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Group warns Ibobi govt

- Hill-based organisation sets Jan. deadline for demands

Imphal, Dec. 21: A hill-based organisation today gave the Manipur government time till January next year to fulfil its six-point charter of demands, which includes full powers for the six autonomous district councils in the five hill districts.

The general secretary of the Committee on Protection of Tribal Areas, Manipur, Thangkam Lupheng, today said the government had been neglecting their demands for many years and if it did not act by January next year, they would launch an agitation.

The committee has been working for safeguarding the interest of the people in the five hill districts of Ukhrul, Churachandpur, Tamenglong, Senapati and Chandel. While Senapati has two district councils for administrative convenience, the others have one each.

The committee’s demands include full powers and functions for the six councils, adequate powers for the chairman of the Assembly’s hill areas committee, transfer of land records to the hill districts, restoration of original district boundaries and clear police district boundaries.

The Okram Ibobi Singh government admitted that all the powers of the councils were yet to be devolved.

Lupheng said the land records for Chandel and Tamenglong were being maintained in two valley districts and should be transferred to the respective districts.

He said unclear district boundaries entailed problems like overlapping of police jurisdiction and that of autonomous district councils in the hills and panchayati raj institutions in the valley.

“We demand maintenance of the original district boundaries to avoid problems such as overlapping in district administrations,” he said.

He said negligence of their rightful and reasonable demands should be deemed as an act of pursuing determined policies to exploit the land and rights of the tribal people of Manipur. “The committee, with the support and cooperation of other tribal bodies and the public, will constantly struggle for appropriate solutions to our genuine demands. The government shall be held responsible for the outcome of its failure to fulfil the demands by January next,” he warned.

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