Manipur to bring another anti-migrant bill

Imphal : An all-party meeting held on Saturday in the office of Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh resolved to pass another anti-migrant bill in the forthcoming session of the Manipur Assembly.

On May 11, President Pranab Mukherjee had withheld the Protection of Manipur People Bill, 2015 and sent the two other bills — The Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (7th amendment) Bill, 2015 and The Manipur Shops and Establishment (2nd amendment) Bill, 2015 — back for consideration.

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Though the President’s decision was conveyed to the Manipur government, Ibobi did not divulge it till June 7 when the delegates of all political parties had rushed to Delhi for a meeting with Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

It was decided in the meeting that legal and constitutional experts shall re-examine the two bills which were sent back for consideration. It was proposed that the third bill should be renamed as the Manipur Local People’s Protection Bill, 2016. In the withheld Bill the base year was 1951. However in the new bill it will be 1972.

M. Nara, the state Communist Party of India (CPI) Secretary said, “Tribals had objected to the three bills. The central government would never give assent to the bills since there will be a divide among the people. The new bill should be acceptable to all sections of the people.”

N. Sovakiran, President of the Manipur People’s Party said, “It has come rather late in the day. Manipur goes to polls in February and official indications are that it may be advanced to December. It means that by the time the bill is referred to the Centre what we will have in Manipur is merely a lame duck government.”

Tombi, the state President of the Janata Dal (United) said, “We will urge the national leaders of our party to take up the issue of the Inner Line Permit system in Manipur.”

The Manipur Assembly had passed the three bills on August 31, 2015.

One student supporting the bills was killed in Imphal and nine tribals were killed in Churachandpur district while protesting against the bills. Till date the bodies have not been claimed and are kept in a morgue.