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Ex-Manipur MLAs urge Centre to reject 'anti-tribal' bills

After the passage of the bills, tribals launched protests and clashed with security personnel alleging "outsiders" will snatch away their land rights. 



New Delhi: Former Manipur MLAs, who had resigned following passage of three contentious bills in the state Assembly a year ago, today urged the Centre not to give its consent to the "anti-tribal" bills.

"We are here to apprise the central leadership, the President of India about the trauma we are facing today. The three bills were passed without referring to the hill people, as is the rule," Samuel Risom, one of the four MLAs, told reporters here.

"With these enactments, they want to destroy the hill people and tribals. They want to give a free hand to others with vested interests to purchase land in the state," he said.

The Manipur Assembly had passed three contentious bills--the Protection of Manipur People Bill, 2015, the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (Seventh Amendment) Bill, 2015, and the Manipur Shops and Establishments (Second Amendment) Bill, 2015, last year.

The former MLAs belonging to Naga People's Front (NPF)-- Dikho, Alexander Pou, Nunghlung Victor and Samuel Risom - had resigned, alleging "procedural lapses" and that the bills were "against the interest of the tribals".

"The bills were passed within minutes without any debate and they called it 'unanimously passed'. We were not even given time to put forth our concerns," Risom said.

"But, at least by our resignation, people are now aware about the situation of tribals in Manipur," he said.

NPF Manipur state President Awangbow Newmai complained of the indifference shown to the "injured" state of Manipur.

"It is time the Government of India intervenes and sees to it that normalcy is restored in Manipur and interests of all sections of people are safeguarded and that everyone is happy. And if otherwise, Manipur is going to face a very serious problem," he said.

The former MLAs and other NPF leaders yesterday met Union minister Kiren Rijiju with their plea. They also want to meet President Pranab Mukherjee and Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

After the passage of the contentious bills, tribals had launched protests and clashed with security personnel alleging the bills will allow the "outsiders" to snatch away their land rights. Nine people, including an 11-year-old boy, were killed during the agitation.

From Zee News

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