Hill student bodies back delimitation proposal

    30-Jun-2020
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Newmai News Network
IMPHAL, Jun 29 : Hill based student organisations of Manipur, while urging the Delimitation Commission of India to carry out the delimitation exercise in Manipur, have asserted that they will be compelled to launch a “concerted social movement for equal representation” in the State of Manipur if the delimitation exercise is not done based on 2001 census.
All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur (ATSUM), Kuki Students’ Organisation, general headquarters (KSO-GHQs) and All Naga Students’ Association, Manipur (ANSAM) have submitted a strongly worded memorandum to Ranjana Prakash Desai, Chairperson of the Delimitation Commission of India, on Monday in this regard, said the three student bodies.
In the memorandum, the three student bodies alleged that “valley centric civil organisations and political parties in the valley of the State” are working hard to obstruct the process of delimitation in Manipur on a flimsy ground.
The three student bodies also said that the “stiff opposition” raised by “all political parties”, with the exception of hill based political party leaders and legislators, in the meetings held on June 15, 2020 and June 17, 2020 against the delimitation exercise is very unfortunate.
The student bodies said that Manipur is no exception to the re-adjustment of allocation of Assembly seats as has been done in 24 States all over India. “If the common phrase ‘Chingmi-Tammi Hingminasi’ is not a lip service, valley people should not continue to oppose territorial council, Sixth Schedule, Article 371 (C), other basic rights and protection and amenities enshrined in the Constitution of India for the hill people,” the memorandum added.
“This memorandum is submitted before your good self to carry forward the delimitation exercise based on 2001 census to enable bridging the gap of inequality and under representation in the State of Manipur,” the memorandum said
In the event the delimitation process is derailed due to the objections raised from certain quarters that represent only the interests of the valley, the three tribal student bodies will be compelled to launch a series of intense agitation, cautioned the memorandum.
While lauding the proposed delimitation exercise, the three student bodies expressed hope that the exercise is carried to reconstruct the democratic imbalances, bring forth a just and fair delimitation for an equitable representation in the Legislative Assembly of Manipur.
The “Hill Area” is pre-dominantly inhabited by the “Nagas and Chin-Kuki-Mizo tribes” and the valley is inhabited by the “Meiteis/Meeteis, Meitei Pangals and other smaller Scheduled Caste communities”, said the memorandum and added that the “Hill Area” accounts for 92% of the State geographical area and the valley is limited to 8%.
The memorandum said that ever since the last delimitation exercise carried out in 1972 in respect of Manipur, there has been substantial population growth in the tribal areas due to high fertility rate. “As per the census of 2001, Manipur has a total population of 22,93,396 of which, hill population stands at 8,82,130,” the memorandum pointed out. “In terms of ratio of representation, valley enjoys one representation against 35,294 people accounting for 40 representatives in the 60 member Manipur Legislative Assembly and the hills have a ratio of one representation against 44,106 limiting to only 20 representations and thus hill area is under-represented in the State Assembly,” said the memorandum.
“No attempt was ever made to take into account the vast geographical areas of the hill constituencies, for instance, geographical area of Phungyar Constituency (ST) is bigger than the entire valley areas which is represented by 40 representatives,” said the memorandum.