UCM clarifies over president’s statement

IMPHAL, 19th May: Maintaining that the statement released by Joint Action Committee Against Anti-Tribal Bills (JAC-AATB), Churachandpur on Thursday was nothing but an attempt to create confusion and misunderstanding among the people, United Committee Manipur (UCM) has clarified that comments by its president on the 6th foundation day of Kanglei Ima Lup (KIL) was simply a general reference to some of the current issues and nothing in particular.

However, there was a mention on the issue of ILP bill and its position in Churachandpur and the issue of 6th Schedule is not a new thing since it has been well debated and discussed upon at various levels by leaders of various ethnic communities, UCM information and publicity secretary Leishemba Lamaba said. He recalled that UCM had organised a two-day people’s convention in 2013 which was overwhelmed by various opinions rejecting extension of 6th Schedule in the hill areas. Among the speakers included many prominent tribal leaders of Manipur.

Leishemba said levelling allegations against an organisation just to take advantage of a position without any serious thought on the matter is really disheartening and unexpected. Moreover, there is nothing wrong for an organisation to make political demands but what UCM is really worried was the context in which the MoU was signed and some of the points mentioned in the pact which were contrary to the issue at hand.

The demand of new district and reference to ongoing SoO are separate issues, as such UCM commented that these issues are totally irrelevant and could have been raised at a different forum, Leishemba said, while clarifying that UCM never mentioned that SOO groups were party to the MoU, nor undermined the authorities of Hill Area Committee (HAC) but rather called for more understanding of the powers and functions of HAC so that it does not unnecessarily create confusion and misunderstanding among the people.

However, UCM firmly believed that a state executive decision which is purely going to affect the whole of Manipur as a part of its public policy passed by the Manipur Legislative Assembly must be respected and anything can be added, altered, omitted later on during the long course of its implementation. But the very basic objective and motive of the bill cannot be questioned by a subordinate committee which was created by the Manipur Legislative Assembly itself under Manipur Legislative Assembly (Hill Areas Committee) Order, 1972, on mere reasons that they were not consulted, Leishemba observed.

On the other hand, the concept of majority dominance or the so called dominant hegemony is non-existent, for till 1941 the different ethnic groups have been living side by side although some of the hill based organisations have forgotten who are their brothers and sisters, he noted. Asking to drop the feeling of partisanship, UCM appealed to all organisations to come forward and understand the enemy within themselves who are taking advantage of the situation. Conveying that UCM always opens its doors for discussion, debate and consultation, Leishemba asked the JAC to consult first before going to media for levelling charges against anybody. He also reiterated that UCM is an organisation committed to protect the unity and integrity of Manipur and will continue to do so as long as it exists.

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