Sit-in staged to demand native chief secretary

STAFF REPORTER IMPHAL, 7th Apr: Under the joint initiative of All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur (ATSUM); Democratic Students’ Alliance of Manipur (DESAM) and Apunba Ireipakki Maheiroi Sinpanglup (AIMS), a sit-in-protest was staged near the gate of MBC, Chingmeirong on Saturday in pursuance of the demand for appointment of a native senior-most IAS officer as the chief secretary of Manipur.
After the demonstration, a joint delegation of the student’s organisations submitted a memorandum address to the Prime Minister, the Governor of Manipur and the chief minister for initiating necessary process to fulfil the demand.
Speaking on the side-lines of the sit-in, DESAM vice president Nameirakpam Edison expressed strong resentment that the government has not only ignored memorandum submitted on the same issue in the past but has demoralised Manipuri officers who are eligible and capable to hold the post by appointing a non-local IAS officer.
Terming the government’s policy of preferring the non-local officer as an affront to the people of Manipur, he contended that by side-lining the native officers the government has clearly demonstrated that it is not concerned with safeguarding the interest and sentiment of the indigenous communities settling in Manipur.
Edison also cautioned the government that the democratic form of protest of the student’s organisations might take an ugly turn in case state authorities do not honour the genuine demand for appointing a native IAS officer as the chief secretary.
According to ATSUM tribunal general secretary Joseph Hmar, public disenchantment triggered by the government’s preference of a non-Manipuri IAS officer for the top civil post and belittling the seniority norms over such appointment has the potential to go out of control.
In view of Manipur having sufficient number of native IAS officers the preference being given to a non-local underscores hegemonic intention and policy of the new government in addition to undermining interest of the eligible native officers and technically handing over the state administration to outsiders, he maintained.
What is even more disheartening for the ethnic people of Manipur in the aftermath of appointing a non-local officer is that such policy contradicts the people’s aspiration for constitutional safeguard of the indigenous communities, Joseph opined and suggested that the government should revoke its earlier decision and start fresh process for short-listing the most eligible and senior IAS officers from amongst the native candidate to entrust the task of chief secretary.
It is time that the state government demonstrate its love for Manipur by upholding interest and sentiment of the native people, he added.

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