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Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham, Editor of Imphal Times has more than 15+ years in the field of Journalism. A seasoned editor, was a former editor of ISTV News. He resides in Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai, with his wife and parents. Rinku can be contacted at [email protected] 

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Dr. Ranjan can move an amendment motion to the CAB when it is introduced in Lok Sabha – O. Joy

IT News

Imphal, Dec 8

Octogenarian politician, who was elected six times, as member of the Manipur Legislative Assembly Okram Joy said that Dr. Ranjan, as a member of the Parliament can move amendment motion to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 when it is tabled in the Parliament at all the three stages of passing the Bill.

Dr. Ranjan, the MP representing the Inner Manipur Parliamentary constituency, had urged the Lok Sabha to incorporate a special provision in the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) so as to keep Manipur out of its ambit during zero hour on November 28. However, after the Union cabinet cleared for introduction of the CAB , 2019, followed by distribution of the Bill to the members of the Parliament, it is loud and clear that, there is no saving clause to the Bill component when it comes for the state of Manipur.

Talking exclusively to Imphal Times today morning, O Joy said that in parliamentary affairs legislative business is one of the important functions. Now the Bill will be introduced in the Lok Sabha and following that in the Rajya Sabha , he said.

Elaborating on what can Dr. Ranjan do now as a member of the Parliament, O Joy said, “Every member of the house has the right to oppose a Bill or to move for amendment of the Bill”.

“Dr. Ranjan, being a member of the House has the right to oppose the Bill during introduction stage. He has every right to oppose the Bill on the ground that the Bill will affect the North East states of India”, he said.

“He has the right to move an amendment for insertion of a saving clause like moving for amendment to the clause that stated that this Bill has been extended to the entire country by inserting a sentence like “except for North East States” or “Except Manipur”.  Whether his move for amendment will be effective or not, depends to the decision of the House. But as a responsible member of the House he may oppose the Bill.  He has every right to move for an amendment to the proposed Bill”, the Octogenarian politician said.

O Joy further said that the process of passing a Bill is going through 3 stages – that is the 1st reading , 2nd reading and Third reading .

The First reading is introduction and the second reading is discussion of the principle and the third reading is consideration of the Bill on clause by clause. Every member has the right to oppose the Bill at any stage.     

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My worries in filing stories about Assembly Session

The greatest challenge in my entire career as journalist has been reporting the assembly proceeding particularly during sessions of the Manipur Legislative Assembly. It is not because I am not aware on how to report or edit news, but because senior colleagues in the field had warned me about the unwanted consequences that may occurred during the course of filing stories about the proceedings.
Usage of terminology has been a major concern for journalists doing parliamentary reporting. A minor mistake on the terminology often amount to a mockery of the legislators besides degrading the credibility of the media organization. It is not just the usage of terminology but it is also about maintaining integrity of being a journalist which was often hampered due to the privilege of the house.
A senior Journalist of the state was once summoned to apology before the house for alleged mockery of the house reflected at one of his write up.
Can I file story about the irresponsible behavior of a member?
Sometime a member of the house was found sleeping when another member was moving a motion or answering to questions. Sometime a member walks out from the house when the house was discussing serious issues. Sometime a mere breach of protocol by member becomes a joke or sometime a mobile phone ringing might disturbed the proceeding of the house. Can I file this sort of stories as this are also stuffs that will caught the attention of the audiences. Any write up criticizing an event which comes under the jurisdiction of Assembly Secretariat during session or any damage done during the period could be called upon for contempt.
The question arises out here is - Are we journalist being denied the right to freedom of reporting?  Are our rights limited only to certain area?
Certainly, there are certain limitations for parliamentary reporting. But what are the limitations. The area of limitation at which a reporter need to strictly abide need to be published by the authority of the learned staffs of the state Legislative Assembly.
On June 27, 2012, I joined my journalist colleagues for coverage of the second session of the 10th Manipur legislative Assembly. On the first day except for the obituary reference of T Gougin was taken up. Moving obituary motion of a departed member is a much but then - Is the house serious about moving the obituary motion? The members of the house including the leader of the house and opposition leader as well as those attending the motion had stated different date of birth of the departed leader T Gaugin who was a deputy chief Minister during the time of YM Sheija I 1974. Surprisingly one senior Minister said Gaugin was expired on 5 June 2012, while another said he was expired in 6 June 2012. Another MLA while joining the obituary reference had even said that the date of birth of the departed member has not been recorded correctly.
Should I report this or shouldn’t I? I have reason for picking up the analytical reporting as I could prove the inefficiency of the then assembly staffs in proving information to the honorable members. But would not this amount to the breach of privilege of the house?
Now another question is the certain alleged misappropriation happening inside the Assembly secretariat. Journalists certainly want to put up the issue through their story but on assuming whether it amount to breach of privilege or not, one often roll back.
During that time contract staffs of the Assembly Secretariat has been forbidden from entering the new assembly secretariat building at Chingmeirong. Many questions arise on why the order has been other. One may also question - why should the Assembly spent so much money on paying salary for the contract employees if they have to be kept aside during the session which is one of the most important job for all the staffs.
The matter is serious. I certainly thought, this too be on the news. But I was in dilemma for quit some times as I was not clear on whether it would amount to breach of privilege of the house or not.
But then taking own risk I filed a story on that issue at ISTV News programme (That Time I was working as a Editor of the ISTV News). The following is how I file the story to the news channel.

AMSU supports NESO; calls 15 hours total shut down on December 10

IT News

Imphal, Dec 7

All Manipur Students Union (AMSU) a component body of the North East Student’s Organisation (NESO) has called 15 hours total shut in the state of Manipur on December 10 in support to the total shut down called by NESO.

Announcing this to media persons at AMSU Head Quarter today evening, President –in-charge of AMSU, Laishram Athouba Meitei said that even though the AMSU understands the inconveniences that the people might face due to the total shut down called, the AMSU taking into consideration for the future of the state decided to take the stern stand. He said that as the day falls as the International Human Rights Day, those related to the observance of the day will be exempted from the purview of the total shut down called along with the essential services and the media persons. He also appealed the Manipur University and Dhanamanjuri University authority to reschedule the ongoing semester examination of that day. 

“AMSU being a component body of the NESO, and in view of the India government attitude towards the state of Manipur and the NE states the AMSU is compelled to announce the total shut down in support to the NESO”, Athouba Meitei said.

He appealed people of the state to support the total shut down called and to show strong opposition to the citizenship Amendment Bill, that is scheduled to be passed in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

The president –in – charge of the AMSU said that All decision made by the NESO will be comply by the AMSU.

On the assurance by the Union Home Minister for protection of the Manipur from the CAB, the AMSU said that there is no provision for the state of Manipur in the Bill (CAB) that is to be tabled for passing in both the parliament house even as there is a clause for exemption of the area under six scheduled and those states enforcing ILP system..

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Lorho Pfoze cautions Modi government against the passing of CAB

IT News
Imphal, Dec  7

MP of the Outer Manipur Parliamentary constituency  Lorho Pfoze has cautioned the Modi government against passing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) in its current form and asked him to pay heed to emotions and sentiments of the people of northeast.
“The government is trying to alter the demographic profile of the Northeast by “dumping” outsiders in the volatile region under the garb of the citizenship bill”,  Lorho Pfoze of the Naga People’s Front (NPF), which is in alliance with the BJP in Manipur, cautioned the Modi government against passing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB).
News agency quoted the MP as saying ,  “The Union government views the northeast as a region which harbours a lot of discontent against the country, particularly because it has not blended with mainland India. This is why we think that all outsiders would be dumped in the region under the garb of CAB”.
The CAB was introduced in Parliament prior to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls but got lapsed after it could not be cleared in Rajya Sabha. It is now likely to be tabled in Lok Sabha on December 9 and taken up for discussion and passage the next day.
If passed by Parliament, it will be the first legislation under which nationality will be granted on the basis of religion.
Granting citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists and Christians, escaping persecution was an election promise of the BJP in 2014 and 2019.
The bill has been opposed by several opposition parties with the Congress threatening to go to Supreme Court to challenge the proposed legislation.
Pfoze said an all-party meeting was recently held over the matter and the clamour raised by the people from the northeast against the bill had coerced Union Home Minister Amit Shah to give an assurance that special arrangements would be made for some northeastern states so that they do not get impacted by the CAB.
However, the MP said there was no clarity from the Centre on the issue.
“Home Minister Amit Shah had told us that there would be special arrangement for states like Manipur which he would announce in his speech when the bill is tabled in Parliament... There is no clarity yet,” he said.
The 59-year-old lawmaker further said that despite the assurance, there remains a lot of uncertainty about the Modi government’s intentions especially after the way it abrogated the provisions of Article 370 and bifurcated the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.
“There is a lot of uncertainty looking at the way the government handles critical subjects. Look at the way Article 370 was abrogated... Until the day the special status was revoked and the bill brought in Parliament, everything seemed normal.
“... The Governor had said that they will not tamper with the special status of the state, but what happened on August 5 was surprising,” Pfoze said.
His state of Manipur has witnessed the most intense protests against the CAB with people demanding that it either be rolled back or amended.
While the Centre has said that states with ‘Inner Line Permits’ - an official travel document issued by the central government to enter the respective state - will not be impacted by the CAB, people of Manipur are concerned as there is no ILP there.
“Manipur, interestingly, has autonomous district councils but is not covered within the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution that protects administration of tribal areas. People are much concerned over the bill as it is does not even have an ILP,” he said.
On Shah’s statement in Parliament that the National Register of Citizens would be implemented across the country, Pfoze said in the case of Manipur, the cut-off date should be 1971 since Muslim infiltration in the rural belts of the state is a serious issue.
He further advised Modi not to “suppress the people of any region as attaining national ambition is possible only if proper care of regional aspiration is ensured”.
“The prime minister has been talking about national ambition and regional aspirations... so, in my opinion... regional aspirations should be taken care of first and only then can true integration of the nation can be ensured,” he said.
(with inputs from Agency)

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