ATSUM: Tribals of Manipur neglected despite guarantees in Article 371C

The All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM) has “earnestly appealed to all the right thinking electors/voters of the Hill Areas” to elect only such representatives whose vision, competence and integrity will be able to pick up the course of the new Hill Areas Committee (HAC) Autonomous District Council (ADC) Bill 2021 and translate it into an Act.

In a statement Sunday, the apex tribal student body of Manipur said that, “as vanguard for the defense of the rights and interest of 1.3 million tribal populace of the state feels it’s pertinent to issue a clarion call to all the tribal electors to stand firmly in unity for our collective future in the upcoming 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly election 2022”.

According to the ATSUM, since independence, the tribals in “our state” have lived as a neglected population despite the guarantees in the Indian constitution through Article 371C. “We appreciate the Hill Areas Committee for their historic unison across party lines and ethnic divides to unanimously adopt the Manipur Hill Area Autonomous District Councils Bill 2021 on August 16, 2021,” it said.

The ATSUM then said that the tribal student body, with the “unrelenting” support of Kuki Students’ Organisation (KSO) and All Naga Students’ Association Manipur (ANSAM), has been impressing on the present BJP-led Government to table the Bill and take it forward. “However, we are extremely disappointed at the response and position of the State Government which continues to deliberately deny our advancement as equal citizens of this state,” it further said.

The ATSUM also said that the tribal people’s only hope of translating their collective ideals is by electing representatives who would embark this collective demand to translate the new Hill Areas Committee (HAC) Autonomous District Council (ADC) Bill 2021 into a reality. We therefore urge all the tribal candidates across the political spectrum to give a primary commitment to the new HAC ADC Bill 2021, keeping aside your respective party manifestos and policies. “Anything else is an appeasement which cannot usher a collective transformation for the whole tribals. We also urge all the candidates to explicitly voice their positions on the new HAC ADC Bill 2021,” it added.

The apex tribal student body of Manipur then said, “Let us continue to stand in firm unison at such a decisive juncture and collectively voice this sole demand and cast our sacrosanct vote for only such futuristic leaders who commits for tribal rights”.

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