ATSUM ‘Haipi pledge’ over ADC Bill 2021 & Tribal customary law & Constitutional rights

Imphal: The 2nd general assembly of All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur (ATSUM) adopted several resolutions after a thorough deliberation and discussion on myriads of issues confronting the tribal people of Manipur, according to a press communique of ATSUM.

The assembly for the tenure 2020-22 was held on July 15, 2022 at Haipi village, Sadar Hills. The assembly was attended by ATSUM Tribunal Members, senior leaders, federating units of ATSUM, All Naga Students’ Association, Manipur (ANSAM) and its units, Kuki Students’ Organisation-General Headquarters (KSO-GHQ) and its units.

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The ATSUM assembly unanimously resolved to reaffirm and endorse the ATSUM executives to pursue the charter of demands placed before the government of Manipur for materialisation as agreed in an official meeting held between ATSUM and state government on August 13, 2019. “Considering the sorry state of affairs of the education system especially in the hill districts, the house recommended the constitution of Education Commission by the state government,” the ATSUM stated.

On the Hill Areas Committee (HAC) recommended “The Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Council Bill 2021,” the ATSUM assembly resolved to reiterate the demand for tabling of the HAC recommended “The Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Council Bill 2021” in the Manipur legislative Assembly and enacting of the same as an Act.

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Regarding the ‘land and forest’ issue, “after threadbare deliberation and in the light of the pre-independent India dispensation whereby the tribal/hill people enjoyed separate stature and position vis-à-vis the valley people; the exclusion of the tribal/hill people from the purview of the MLR &LR Act 1960 and special provisions for the tribals under Article 371C of the Indian Constitution,” the ATSUM assembly unanimously resolved that it will not accept any land laws/forest laws with regard to the tribals being enacted by the state government which undermine and dilute upon the letter and spirit of the existing separate and special provision of the hill people. “Further, to make the tribal position amply clear, the house resolved that the customary system of land ownership and land holding system of the tribal communities must be given due respect,” it added.

The assembly also resolved that any exploration or exploitation of natural resources in tribal land should be acceptable and beneficial to the land owners. On the “imposition of major language,” the ATSUM assembly resolved to fight tooth and nail against any form/kind of imposition of major language upon tribal people.

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Meanwhile, in order to facilitate commitment to tribal causes and issues, a pledge christened as ‘Haipi pledge’ was made at the assembly and a declaration to stand united and resolute on two issues was taken. One is to demand the tabling of HAC recommended “The Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Council Bill 2021” in the Manipur Legislative Assembly “for which we shall strive together until the demand is met by the state government.” The second one is to protect the constitutional rights, customary laws and practices of the tribal communities.

The ‘Haipi pledge’ was signed by president of All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM), president of All Naga Students’ Association (ANSAM), president of Kuki Students’ Organisation – GHQ (KSO-GHQ), president of Senapati District Students’ Association (SDSA), president of Tangkhul Katamnao Sakong (TKS), president of Naga Students’ Union Chandel (NSUC), chairman of Zeliangrong Students’ Union Manipur (ZSUM) and convenor of Joint Students’ Body (JSBC).

NNN

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