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Inclusion Of Tribal Areas In The Valley —Points Of Objection

The Tamenglong District (as well as all the Hill Districts of Manipur) is covered by the MANIPUR (HILL AREAS) DISTRICT COUNCIL ACT, 1971, which was enacted by the Parliament.

Therefore, any portion of the tribal viI1ages and areas covered under the said Act, cannot be sliced off (cannot be taken out) to include into the Plain District without amending the “Manipur Hill Area District Council Act, 1971” by the Parliament.

The Jiribam Sub-Division, being valley area and part of the Valley District of Imphal, is governed by the MANIPUR LAND REVENUE & LAND REFORM ACT. This Land Revenue Act is not permitted to be applied to the Tribal Villages of the Hill Districts. Therefore, inclusion of any Hill Village or any part of the Hill District shall be against the provision and spirit of the said Land Revenue Act, and shall be deemed illegal. Therefore, the proposal for inclusion of some Hill areas of Tamenglong Hill District into the proposed Valley District of Jiribam is illegal as well as unacceptable. Such move to annex tribal villages and land of the Hill District to form part of a Valley District is viewed as a stratagem of the Manipur Government with malafide intention to bring the hill areas and tribal land under the revenue system of Manipur Valley, and to usurp the tribal land surreptitiously by the non-tribal which is against the provision of the said Land Revenue Act as well as against the provision of the Constitution to protect the tribal land.

While the MANIPUR (HILL AREAS) DISTRICT COUNCIL ACT is operative in the Hill Districts, the MANIPUR PANCHAYAT ACT is operative in the Valley areas including the Jiribam Sub-Division. Therefore, if any tribal village or area of the Hill District is put under the proposed Jiribam Valley District, such tribal villages of Hill Districts so-included in the proposed Valley District of Jiribam shall no longer be under the MANIPUR HILL AREAS DISTRICT COUNCIL ACT nor could be placed under the MANIPUR PANCHAYAT ACT just as the 60-odd tribal village of Imphal Valley are governed by the Manipur Panchayat Act. As a result the tribal villages in Imphal Valley are deprived of the facilities and benefits from both the District Council Act and the Panchayat Act.

The Tribal Sub-Plan and other Tribal Development Scheme are given to the tribal villages of Hill Districts. If any portion of the Hill District of Tribal villages of the Hill Districts are put into the proposed valley district of Jiribam, such tribal villages shall cease to get the benefit of Tribal Sub-Plan and other tribal development schemes just as more than 60 tribal villages falling within the Valley Districts of Imphal West-I, Imphal West-II, Imphal East, Thoubal and Bishnupur Districts are not getting the benefits of the Tribal Sub-Plan and other tribal schemes for the past Half Century since the said schemes were introduced in the 1950’s.

The Zeliangrong people and areas have already suffered the pangs of fragmentation of their areas by acts of administration of the British regime as well as the post-independent Governments. As a result, the naturally compact and contiguous Zeliangrong areas have been scattered into Assam, Nagaland and Manipur. In Manipur, the Zeliangrong District of Tamenglong are further fragmented and apportioned to Henglep Sub-Division of Churachandpur District, West Sadar-Hills and Tadubi Sub-Division of Senapati District by sheer administrative artificiality. No other tribe in Manipur has been so badly fragmented as the Zeliangrong people and areas.

For the reasons given above, the demand for creation of a new Valley District of Jiribam by annexing tribal villages of Tamenglong District (Taosem Sub-Division) is unacceptable. The hill people particularly the Zeliangrong people strongly oppose to such move to further fragmenting of Tamenglong District or any other hill district to create new valley district. Such move for further fragmentation of Hill District will only lead to serious social and political turmoil in the State.

*The article is written by K Poushinglung.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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