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Demand for separate hill adm
Published on 13 Oct. 2010 12:21 AM IST
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Altogether five hill area tribal districts of Manipur under the banner of Separate Hill Areas Administration Committee (SHAAC) have demanded for a separate hill areas administration out of the existing state of Manipur, citing historical facts about the Meiteis and hill area as people belonging to different race with no similarity, suppression and oppression of their rights by the Meiteis and Article No. 371 – C of the Indian Constitution, which provided rooms for the formation of Separate Hill Areas Administration in the state of Manipur.
The five districts, which the SHAAC said, were geographically a contiguous chunk of Hill Areas in Manipur, included Chandel, Churachandpur, Senapati, Tamenglong and Ukhrul.
SHAAC convener, P. Ashuli Arche and secretary, R. L. Nelson in a memorandum to the prime minister said the hill tribal people have inhabited these hill areas since times immemorial by their ancestors and so these hill tribal people were indigenous ethnic people of these hill areas. The Committee said the history of Manipur clearly stated that the Maharajas of Meiteis (Manipuris) often attacked the hill tribal people but that their lands were never subjected to any king of Meitei kingdom (Manipur Kingdom). It said this fact, right from the beginning of 33 A.D, was described by L. Joychandra Singh in his book “The Lost Kingdom (Royal Chronicles Of Manipur).” SHAAC said the book stated that the term, “Manipur” meant only plain areas in the state of Manipur inhabited by Meitei people and the term, “Manipuris” meant “only Meiteis” and not the hill tribal people, and the term, ‘Tribal People’ meant, the indigenous tribal ethnic people living in the hill areas of Manipur state. The Committee also said that the book stated the fact that Manipuris, being advanced in art, aggressively attacked (and still they are attacking), hill tribal people only with the objective of war booty and of capturing tribal young men and women to be used as slaves in the palace of Meitei kingdom and to politically and economically dominate them. “This is the Inimical-Traditional-Practice of Meiteis towards the Hill Tribal People till the present days,” SHAAC said.
Further, the Committee said that the anthropology of Manipur clearly defined that hill tribal people and Meiteis in Manipur were distinctively and identically different from each other especially in their history, culture and traditional practices. “There is no iota of similarity between these two racial groups. Therefore, the co-existence of these two people is impossible, but they can be good neighbours in the civilized world,” it said. The SHAAC alleged that since times immemorial, the Meiteis have been exploiting the hill tribal people in many ways - a known fact to all that did not need any explanation. “So, how can these two people co-exist here on earth under one administrative umbrella? Since 33 A.D, the Rights of Hill Tribal People have been suppressed and oppressed by the Meiteis that cannot be tolerated any more, ‘Enough is Enough,’ the SHAAC said.
Buttressing their points of demand for the formation of a Separate Hill Areas Administration out of present state of Manipur, the Committee said the following features could be determined: Linguistic and cultural homogeneity, financial and economic consideration, religion, administrative considerations, common historical tradition, existing situation, geographical contiguity and wishes of indigenous people.
The SHAAC said the tribal people of the five districts were far behind the Meiteis (Manipuri plain people) economically, educationally, financially and in all the aspects of development, alleging that every fund, developmental projects and welfares coming from New Delhi (the Centre) even those specially meant for tribal people were solely utilized for the welfares of Meiteis and their dominated plain areas. The Committee said this was happening as the Meiteis were majority in the State Legislative Assembly and the seats of the heads of every department was occupied by them. It said that the ratio of state government employees for Meiteis and hill tribal people is 100 : 1.
Further, it was stated that the Indian Constitution, Article No. 371 – C, provided rooms for the formation of Separate Hill Areas Administration in the state of Manipur. The Committee, therefore, demanded that, on the basis of this Constitutional Provision, a Separate Hill Tribal Areas Administration out of existing Manipur state be formed by the government of India at the earliest.
The SHAAC vowed to “fight on to the last” till the hill tribal people in Manipur achieved their aspiration/goal, - Administrative Separation for Hill Tribal People from Meiteis.
The Committee urged the government of India to urgently detail a Commission to look into its demand and solve the problem according to the wishes of the hill tribal people to have peace in the land.

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