TODAY -

Tribal meet discusses issues in hill areas
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, August 25 2012: Tribal lea-ders today discussed various issues pertaining to the hill areas of Manipur.

The meeting held in Imphal discussed on MLR & LR Act, 1960 as its first agenda.

The meeting was moderated by All Manipur Tribal Union (AMTU) general secretary Romeo Bungdon.

As the discussion starts, Letpu kaokip drew the attention of the leaders on the demand of raised by MLR &LR Act Demand Committee for extension of the said Act in hill areas through notification or any available means.

Thereafter, Prof Gangmumei Kamei narrated the basis of the MLR& LR Act, 1960 right from its introduction.

Gangmumei suggested that the extension of the Act should be opposed at any cost and the views of the Hill Area Committee (HAC) should compulsorily be sought in this regard or any matter relating to hill areas and people.

Social worker Somi Keishing observed that the question of land in hill areas is very much associated with the customs and cultures of the hill people.

As such, protection of land in hill areas should be done based on the importance and authority of the HAC for protection of hill areas and it rights.

He also emphasised on the need for review of Reservation System/Policy in the state.

One hill land survey matter, Somi stated that since the tribals have a customary land holding style, the proposed hill land survey should not be encouraged under any case.

On Forest Act, Grace Jajo, social activist expressed her views on the classifications of forests in Manipur.

She suggested that since the HAC is yet to sign on the forest classification order, "we need to re-activate the HAC for protection of forest-related tribal rights" .

For tie-up with HAC: One tie-up/coordination with HAC, Letpu Haokip suggested that a seminar may be conducted for gathering view/opinions of leaders, scholars, intellectuals which shall be submitted onward to the HAC for consideration.

BD Behring, a former MP expressed the need for unity and coordination of all tribal organisations under one umbrella.

He also appreciated Committee on Protection of Tribal Area Manipur (COPTAM) for its activities.

Behring suggested that the umbrella organisation may be under AMTU.

Behring also said that the hill-valley boundary needs to be clearly made.

He also wants to have an office of AMTU at Imphal.

On queries made by some leaders about AMTU, D.P Panmei, president of AMTU clarified that tribal union is non-political, non-governmental and purely a social organisation formed with the aim and objectives of safeguarding the rights of tribal people as provided by the Indian Constitution.

At the end of the meeting, the tribal leaders resolved to conduct a state level seminar on the tribal problems and grievances at the earliest possible time.

They also resolved to have the next meeting on September 17 in Imphal.


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