IMPHAL: Based on controversial delimitation issue in the state, the All Tribal Rights Protection Forum Manipur (ATRPFM) organized a consultative meeting with the representatives of 14 tribal organizations from different tribes of the state at RNBA Centre Church, Tarung on Tuesday.
The leaders of different tribal organizations discussed the matter wholeheartedly during the consultative meeting and adopted a few resolutions among which was to pursue the delimitation issue in respect of Manipur both legally and also by submitting memorandums and representatives to the concerned authorities viz. President of India, Prime Minister, Chairperson of Delimitation Commission of India, Chief Election Commissioner of India etc. It was further resolved by the participants that all the recognized more than 34 tribes of Manipur shall be the signatories to the joint memorandums and representatives and the ATRPFM is entrusted to pursue the matter.
The meeting also agreed that if the delimitation exercise is not carried out as mandated by the Constitution, and the constitutional rights of the tribal people continues to be suppressed, the tribal people shall jointly explore ways to overcome the same including agitations.
The three resource persons, namely Ex-MPs BD. Behring and Mani Cheranamei, and social worker Ramthing Hungyo raised many valuable and relevant points during their speeches. They said that carrying out a delimitation exercise is constitutionally mandated under Article 82 of the Constitution of India. This is not about tribe or non-tribe but it is constitutionally mandatory to carry out delimitation exercises after every census. The most recent delimitation of constituencies has been done on the basis of 2001 census figures under the provision of Delimitation Act, 2002, informed the resource persons.
They further lamented that the four north eastern states namely Manipur, Assam, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh were left from the most recent delimitation exercise due to various political and other reasons. And recently as the Union Home Ministry and the Delimitation Commission of India are processing for carrying out delimitation exercises for the left out states, the valley based organizations and others are strongly opposing and also have filed PIL in the High Court of Manipur being PIL no 22, 23, 25. It may be mentioned that PIL nos 53 of 2003 and 16 of 2005 were also filed and judgement was given in 2007 by the Guwahati High Court of Manipur Imphal Branch and stopped the exercise of delimitation but the same was invalidated by the Honorable Supreme Court of India, Hence, the constitutionally mandated delimitation exercise received obstruction only on the communal line. The so-called defect in the census of 2001 in some of the hill subdivisions have been rectified and claiming final figures have been reached, however, valley based organizations and political parties are claiming that three is abnormalities and defects in the census 2001 which is baseless.
During the consultative meeting, BD. Behring said that the Delimitation Act, 2002 is an act passed by the Parliament for readjustment of the allocation of seats in the house of the states (Lok Sabha) and the numbers of the seats in the Legislative Assembly (MLA seats) of each state and union territories having legislative Assembly. According to this act, the numbers of seats in both Lok Sabha and state legislative Assembly is to be readjusted equally as per the population of the state in the 2001 census.
According to paper the total population of the hills districts of Manipur namely Senapati, Tamenglong, Churachanpur, Chandel and Ukhrul were, 9, 83, 074 and the final is 8, 82, 130, and for valley districts namely Imphal west, Imphal east, Bishnupur and Thoubal were, 14, 05, 560 and the final were 14, 11, 766. The total population for the whole state is 23, 88, 634 (provisional) and 22, 93, 896 (final). The current allotment of Assembly seats is11 for Imphal East, Imphal West (13), Thoubal (10), Bishnupur (6), Churachanpur (6), Senapati (6), Ukhrul (3), Tamenglong (3) and Chandel (2). If the delimitation is to be done according to the 2001 provisional census, the seats should be 10 (-1), 11 (-2), 9 (-1), 5 (-1), 6, 9 (+3), 4 (+1), 3 and 3 (+1) respectively, informed the former MP.
He further said that on September 22, 2005, an all political party meeting was held chaired by the then CM O. Ibobi, it was decided that as the 2001 census was factually incorrect and defective, the chairman of the delimitation commission should be requested to maintain status quo of the existing Assembly Commission or to carry out the delimitation exercise district wise by the adjusting within the district. So, a memorandum signed by nine political leaders from different political parties was submitted to the Chairman, Delimitation Commission on November 18, 2005.
The meeting was attended by ADC Member, leaders of AMTU, Mate Tribe Union, Kharam Union, Maring Tribe, Kom Union Manipur, Chiru Union, United Zou Organizations, MTU GHQ, KKSDDA, Liangmei Naga Council, PTC-GHQ, ZU (Assam, Manipur and Nagaland) ZU (CCP) and ex-MLAS, ex-MPs, Social Workers, and village Authorities etc.