Only president can protect the people of Manipur
By Iboyaima Laithangbam
There have been conflicting and convoluted statements on the issues relating to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2018. Some legal luminaries have explained lucidly for the benefit of the common people. Because we are answerable to the posterity who will suffer under CAB when it becomes a law in India. Chief Minister N. Biren reportedly said on May 21 that the CAB shall not affect Manipur since it is for Assam only. But once the Lok sabha passed it he shifted the goal post to give “assurance” that his government will do everything to protect the indigenous peoples in the state.
Opposition leader O. Ibobi wanted to know if Manipur People (Protection) Bill, 2018 shall become “null and void” once the CAB becomes a law which is not far off.
Some legal luminaries say that there is no room for confusion. One lawyer said, “The CAB is to be made a law by the Parliament under the provisions of the 7th schedule (List No. 1). This is the union of India list. The Manipur Peoples (Protection) Bill, 2018 was passed by the Manipur Assembly under the 7th schedule List No. 2.
In case of confusions the law enacted by the union of India shall prevail which means that it will supercede the law passed by the Manipur Assembly.
But there is one exception, added another lawyer. There will be conflict in case the president gives assents to the CAB and the MPP Bill. The MPP Bill, if the president gives his assent, will be effective as far as Manipur is concened.
A person now in Bangladesh can come to India and settle anywhere. This right will be guaranteed by CAB when it becomes law. Another lawyer said, “ If Manipur manages to get president’s assent that person shall not get a free hand to buy land and settle permanently in Manipur. Because of MPP law the person shall not be allowed to own immovable property inside Manipur. Other lawyers opined that when CAB becomes law it will have no impact in Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh since there is the Inner Line Permit system in these NE states.
The lawyers who prefer to lie low now in view of the heavy politicking say that the task before the elected members now is to stop trading political charges and instead work together to obtain the assent of the president. In such an eventuality the interests of the indigenous peoples could be protected and the future generation will thank us. If it is not achieved because of the political failures our souls shall not rest in peace.
Movements in Manipur in any form had failed to create political ripples elsewhere and Irom Sharmila was a burning example. If the MPP Bill is thrown in the trash bin of history the day is not far off when the gnawing fear of the people becomes a reality.
Will leaders like Biren, Ibobi and other stake holders sink their personalities and political differences ? Time is fast running out and our positions ought to be consolidated. We have seen enough to know that the tail cannot wag the dog and Manipur with less than 3 million population cannot be a game changer.
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