ANSAM justifes arson, says...
It was a thing waiting to happen
Source: The Sangai Express / Newmai News Network

Imphal, July 05: The All Naga Students' Association, Manipur (ANSAM) has categorically said that the July 3 midnight incident of burning down numerous Government schools in the Manipur hill districts of Senapati, Ukhrul and Chandel was bound to happen.

ANSAM leaders informed Newmai News Network that the "news of the burning down of Government high schools in the hill districts of Manipur does not come as a surprise; it was bound to happen.

Indignation and discontentment had been building up for decades".

However, ANSAM neither owned the responsibility nor deny carrying out the incidents.

"The Manipur Government is nave enough to think that this is just a law and order problem.

No.This is a complicated socio-political problem, and must be dealt with accordingly.

This is an issue involving two distinct entities the Tribal in the Hills and the Meiteis in the Valley," explained the Naga students' body.

It then pointed out that the problem had already started long ago "when the valley people took advantage of the simplicity of the tribals and began arbitrarily framing policies to keep them under subjugation.

The remains of a gutted school at Senapati and the Ministerial team inspecting the losses caused by the act of arson

The Meitei dominated Government has been surreptitiously making plans to occupy the hill areas through so called various urbanization policies the latest being the attempt to convert Moreh into a Municipality border town".

The Naga students added, "Again, with the aid of the State machinery, the Meitei language and script was imposed on the tribals, threatening their very existence.

On 24th April, 1979 , the Manipur Official Language Bill was passed making Meiteilon (Meitei language) the official language of the State; the use of the English Language was to be progressively restricted".

The ANSAM while citing the chronicle of the issue, said that in 1983, a notification was issued making Meiteilon a compulsory subject in all schools (and it still is).

"That was not enough, in 1989 Meiteilon was made a compulsory MIL paper in the Civil Service Exam (UPSC) to discourage the tribals from appearing at it.

This, however, was shelved for the time being following a legal petition filed by the All Tribal Students Union Manipur (ATSUM)", said the ANSAM statement.

It then alleged that a plan was made to forcibly assimilate the tribals (culturally, linguistically and historically) into the dominant "Meitei stream" by imposing the State syllabus in all schools under Board of School Education Manipur (BSEM), adding, "To prevent any school from seeking affiliation to other better Boards like Nagaland Board of School Education (NBSE), CBSE etc, a cabinet decision was taken on 7th January, 2004 , denying NOC to all private schools".

The Naga students' statement also added that on May 14, 2005 , the State Cabinet again decided to make the newly concocted Meitei Mayek (Meitei Script) compulsory in all schools in Manipur; this was to be introduced in a phased manner.

"Moreover, after Manipur University (M.U.) was converted to a Central University, the Meitei dominated Manipur Government craftily reduced the tribal quota from 33% to 7.5% by applying the all India reservation ratio, notwithstanding the fact that the tribal population in Manipur is very high.

Could this be the beginning of the impending catharsis? If this is the case, then, the government should find out the root cause of the problem as to why it has happened instead of using military might to suppress every symptom by trying to find out who has made it happened," fumed the All Naga Students Association,Manipur.