Other States

Delimitation row snowballing in Manipur

The demand and counterdemand for carrying out delimitation in Manipur is slowly snowballing into a major confrontation between the valley-dwelling non-tribals and tribals in the mountain districts. Civil society organisations of the two groups have been making their uncompromising stands clear.

In a joint statement, five organisations in the valley areas — Pandam, Ipsa, Acomlup, Ipak and KSA — said, “Since a PIL and contempt of court petition are already in the law of court, people will oppose any step taken by the delimitation commission”.

Under the Delimitation Act, 2020, the delimitation commission shall carry out delimitations of the Parliamentary and Assembly constituencies in Manipur. While not opposing the delimitation process, the organisations said, “It cannot be done now on the basis of the ‘incorrect’ 2001 Census report”.

The all-India average population growth in 2001 was 21.36%. The growth in the valley districts in Manipur was 18%. But, in three mountain districts, it was as high as 169%, the statement said.

On January 19, 2005, the Gauhati High Court passed a judgment saying that a fresh counting of the people should be done one by one. Ignoring it, the delimitation commission had started the exercise. The CPI and CPI(M) filed a contempt of court petition and it is still in the High Court. Petitions in this regard by other organisations had been admitted in the Manipur High Court.

The Manipur government officials had written letters to all 16 District Collectors to furnish the number of revenue districts under their respective jurisdiction within July 7.

Former Minister Okram Joy, a veteran politician here, set the ball rolling before the COVID-19 pandemic by saying that the proposed delimitation based on the 2001 Census will create various problems and the State government may not be able to stem the rot.

Mr. Joy said, “There was population explosion in some mountain districts — as high as 200%. On the other hand, there was normal population growth in the valley districts”. He opined that Assembly seats will have to be increased in some hill districts.

The United Committee Manipur (UCM) was formed shortly after the June 18, 200,1 mayhem for the protection of the ancient territory of Manipur. This follows the June 14, 2001, agreement between the Indian government and the NSCN(IM) saying that the ceasefire agreement was “without territorial limits”.

Eighteen persons were killed while State and Central forces were controlling arson, mayhem in Manipur. Since curfew and army deployment had no impact, the Union government deleted these three words. Sunil Karam, president of UCM, said, “ If the delimitation is held based on this unacceptable census report, there may be many unsavoury and untoward incidents.

However, several tribal NGOs have demanded immediate delimitation exercise. Despite the tribal population, just 19 Assembly seats are reserved in the 60-member House for them. There are at least seven non-tribal Assembly seats in Thoubal and Kakching districts and one in Jiribam in the reserved Parliamentary seat. These non-tribal voters can vote for the tribal politicians but they cannot contest the seat.

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Printable version | Jul 23, 2022 12:28:16 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/delimitation-row-snowballing-in-manipur/article32019728.ece