Coming together of different CSOs Significance of MANPAC

A crisis leading to a positive development, if one may add. Perhaps this is the first time that different civil society organisations, both from the hills and the valley, have come together under the Manipur People Against CAB (MANPAC) banner and this should underline the threat posed to the indigenous folks of the land. How long this united stand will last is best left to the future but it is significant that for the time being different CSOs have deemed it fit to throw away their differences and unite under a common stand for what one is talking about here is the collective threat posed to the indigenous people of the land. In one stroke the BJP led NDA Government at the Centre has managed to do what all the earlier good intentioned move had failed, if one may again add ! So far the BJP led Government at Imphal has not taken an open stand, other than the announcement that the Centre would be urged to insert a clause that ensures the exemption of Manipur from the purview of the Bill or one that ensures the interests of Manipur. As stated earlier, how far this is feasible is open to question for remember the Bill has already been passed by the Lok Sabha and any clause to be inserted would necessitate the withdrawal of the Bill from the lower House. The demand of MANPAC and the people of the North East region is that the Bill should not be passed in the Rajya Sabha and so far the Centre has fallen shy of giving any standing assurance towards this end other than the verbal assurance that it would not impinge on the interests of Manipur and the North East.
The fact that CAB is not listed in the business list of the Rajya Sabha but this has failed to cut ice with MANPAC and the people of the North East region can be easily understood in the backdrop of the fact that a Bill may be introduced by convening a meeting of the Business Advisory Committee at the nth hour. That the Centre too is aware that CAB will impact on the North East can be gauged from the fact that it was the Union Home Minister himself who announced that perks may be given to those who prefer to settle in places other than the North East region. Another contestable point is the phrase ‘persecuted minorities’ in the said neighbouring countries. As a member of MANPAC pointed out during an interaction programme with the media, ‘how persecuted are the minorities in the neighbouring countries ?’ and followed this question with statistics that detailed that there are more than one crore such ‘persecuted minority’ in Bangladesh and this ‘persecuted minority’ has four MPs in Parliament of the said country. Statistics do not lie and importantly this has not flown over the head of the CSO leaders spearheading the anti-CAB protest in Manipur. With BJP president Amit Shah asserting that the CAB is necessary, it is now more than a question of whether the CAB will be passed in the current session of the Rajya Sabha but when it will be passed. This may just ignite a sustained movement against the said Bill and things certainly do not look cosy for the North East.

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