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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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Tribute paid to Prof. N. Sanajaoba on his 10th Death Anniversary

IT News

Imphal, Dec 13

Fitting tribute was paid to Prof. Naorem Sanajaoba on his 10th death anniversary at Oja Sanajaoba Memorial Complex , Lairikyengbam Makha Leikai, Imphal East today morning.

A memorial function was organised by Oja Sanajaoba Memorial Trust (OSMT).

Chairperson of the Manipur State Minority Commission, Govt. of Manipur Md. Anwar Husian, Dean of Mathematical & Physical Sciences Prof. N. Rajmuhon, Former ADC members Filson Y. Lunghar, President of the Porei Leimarol Apunba Meira Paibi Manipur (PLAMPM) and Vice President of All Manipur United Club Organisation (AMUCO) K Helen and Advisor of the Hockey Union , Lairikyengbam Leikai Waribam Ibomcha graced the memorial function of late Prof. N. Sanajaoba as dignitaries.

A social thinker, a philosopher and a political thinker who served as a professor at Guwahati Law College, Late Prof. N. Sanajaoba during his life time had formulated various mechanism to bridge the cracks between various communities of the state. At many of his speech he tried to convince the leadership of the NSCN-IM to fight for a common cause for all the people of North East in general and the state of Manipur in Particular. He had even called on the General Secretary of NSCN-IM to lead the collective movement of the region. However late Prof. Sanajaoba had always criticize the concept of Pan culture.

During one of his speech Prof. Sanajaoba had said that nowhere in the world the concept of Pan Culture has succeeded. Even the great Hitler had failed and how can the Pan Meitei or Pan Naga Culture be successful. It will only divide the people of the region, the professor said and whatever he said still stands true.

Prof. Sanajaoba always advocated for the integrity of the state of Manipur. In many of his writing he had stated that according to the Uti Possidetis Jury India should never disturb the boundary of the state.

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Mother Courage –a synonymous to Nupi Lal

“Courage is the most important of all virtues, because without it we can’t practice any other virtue with consistency.” - Maya Angelou
The strength of a woman is not measured by the impact that all her hardships in life have had on her; but the strength of a woman is measured by the extent of her refusal to allow those hardships to dictate her and who she becomes.
The state observed the ‘Nupi Lan’ day in commemoration of the fearless struggles and defiance of the British rulers by the womenfolk of the state, in not one but two historical instances to assert their democratic rights and highlight the injustices to the people of the state.
The first Nupi Lan which broke out in 1904 was against the British order to send Manipuri men to Kabow Valley to fetch timber for re-building the then Police Agent’s bungalow after it was ravaged by fire, stirred up by the heirs-apparent of the erstwhile ruling family who did not like the selection of Churachand Singh as the King of Manipur. They persuaded the women of Manipur to resist the British government’s order to resuscitate the Lalup (A sort of forced labour where the male member of society between the age of 17 and 60 should work freely for ten days in every forty days of work). The struggle in which more than 5,000 women took part lasted for a week. Although the British rulers had eventually succeeded in suppressing the uprising, they were compelled to rescind the order, thus scoring what can be arguably considered the first moral and psychological victory over the suppressive British rulers.
The second instance started in 1939 as an agitation by Manipuri women against the oppressive economic and political policies and practices of the then Maharaja of Manipur and Mr. Grimson- Political Agent of the British Government in Manipur (1933-45) which later evolved into a movement for the constitutional and administrative reforms in the state. The women of Manipur have evidently been at the forefront of social interactions and are no pushovers.
History bears the sacrifices and the selfless struggles they had to undertake to safeguard the society and its backbone of cultures and traditions. They have taken equal, if not extraordinary, responsibilities and endured endless sufferings in every sphere of social and public issues since time immemorial, and yet somehow, the present attitude towards them is increasingly reeking of shallow lip-service and mere courtesy.
Despite the many laws and regulations being enacted to protect the women, instances of crime and atrocities against them are on the rise. The greatest cause for concern however is the fact that the perpetrators, even when identified and indicted, almost always slip through the sloppy legal procedures whether by design or direful negligence, until the issues fade into oblivion. The dismally low rate of convictions, especially in cases concerning crimes against women bears testimony to the fact that our society still need to go a long way and answer some very harsh and extremely uncomfortable questions before the situation improves.
A society that fails to respect and safeguard its womenfolk cannot consider itself progressive.

CAB 2019: The Insidious Chapter in the Constitutional History of Free India

By- Dr.Aniruddha Babar
PhD, MA, LLM, DHRL

“Ours is a nation that has historically offered refuge and protection to the persecuted of all nations and of all faiths. We are a proud nation that has never been broken by the insecurity of a few, for we have always stood firm with the knowledge that free India can only remain free if her people are liberated, if her voices are heard, and if our institutions, our governments and our political forces dedicate themselves to securing the inalienable rights of the citizens of this country.”
~ Sonia Gandhi, Statement after Citizenship Amendment Bill gets Rajyasabha Approval.
Controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 has been passed in LokSabha on 9th December, 2019 and also received a ‘free passage’ in RajyaSabhaon 11th of December, 2019 on its way to become a Law of the Land after the assent of the President of India. The original draft of the Bill that BJP government tabled before the parliament and subsequently got it passed in LokSabhain 2019 has undergone certain minor changes before it got placed before LokSabha by newly elected BJP government.
In the state of Arunachal Pradesh, the Indigenous Tribal Forum opposed the bill. Although, the issue is not similar to that of being against the Hindu Bengalis (as in the case of Assam). The issue in Arunachal Pradesh is related to the Chakma and Hajong refugees, who were settled in the state by the Indian Government following their displacement from the East Pakistan. Bill would make them the legal citizen of the state. Another significant social, political and economic implication of the Bill has been identified in the state of Manipur. The opposition of the Bill in Manipur is specifically based on the longstanding problem of the availability of the land in the valley. This land is mainly inhabited by the indigenous communities, mainly the ‘Meiteis’, who had been living on the land since many decades. They are also the major ethnic group inhabiting the land and they are dependent on the land as their main occupation is Agriculture. However, the increase in the migration in Manipur will result in causing a visible change in the demographics and land use. Further, the minority and the tribal groups living in Meghalaya have been self-determinant towards their ethnic and clan identity. Their self-identity according to their ethnic background is considered as the first stage of their self-identification. However, the new Bill can result in damaging their ethnic and clan identity, being the main reason of their political and social opposition of the Bill. The opposition of the Bill in Mizoram is similar to that of Arunachal Pradesh, as the Mizo people fear that inclusion of the Chakma refugees and migrants would result in distorting their ethnic, cultural and traditional image. Nagaland is the state of Naga people who have been struggling for their ethnic identity and sovereignty is also coming under the threat from illegal Bagladeshi immigrants (IBI). The Bill would result in integrating the refugees and illegal immigrants with the Naga tribal groups that poses a significant challenge for their identity and self-determination.In the context especially of the state of Nagaland, it is relevant to understand that, as per the Citizenship Act of 1955, the illegal immigrants cannot get citizenship in India. An illegal immigrant is defined as people who either entered the country without proper documents, or stayed on beyond the permitted time. In 2015, the government made changes to the passport and foreigner’s acts to allow non-Muslim refugees from these countries to stay back in India even if they entered the country without valid papers. The fear of cultural and social damage due to the inclusion of the illegal immigrants and refugees is the main reason of opposition of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 and 2019.
Therefore, the different states of the Northeast region of India are in significant dilemma with the CAB and its implementation. For the ethnic and tribal groups, their ethnic and cultural identity is the backbone of their existence. The tribal and indigenous political groups are therefore, against the Bill in order to protect their cultural, linguistic and traditional identifies that are under significant danger because of this Bill. Moreover with the passing of the Bill has resulted in chaos within the Northeast states of India which may throw the region in perpetual Dark Age.
The indigenous people of the northeast India, taking into account their delicate cultural, demographic and political position, would be the first to come in the line of fire while facing the adverse impact of the hostile and unconstitutional provisions of the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019. However, the changes that have been made in the CAB 2019 as to the exclusion of Tribal belts including Autonomous Tribal District Councils, 6th Scheduled areas and ILP areas from the purview of the Bill will not protect these regions from the wrath of impact of its fundamental unconstitutionality. When the Bill becomes the law of land it will open the door for millions of people from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to apply for the official citizenship of India. The ‘Newly acquired Indian Citizenship’ would make them entitled for the same rights and privileges that any other Indian normally enjoys as a lawful citizen of India. However, India has a rich tradition of offeringprotective shelter to those who have been battered and persecuted in their motherlands.
Moreover, this country runs on the principles lay down by the Constitution written by BabasahebAmbedkarthat does NOT prescribe any kind of discriminatory treatment to the people on the basis of caste, creed, religion, race, gender or any other identity because of which Glanville Austin, an internationally renowned scholar of Indian Constitution must have identified it as a ‘Social Document’.  Art. 14 of the Constitution establish the principle of Equality and therefore the provisions of the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 which are violative of Art. 14 that also states that the State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws, are unconstitutional in the sense that Government of India either directly or indirectly cannot resort to any discriminatory policy while granting citizenship to the people. So, the Bill in question has seriously dislocated on three fronts- 1. Opening the doors of India to so called ‘persecuted’ people only from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh and 2. Opening doors of India only to the so called persecuted people from only 6 religious faiths that is Hindu, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Christians and Parsis AND 3. Opening the doors to existing Refugee/illegal immigrant population in India belong to 6 religions to a golden opportunity to become official, registered, authentic citizen of India.
Surprisingly this Bill has no space for persecuted Muslims in Pakistan like Ahmadiyyas and Muhajirs. This Bill also has no space for existing Rohingya Muslims refugees in India. Bill also excludes Sri Lankan Hindus and Bhutanese Christians.It is really unfortunate if government of India holds a ‘belief’ that Muslims cannot be persecuted in the lands ‘Ruled’ by the Muslims and hence does not deserve the protection at par with the equally persecuted members of other 6 religions. At the outset, doesn’t these provisions’ in the Bill sounding divisive &communal in nature? Doesn’t it create a suspicion in the mind as to the intentions of the government? Doesn’t this Bill threaten the existence of entire tribal belt and indigenous population and at the same time posing a serious challenge to the secular character of this great nation? Doesn’t this Bill laying the foundation of the creation of humungous, permanent HINDU vote bank for the ‘political beneficiaries?
On 10th of December, 2019 an important but interesting event happened. Dimapur town was brought under Inner Line Permit system. The demand of the Nagas to extend ILP uptoDimapur was very old however; nobody seemsto have imagined that their demand which has been pending for years could be fulfilled immediately after the clearance of CAB 2019 in Loksabha. Question arises as to whether the Government of Nagaland executed the decision to bring Dimapur under ILP to fulfil the long lasting demand of the people or they have taken this quick decision thinking that the ILP will protect the region from the demonic influx of population that will be arriving in the region when CAB 2019 turns out to be the full-fledged law of land. ILP has always been necessary for Dimapur. On various public platforms I have settled my position firmly on the necessity of permanent ILP not only for Nagaland or Dimapur but for the entire tribal region of the northeast in the interest of the survival of people, culture and society at large. However, the present day context is very complex hence needs to be put in different perspective.
The Citizenship Amendment Bill’s reference to the Inner Line Permit seems to be redundant without recognizing the fact that in any case, anyone who is not considered indigenous to states where the ILP is there cannot settle down or buy land in protected areas, however, as for “outsiders” working and living in these states with long-term permits as they have always been coming there, they have always been there.  Significantly, the revised bill of 2019 does not have any provision that prevents people who have been naturalised by it from applying for these long-term permits and working and living in these states and influencing the affairs of the residents either positively or negatively. Moreover, it may be a well-recognized fact that the Inner Line Permit may not be effective in preventing regional migration at all.
If we take a look around in Nagaland it may easily be concluded that the maximum labour force operating in Nagaland is from outside of the state. Moreover, Tribal Autonomous District Councils and Inner Line Permit system do not seems to have complete control over the foreign nationals, the infiltration outside TADC and ILP notified areas would also affect the demographic pattern of the northeast.Moreover, according to leader of opposition in Meghalaya Assembly MukulSangma, “…in respect of Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh, the fact is, even when ILP is operational, the actual population of the indigenous communities and non-indigenoushave increased in favour of non-tribal”. The census reports of the government will substantiate the claim of Mr.Sangma, also the residents of Nagaland can observe this truth in their daily routine affairs.Further, it may also be noted that, exemption of the CAB will not help in addressing the concerns because illegal immigrants can apply for citizenship from any state and move to other parts of the country. No matter how fortified the house is, when the flood occurs, it is bound to be submerged in the rushing water.Influx of the population will definitely have a capacity to impact the life of people living in the protected areas either directly or indirectly, visibly or invisibly. When the inevitable intermingling of the beneficiaries of CAB 2019 and the ILP protected indigenous population will happen; the ‘demography’ of the region will definitely undergo an inevitable change-if not today-not tomorrow-but someday it will definitely change the world that we live and experience today. Thesecontentions have been put forth on the basis of the observations recorded while experiencing the ground realities of the northeast region.
If ILP is the solution, then let that solution be a stronger one. How does the ILP normally operate in our state? What is the mechanism? What checks and balances does it provide? Whether records of ‘Issue of Permit’ have been kept properly? Whether entry and exit points of permit holders have been recorded? How many incidents of illegal entries have occurred so far, and what actions have been taken by the government agencies? We need to ask many more questions. The current system of ILP in its current form is not sufficient to battle out the ‘grave impact’ that would be generated by this 2019 Amendment in Citizenship Act, 1955. To protect the interests of the affected indigenous population new laws, rules are required to be legislated by the concerned states as a support mechanism to the Inner Line Permit System. For example, the provision for long term work permit which is normally granted for one year must be abolished for the beneficiaries of CAB. Moreover, when the beneficiaries of CABstart arriving in the ‘protected’ regions of the northeast for different purposes including that of work must be separately categorized and monitored by special agencies. If a ‘Legal Migrant’ living in Nagaland or any other ILP/6th schedule/ADTC region running a business then in such cases if the teams of workers and labour force involved consist of the beneficiaries of CAB 2019 then such a contractor / businessman must register CAB Beneficiary labour force separately with the concerned authorities as may be notified by the law. Also, the ‘Non-Muslim Refugees’ (legal/illegal) who have already been living in the states  will achieve permanent citizenship by virtue of this Amendment, however, such people also needs to be identified and categorized separately for better administration and monitoring purpose.
The point of argument is that, existing provisions of ILP that derive its legal validity from Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations, 1873 are absolutely deficient to protect the interests of indigenous population. The object and purpose of BEFR does not cover the unique situation that CAB has invited and therefore, to support the existing provisions government needs to think seriously to enact certain legal measures at the earliest.The ‘Change’ is necessary to ‘Counter/facilitate’ the Change.
On the other hand, the Bill which now all set to become a law will undoubtedly create enormous incentive for Hindu population in particular to migrate to India from Bangladesh as has been the historical trend – Hindu population in what is now Bangladesh has steadily declined over the years not just because of alleged religious persecution or violence but also many of them willingly marched towards Indian Republic in search of better opportunities, prosperity and better future. This population from time to time has become a strong vote bank, and it will likely to remain a permanent vote bank for their political saviours. With the passing of CAB entire world of northeast India has been changed, however, as I have observed, people still have unshakable faith in the Constitution of India and their Fundamental Rights protected therein. Art. 13, Article 32, Article 226/227 and Art. 136of the Constitution of India are the ways and means to initiate constitutional battle for the justice, and as we have seen the stand of All Assam Students Union, they are all fully geared up to challenge the so called “historic Amendment”made in the Citizenship Act, 1955 before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.

Beginning with a protective mechanism

A point that has conveniently been missed while reporting the press conference called by the Chief Minister of Manipur was in the reply given to reporters regarding the implementation of National Register for Citizens (NRC) in Assam model. NRC is a mechanism to detect the illegal immigrants who had been mixed and settled in the state before 1971. Recently Assam government had detected over 19 lakhs such illegal immigrants while exercising NRC. One reason why Assamese people vehemently opposed CAB 2019 is because the NRC becomes meaningless and a futile exercise when the revised CAB is implemented. The base year for allowing  illegal immigrants who had entered the country due to religious persecution (in their words) is December 31, 2014, which means those detected illegal migrants under the NRC will have more than a probable chance to become Citizen of the country if they are Hindu, Jain, Sikh, Christian, Christian and Parsi from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.  The ongoing deadly agitation against CAB 2019 is genuine, from the perspective of indigenous Assamese brothers and sisters who had been struggling for the protection of their own indigenous people and their way of life.
In yesterday’s press conference held at the Chief Minister’s Conference, after expressing gratitude to the Union Government for granting extension of Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation 1853 to the entire state of Manipur by amending the regulation, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh had stated with extreme seriousness that the state government is in the process of implementing NRC in the state. He also stated that the NRC may begin after the ongoing Parliament session as the implementation of NRC is also the desire of Union Home Minister Amit Shah. That means the centre will have no objection when the state government of Manipur implemented NRC as soon as possible.
Now, with the notification in the gazette of India for extension of “the Inner Line Permit System” under Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation 1853, it is crystal clear that the so call contentious CAB 2019 will be exempted from the state of Manipur. At section 3, clause 4 of the CAB , 2019, that has been passed in both the Houses of Parliament, it is clearly written that “Nothing in this section shall apply to tribal area of Assam , Meghalaya, Mizoram or Tripura as included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution and the area covered under “The Inner Line”  notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873".
There is no doubt that the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation 1853, has its own limitation. From the legal point of view, the regulation was irrelevant for the state of Manipur which was never directly under the British government. When British introduced the Regulation it was meant for the Eastern frontiers of Bengal and when we talk about eastern frontiers of Bengal during that year of British era, they are to certain regions as mentioned in the earlier preamble. It was the district of Kamrup, Darrang, Nowgong, Sibsagar, Lakhimur , Naga Hills and Cachar, that are all neighbor states of Manipur. The so called regulations that existed for the erstwhile Kingdom of Manipur was different – it was more a visa type legislation, that the then Commissioner Himat Singh had abolished by an executive order.
When one question – Is ILP under Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation 1853 that has been enforced in states like Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh enough to protect the state of Manipur – the unanimous answer from any intellectual, social and political thinkers will be a big and resounding “NO”. We all have records of the growing number of non locals in the states where ILP is being enforced. Definitely ILP under  Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation 1853 is not a perfect tool for protection of the indigenous people. It was because of that that scholars, political thinkers, social workers and those activists which demanded implementation of ILPS are adamant for a legislation that would be fit for the state of Manipur.
What we the people of today have to make a clear stand is over the fact that Manipur urgently need a regulation or legislation to make sure that the Contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 is exempted from the state of Manipur. It has been done by the extension of ILP on December 11 but it is not a lasting solution but rather an interim relief which can be made a lasting one with the implementation of NRC in the state.
The left out portion in the contents of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation 1853, that the people felt insecure can be fulfilled if the state government is committed to do so. Let the law of the land be reformed with some suitable and relevant amendments to go in par with other developing states. If the government want to bridge the trust deficit of the people it has to make sure that all existing laws are being implemented judiciously not only in letter but more importantly in the spirit. The time for tokenism and playing to the gallery is truly over. Only a sincere, judicious and upright government who can connect with the people rather than its masters beyond the hills will be able to win the trust and support of the people of the state regardless of community, caste or faith.