Bill nixed due to wrong definition of Manipuri

A contentious legislation passed by the Manipur Assembly last year to define who is a “Manipuri” was rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee recently as the definition was found to be “incorrect,” a senior government official said.

The official told The Hindu that the definition of a “Manipuri” proposed by the State was based on the census conducted in 1951, which is flawed as the census exercise that year did not cover the entire State. “The infrastructure at that time was not enough and many people were left out,” he said.

“The computation was not exhaustive. If we go by 1951 records, half of the tribes would be declared stateless,” he said.

As per the Bill, “Manipur people means persons of Manipur whose names are in the National Register of Citizens, 1951, Census report 1951 and village directory of 1951 and their descendants who have contributed to the collective social, cultural and economic life of Manipur.”

The passage of this Bill with two others, The Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (Seventh Amendment Bill), 2015 and The Manipur Shops and Establishments (Second Amendment Bill) 2015 in September 2015, had triggered violence last year, leading to the death of nine people.

Manipur merged with India on October 15, 1949.