Daily Current Affairs – 4th June, 2016DEVENDRA VISHWAKARMA
India’s gateway to South-East Asia : #Manipur is Burning
Some basics before we go into the issue:
- Manipur à India’s gateway to South-East Asia
- Manipur is inhabited by three major ethnic groups – the Meiteis in the valley, and the Nagas and the Kuki-Chin tribes in the hills. The State is home to 33 recognized tribes.
- People are predominantly Mongoloid, and speak Tibeto-Burman languages. Manipuri language which is the mother-tongue of the Meitei people is the lingua-franca of the State.
- Manipur’s alleged forcible merger with the Indian union and late grant of statehood has been seen as some of the reasons behind the rise of several insurgency movements in the State.
- Most of the tribes, inhabiting the hill areas of the State too have been represented by several outfits. In addition, the Naga insurgent outfits’ demand for the inclusion of the hill districts of Manipur in the present day Nagaland has also impacted on the prospects of peace in Manipur.
Courtesy (image): http://www.mapsofindia.com/maps/manipur/manipur-map.jpg
- For a separate independent Manipur
- Manipur was declared as a separate state in 1972 (after a protracted agitation interspersed with violence)
- The emergence of insurgency in Manipur is formally traced to the emergence of the United National Liberation Front (UNLF) on 24 November 1964.
- The alleged ‘forced’ merger of Manipur and the delay in the conferring of full-fledged statehood to it was greatly resented by the people of Manipur.
- Since then several other outfits, like the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), founded on September 25, 1978, People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK) set up on October 9, 1977 and the Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) that came into being in April, 1980 have emerged in the valley areas consisting of four districts of the State. All these insurgent groups have been demanding a separate independent Manipur.
- Today, Manipur is one of the worst affected states in the Northeast where at least 12 insurgent outfits are active at present and the security force operations have made little difference to their capabilities.
- For Implementation of a permit system
- Recently, Manipur has been beset by massive public protests by citizens demanding the implementation of a permit system
- Implementation of a permit system will regulate the entry and residency of outsiders
- Protests in Imphal Valley – an area only about a ninth the size of the troubled state – account for about 60% of the Meitei population
- In other words, majority of people living in Imphal Valley are Meitei people and demand for permit system is dominated by this section
THE REAL ISSUE:
- Meitei people demanding the introduction of an Inner Line Permit to stop the inflow of outsiders
- Hill-dwelling Naga tribes in Manipur seeking a future free of Meitei domination
- Insecure Kuki and Zomi groups (who are also hill dwelling tribes) are caught in the middle
- United Naga Council (UNC) in Manipur and other groups, those of the Kuki and Zomi, had for long felt deprived of development and jobs by Meitei control over the administration
- In addition, Naga insurgent outfits’ demand for the inclusion of the hill districts of Manipur in the present day Nagaland
- Thus, Meitei people fear that any settlement with this pre-eminent Naga rebel group could spark a merging of Naga tribal homelands in Manipur with Naga homelands in Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam
- This brought to the fore the movement for the Inner Line Permit system
- Manipur’s Congress-led assembly passed a populist bill to implement a permit system to regulate the entry and residency of outsiders, and amendments to two Acts regulating ownership of land and establishments.
- Riots immediately erupted in southern district comprising of Zomi and Kukis. Citizens here feared the bills would place non-Meitei folk at a further disadvantage.
- Dozens were injured and several killed in police firing during the protests. Still protests are active against the government to withdraw the bills.
- A major Meitei rebel group, United National Liberation Front (UNLF), has for long been suspected as being part of a conglomerate sponsoring the ILP movement.