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Kuki Chiefs Raise Voice Against Amendment Of VA Act

IMPHAL, Apr 18: A strong message has been sent out by burning an effigy of the chief minister of Manipur in protest against the proposed agenda of the government to amend the structure of power of Kuki polity through Manipur (village authority in the hill areas) amendment act, 2011.

The effigy of the Chief Minister of Manipur was burnt as a mark of protest against the proposed amendment Act of 2011 of the State Government.

A series of mobilization meetings have been underway for sometimes now in the Kuki areas of Manipur entitled “awareness campaign on the proposed “Manipur (village authority in the hill areas) amendment act, 2011, and its effects on the hill tribal lands”. The Kuki chiefs’ associations have been spearheading the movement in putting the issue of the Act in public domain. A flagship program was recently held in Kangpokpi on April 13 last.

The most recent of such meeting was today’s which was organized by Sadar Hills Chiefs’ Association (SAHILCA) in Saitu Gamphazol. Not receiving any positive feedbacks from the government, the gathering of some 200 Kuki chiefs today resorted to sloganeering and effigy burning.

Some of the placards were emblazoned with hard hitting and strong worded sentences like “congratulation CM on being the first non-tribal Tribal Development minister”, “to hell with village authority amendment act, 2011”, “we oppose the proposal Manipur (village authority in hill areas) amendment act, 2011”, etc.

The present movement is also directed against Proposed Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council (Fourth Amendment) Act, 2011. The elections to district councils were recently done amidst “controversial” claim, mostly coming from the Nagas of Manipur.

President of SAHILCA, Tongpu Kipgen, said at the event, “We want peaceful co-existence and harmony in Manipur. We are not waging war against any one by organizing awareness programs. Rather, we are laying in public domain the cause of the tribals of Manipur.”

R Sanga, a resource person, spoke at length on the affect of the proposed village authority act, 2011. He said, “The sole purpose of seeking amendment of Manipur hill village authority act, 1956, is to dominate and control the hills of Manipur,” he said.

The 200 village chiefs took a draft resolution at the end of the program that, “since the village authority act, 1956, was not adopted by the tribals of Manipur, the presently proposed Act of 2011 will also fought tooth and nail.”

Alongside, the effigy of chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh and the draft document of the proposed amendment Act of 2011 were consigned to the fire as a symbol of intensification of their protest against the Act.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express/ Newmai News Network)

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