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Living on a prayer

by IT Web Admin
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The uneasy calm descending on the state after a tumultuous period which saw the death of a student and the injury of a large number of students and agitators, following the assurance of the Chief Minister of framing a new and comprehensive bill that can ensure the protection and preservation of the indigenous inhabitants of the state within a month should be viewed with caution. First off, the legality on the matter of whether a bill reserved for approval by the President can be withdrawn is still unclear and still poses the real possibility of running into legal and constitutional roadblocks- reason enough to spark another wildfire and throw the state once again into anarchy and mayhem. To put things into perspective, the term “Indigenous people” has not been clearly defined in the Indian Constitution and the UN Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is yet to be adopted despite 11 years of “negotiations” by the Working Group of the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC). There also remains the glum prospect of the new bill still falling short of the expectations and wishes of the public, judging from previous experiences when the ruling party forcibly passed the now withdrawn MRVTMW Bill 2015 amidst vehement protests from the opposition and various civil society organizations, riding on the majority enjoyed in the state legislative assembly without paying heed to the concerns and objections- an act perceived as a blatant display of abuse of power and total disregard for public opinion. The task before the state government, then is not an easy one, and yet one which cannot risk running late of the stipulated timeframe. The only way forward, as it appears for now, would be to take the representatives of every stakeholder into consultation and draw up a bill which is acceptable, within the frameworks and constraints of the constitution of the country, so that the reign of angst and destruction is not repeated. The core concern and aspiration of the people of the state should be kept at the centre of the whole exercise. On the other hand, the public deserves to be informed of the restrictions and constraints on the state government in its effort of drafting the bill and should leave no stone unturned to meet the expectations of the people. It should also have the political temerity to put its foot down and take a stand when any demand is being made which will contravene the provisions of the constitution. There cannot be any grey areas during the present exercise and every aspect of the issue should be looked into so that the new bill satisfy and allay the lingering fear and suspicion of the public. the state government needs to end this sordid episode and put in efforts to catch up with the rest of the world from which we have slipped so far behind.  

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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