ATSUM: ‘No ADC Election without HAC recommended ADC Bill, 2021’

Senapati: The All Tribal Students Union, Manipur (ATSUM) which is the tribal apex student body of Manipur has come out against the proposed ADC elections in the hills of the state without the HAC recommended ADC Bill, 2021 duly initiated in the assembly. This step came in when Ningthoujam Geoffrey, Secretary to Chief Minister had issued an order to the Tribal Affairs & Hills to process for placing before cabinet regarding conduct of election to the ADC of the state on April 8 last.

In this regard, a consultative meeting of All Tribal Students Union, Manipur (ATSUM), Kuki Students Organization, General Headquarters (KSO-GHQ), All Naga Students Association, Manipur (ANSAM) and other senior ATSUM leaders was held on Wednesday at Amity Hall, Adimjati Complex and discussed the HAC Recommended ADC Bill 2021 and the state government’s intention to process the conduct of ADC election in near future.

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The meeting which was attended by the executives of the three apex tribal student bodies and its senior leaders of the state thoroughly deliberated on the ADC Bill Movement spearheaded by ATSUM that demanded the introduction of the bill in the Manipur Legislative Assembly. After a thorough discussion, the meeting resolved to ratify its long standing demand of tabling the bill in the Manipur Legislative Assembly at the earliest possible time. It has also resolved that the ADC election should not be conducted until such time as the process for introduction of HAC recommended Bill 2021 in the Assembly is duly initiated.
The ATSUM expressed its deep dissatisfaction on the previous government which had failed to table the bill despite inking an agreement with the three tribal student bodies in the past. On 25 November 2021, the three student bodies signed an agreement with the government in which the state government had given its assurance to table the bill in the winter session of Manipur Legislative Assembly in the event of ATSUM to suspend its agitation.

However, the student body lamented that the winter session was never convened as per agreement although the agitation was suspended after the assurance from the state Govt.

In a press communiqué issued by Khaiminlen Doungel, Information & Publicity Secretary, ATSUM, stated “It is the aspiration and expectation of the tribal people that the HAC recommended Bill 2021 is tabled in the assembly at the soonest time possible. ATSUM had always demanded the timely conduct of the ADC election in the past and had even launched agitations to pressurise the government for early elections but, the government on one pretext or another had delayed to introduce the bill in the assembly,” they stated.

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When all the tribal people of the state decided to strengthen and empower the ADC by supporting HAC recommended Bill 2021, the government seems to act in a hurry to conduct ADC election without it which they called “Ironic.” It is well understood that an ADC election without strengthening the ADC is just a mockery and a lot of eyewash, they mentioned. Therefore, if the government is really for empowering and strengthening the ADC then it has to conduct the election after the HAC recommended bill is introduced in the assembly. Only then, the good intention of the government will be validated, they demand.

In this regard, the ATSUM, KSO-GHQ and ANSAM with senior leaders in the meeting resolved that the HAC recommended ADC Bill 2021 should be tabled in the Manipur Legislative Assembly as soon as possible and also resolved that the ADC election should not be conducted without first giving empowerment to ADC within the ambit of the Indian Constitutions.

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