Kangpokpi: In a veiled attack on the present BJP Government over the Churachandpur’s turmoil, the All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur termed the violent street protest “not a spontaneous phenomenon” but an outburst of growing dissent against the adverse and regressive policies of the present N. Biren Singh-led Government of Manipur.
The student body also stated that the civil unrest and violence that erupted in Churachandpur was a throwback to the infamous 3 Bills that fuelled the tribal uprising in August 2016.
It stated that the forest and land survey, with an objective of evicting villages in the survey areas, is a direct affront to tribal hill people while adding that survey of the forest areas in the hills of Manipur that are supposedly “reserved forests/protected forests/wildlife sanctuaries” have drawn lots of flak from the tribal communities because there was procedural lapse when these forests were declared as such.
Many of these forest reserves were declared by the government without the consent and knowledge of the local villagers. The Hill Areas Committee of the Manipur Legislative Assembly, on March 11, 2021, vide its resolution No. 38/2020-(HAC) had also resolved even to the extent that these reserved forest/protected forest/wildlife sanctuaries shall not be enforced by the departments without the approval of the Hill Areas Committee. And yet the government has not properly implemented this recommendation, it alleged.
It also alleged that the state government’s highhandedness towards the tribals and insensitive handling of the situation had also led to the violence and protest in Churachandpur.
It further stated that despatching commando forces from neighboring districts to suppress the protestors and to stifle the voice of dissent had also aggravated the situation.
Instead of trying to calm the public and find an amicable solution that will allay their grievances the government imposed its forces and angered the public beyond control. Such attitude and approach of the government is unfortunate and condemnable because as many as 25 people have been injured including two who are in critical condition, ATSUM added.
While appealing for peace and calm in the state ATSUM also takes strong exception to the communal rhetoric of some valley-based civil organizations such as WMC and KKL.
It stated that these organizations should refrain from playing divisive policies among the tribal communities. The majority of the tribal people understood the diabolical agenda of these organizations and as such their efforts to disintegrate the tribal communities will be futile.
The vast majority of the tribal people have now felt the urgent need for unity to safeguard our own rights and interests, it added.
ATSUM also stated that in the pursuit of ST status, these organizations are further alienating the tribal hill people from the valley people, and the unity and integrity of the people of the state are at stake.
The government of Manipur should immediately intervene to stop these communal tones from spiraling out of control, it stated.
Reacting to the alleged unethical reports of ISTV, ATSUM stated that the ISTV news report in which the protestors in Churachandpur were alleged to be speaking in the Myanmarese language, then and there, branding the protestors as illegal immigrants is outrageous.
The ISTV news report demonstrates the insensitivity and naivety of the majority community towards the language, culture, and customs of the tribal communities of the state, ATSUM stated.