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FACTYCM Petitions Manmohan

IMPHAL, April 25: Federation of All Tribal Youth Club, Manipur (FATYCM) has petitioned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on April 23, accusing the State Government of Manipur of exploiting the tribals of their rights “against the spirit and letter of the Constitution” of the country.

The reshuffling of Cabinet portfolios recently by the incumbent Congress-led Secular Progressive Front (SPF) Government at the State is “an ample and naked example” of the exploitation by the ruling dispensation against the tribals of the State, said the petition made available to NNN, hinting at the Tribal Development and Hills portfolio that has been withheld by Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh in a recent cabinet reshuffling from Phungzathang Tonsing, a tribal lawmaker, who held the portfolio briefly after it was relinquished by another tribal lawmaker DD Thaisii, who was placated by the government by offering a “meaty” portfolio after threatening to resign.

“Today, the tribal areas of Manipur are severely under-developed: there are no good communication infrastructure, hospital, drinking water facility, school – nothing, to say the least,” added the tribal body for good measure.

It highlighted that the State of Manipur that measures 22,327 sq. km. is inhabited in the hills, measuring 20,000 sq. km., by various tribal groups for ages. But the State development activities are concentrated only in the valley Imphal which is hardly 2000 sq. km, the FATYCM said.

The tribals of Manipur have been systematically exploited during the past 60 years following India’s Independence. They have been the most exploited lot amongst the tribals of Northeast India, it said.

It went on to say that the cries from various tribal bodies to register their grievances have fallen on deft ear, and reminded the Central official visitors who often visits Imphal that “Imphal is not Manipur”.

FATYCM reminded the Prime Minister that the Tribal Development and Hills portfolio in the State cabinet, which is a constitutional provision naturally given to tribal man or woman, has been taken away from the tribal representative and “concentrated in the hand of the Chief Minister…against the spirit and letter of the Constitution.”

“How long can the tribals of Manipur tolerate such kind of step motherly treatment?” asked the petition, and demanded that the department be reposed back in the hand of a tribal representative. “…if this state of affairs continues, law and order problem can crop up any time and in such a situation the government will be solely responsible,” the petition has warned.

It also demanded a special economic package for the tribals of Manipur so that they too can stand at par with the rest of the tribals of Northeast India.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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