session specifically to introduce and pass an ILP clone Bill by 21st September 2016, the Outer Manipur Tribal Forum (OMTF) and the JAC Against Anti-Tribal Bills (JAC-AATB) have submitted a memorandum to the Governor of Manipur urging her not to allow any anti-tribal bill being introduced and passed by the state assembly. This has been the issue plaguing the state for the last one year plus and no one can say for sure how long would this imbroglio continue to stretch on. The Governor has inherited a controversial issue and she is very much aware of the sensitivity of the same and hence unlikely to do anything that could bring more socio-political turmoil in the state. The state government had already made it clear before the last monsoon session itself that the proposed draft new bill – Manipur Regulation of Non Local Peoples (MRNLP) Bill 2016 would not be introduced in the recently concluded monsoon assembly. The JCILPS had not reacted on this then but after the adjournment of the assembly sine-die it came out with a public announcement fixing 21st September 2016 as the deadline for the state government to convene a special assembly sitting exclusively to “pass” an ILP kin bill. Very much aware that ILPS for Manipur would be a contravention to the provision of the Indian constitution the state government had last year passed the ILPS type Bill – Protection of Manipur People (PMP) Bill which brought the state to near anarchic situation. As if not aware of this, a valley based civil outfit called Indigenous People of Kangleipak (IPAK) came out with a press statement a couple of days back demanding the type of ILPS being enforced in neighboring tribal hill states like Nagaland and Mizoram be introduced in Manipur too. IPAK should remember that Manipur is not one such tribal hill state and so a constitutional protection accorded to tribal hill states cannot be extended to a non-tribal, non-hill state.
It is against such background that the hill based OMTF and JAC-AATB has reminded the Governor of Manipur Ms. Najma Heptullah not to succumb to the pressure tactics and threatening tones of the JCILPS. If Ms. Heptullah takes any wrong step towards this, then it could be an open invitation for double trouble. It is surprising that no sign of either side coming down from their respective stance is visible. The state government had sought opinions from the public on the draft new bill and many had responded to it. Now the affiliates of the JCILPS have asked for an ILPS prevailing in neighboring states, a step higher than the withheld PMP Bill-2015 and the proposed new draft bill MRNLP Bill 2016. The OMTF and the JAC-AATB have asked for total nullification of all the three anti-tribal bills passed last year and the now the proposed MRNLP Bill.