ATSUM reminds Govt on ADC polls

Newmai News Network
IMPHAL, May 3 : The All Tribal Students' Union, Manipur (ATSUM) has reminded the State Government to respect and implement the agreed terms of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on April 7, 2021 for issuance of notification for general elections to ADCs on or before May 5, 2021 and adhere to its (State Government) decision of conducting the elections on or before June 25, 2021 as placed in public domain through its press release dated April 5, 2021 by formulating election SOPs as done in previous by elections to the State Assembly and recently held Assembly elections of other States.
The apex tribal student body of Manipur said it is of utmost need in nature to instal/institute grass root level democratic institutions in the hills to ensure that the rule of law is administered competently as enshrined in the Constitution of India through Article 371 C.
In a statement issued on Monday, ATSUM said that while the human race is reeling under the dreadful Covid-19, the life of the tribal populace of Manipur State is worsened for want of basic amenities including its Constitutional rights given by Article 371 (C ). It further said that the protection of the "tribal communities" in all aspects is under threat due to non-functioning of the grass root democratic institution i.e. the Autonomous District Councils (ADCs).
According to ATSUM, the concept and purpose of instituting local self-Government in the hill areas of the State as envisaged by the framers of the Constitution is being belittled and overlooked by the current dispensation to meet its selfish political agenda.
The tribal student body said that the rule of law in the State is seemingly interpreted and administered at the convenience of people at helms of affairs because as far as Autonomous District Councils are concerned, the Manipur Legislative Assembly (Hill Areas Committee) Order 1972 issued by VV Giri, the then President of India in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 371 C of the Constitution clearly states that the Constitution and power and functioning of District Councils in hill areas are scheduled matters of Hill Areas Committee (HAC).
“However, the Manipur Government is still hesitating to issue notification for general elections to the Autonomous District Councils though the Hill Areas Committee had recommended two times for timely election of ADCs in its meetings held on October 8, 2020 and April 12, 2021respectively,” it pointed out.
The tribal student body added, “As a matter of fact, demand for timely election of ADCs would have been more appropriate and fruitful if the legislators of the hills jointly push for it as the initiative shouldered by ATSUM as frontliner for the said demand is not encouraged by few section on the plea that ATSUM is an apolitical student organisation.”
It added, “However, ATSUM would like to place on record that since its inception, it has been vocally advocating safeguard of various tribal Constitutional rights and ADCs being Constitutional rights of tribals, ATSUM considers it as rightful to assert tribals' inalienable rights and thus, the demand for timely election of ADCs was placed before the State Government as the tribal legislators failed to articulate it while busy serving the interest of their masters or political party principles.”