Manipur is a Hill State, 90 percent of total area is hill, 6 percent valley and 4 percent water. Why then special provisions like Hill Areas Committee, HAC Act for the majority people residing in 90 percent and not a single constitutional safeguards for the remaining people living in less than 6 percent of total area of Manipur?
HAC Act is dividing the State ever since it was implemented in 1972. The British has left Manipur, but their hill valley divide theory is still existed in the form of HAC Act!
Why special appeasement policy for Hill Areas which covers 90 percent of the State? Is this discrimination to the valley people by Constitution of India?
Government of India fails to study the political history of newly occupied state and did a number of blunders in the beginning. I would say, the problems of unrest and hill-valley divide is the doings of our law makers.
Why can’t Manipur be declared as a Hill State? Why the Meetei are not included in the Schedule Tribe list of India. Meetei tribe was recognised as Forest Tribe list during British India? Why can’t the restoration of Meetei in the ST list be acceptable by Indian Constitution?
Ever since the merger of Manipur kingdom into India, Meetei is the only community which is not provided any safeguard or provisions by the Constitution.
Who says Hills of Manipur are not meant for the Meetei? Meetei are hill people whose civilisation is clearly found in the mountains of Koubru, Nongmaijing, Thangjing etc.
Who says Meetei are not tribe? In fact, the only tribes living in Manipur who are following the pre historic religion and observing the ancient tribal ways are the Meetei? Lai Haraoba is a perfect testimony of Meetei being a tribal.
When any debate is raised on Manipur issue, hill brethren used Hill Areas Committee (HAC) Act to link all their demands and blame every thing on Valley people using this HAC. Who invented this ACT, by the way?
Name any leader from the Hills who has worked for the development of Manipur. All these years, those with vested interest try to pressure the governments using this Act.
We won’t find any such leaders from around 6 lakh hill population. But they will always ready to use HAC Act for every anti Manipur activities. They are ready to oppose every Bill passed by the successive government.
Few years ago, the 3 Bills to protect Manipur faced opposition from Hills. Because many of them feels insecure and thought that HAC will be powerless!
In any protest, be it for student scholarships, job reservation, free food or any freebies, one act the hill people recite in their mouth is HAC Act. It seems a god gifted boon. In fact, this Act is the one which is dividing Manipur into Hill and Valley.
How was this HAC Act formed in Manipur?
After Independence, law makers of the Country committed to safeguard the well-being and interest of the Hill Tribals by assimilating the provisions in the Fifth and Sixth scheduled of the constitution.
Thus, the declaration of “Hill Areas” in Manipur is must dangerous than imposition of Armed Forces Special Power Act of 1958 in Manipur.
When the process for granting of Statehood to Manipur, the Government of India promulgated an Act of Parliament called Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council Act 1971 under section 4 of subsection 3 Vide Bill No. 76 of 26/12/1971 for safeguarding the Hill Areas and protection of Tribals in Manipur, this provide for creation of six ADC in Hill Areas of Manipur for ultimate conversion to full-fledged District. Question is why protection of Hill alone. Why not valley which is less than 10 percent of the total area of the State?
After Independent, the Government of India committed to safeguard the well-being and interest of the Hill Tribals by assimilating the provisions in the Fifth and Sixth scheduled of the constitution, necessitated the declaration of “Hill Areas” in Manipur.
If the Government of India can passed Bill for safeguarding the Hill Areas and protection of Tribals, the same GOI must be ready to pass Bills for protection of Valley Areas and protection of Meetei which is also a Forest Tribe (as per the official record of the British Government of India).
Who planted this HAC Act in 1971?
It was a Congress MP from Outer Manipur Parliamentary seat, Paokai Haokip and N. Tombi Singh, another Congress MP from Inner Manipur Parliamentary seat. The Prime Minister of that period was Indira Gandhi.
These two traitors of Manipur deliberately sidelined the Geo-politics of the State? Instead of HAC, there must be Valley Areas Committee (VAC) Act to safeguard the Valley which need special protection to bring equality in the State.
I was researching who were those traitors of Manipur Assembly. Unfortunately, during those year, from 17 October 1969 to 22 March 1972, President Rule was imposed (for 2 years,157 days).
Where on earth and in which Constitution of the world such Special Protections and land Act for 90 percent of majority and discrimination for the remaining 10 percent minority are found?
Unrest in Manipur and discrimination of Meetei by the Hill people is the handiwork of the Hill Area Committee of 1972. The Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council Act 1971 was drafted by Shri D. G Bhave retired Chief Secretary of Manipur in 1971 and enacted by Parliament in 1972. If I am not wrong, Mr D. G Bhave never consulted the people of Manipur while drafting this Bill.
Dr V. V. Giri President of India promulgated the Manipur Legislative Assembly (Hill Areas Committee) Order, 1972. The First Schedule of the order describes the “Hill Areas” and the Second Schedule contains the list of the Schedule Matters (13 in number).
Voice for a Separate Administration, more Autonomy, Alternate Arrangements and Hill-Valley divide are fueled by HAC. So it is better, we bring another Act to counter this Anti State Act of 1972 for equality and social justice. Power hungry politicians are misusing HAC like a remote control to unrest the state for the last few decades.
The tribal as well as those living in the Hills got HAC Act to live peacefully and bring communal harmony in the State. However, few leaders are using this Act like a weapon to de-stablise the state government and torture other communities. What have other indigenous people got to survive in the future? The equality and unity in the State will be arrived when Valley people got equal protections!
(C) Naorem Mohen
The Writer can be reached at Twitter @laimacha