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The Strange Case of District Boundaries in Manipur

Op-Ed

The Strange Case of District Boundaries in Manipur

Let me take this opportunity to highlight the strange case of the need for District Boundary Committee to settle boundaries “disputes” in Manipur. The saying that “Nothing is really impossible in Manipur” is true even on this issue. Some district boundaries that were already clear cut – in black and white for years – seem to have ‘mysteriously disappeared’ in the last few months since the creation of seven new districts. Did the old district and sub-divisional maps just vanished in thin air?

To drive home my point, let me refer to the article written by Pastor Benjamin on Jiribam District issue on Zoramobserver.com dated July 18, 2017, wherein he gave a clear picture as to how Jiribam become a district. He also explained in detailed how it was converted from hill district to plain district. The motive is clear, but the real question is: will this trend be repeated to other districts?

Converting a hill district into plain district wasn’t the only mystery.

Assam state created ‘satellite council’ – a special provision for the state itself and if I’m not mistaken, it’s the only state that has such provision in North East India. Yet, Manipur government mysteriously brought Jiribam under the jurisdiction of Imphal East District, even though they are geographically separated. Come to think of it, the step taken up by the government is quite hilarious. A provision that never exist in written suddenly exists in reality. Nothing is impossible?

Back to Pherzawl District, the Vangai Range stretches till Jiribam District, covering some parts of the district. The people living in that area also expressed their desire to join the Pherzawl District. They claimed to be under Pherzawl District by erecting a welcome signboard. They even submitted a memorandum to the Government of Manipur in this regard. Yet, the government is still turning a blind eye to their demand. Will the government give attention to the demand of the people only when the people resort to violent or act against the law? A good parents fulfill the demand of their children before they do some stupid things for being neglected. The writer is a law abiding citizen who wanted to see the prosperity of the state and who wants the government to listen to the cry of the people even if they do not have an MLA or a Cabinet minister to support their demand or an underground outfit to compel the government to meet peoples’ demand.

TOO MUCH TO ASK?

People of Jiribam, viz, people living in Choudhurikhal, Bekrasuo, Kotroikhal, Dolakhal, Buthangkhal, B. Huonveng, The, Gilgal, Muolzawl, Zairon, Mongbung, Sejang and Leisabithol wish to join their brethren under Pherzawl District. Is this too much to asked from the government who professed to love and care for the hill people as much as the plain people?

Development comes in all forms, shape and sizes. Their demand is quite reasonable due to the geographical landscape, sharing the same hill range. When geographically unattached areas can come under one jurisdiction, the demand of the hill tribes to join Pherzawl District is more feasible. The government led by Chief Minister Pu Biren Singh should stand up for the welfare of the tribals living in Jiribam District.

Human nature is quite unique. We owe and feel responsible if people do good things to us. Won’t it be good for the BJP in Manipur to leave their own legacy in the hill district? Newton’s Third Law of Motion states that there is always an opposite reaction – likewise, fulfilling the demand of our children makes them obedient. This is also true in politics. When you grant the people their justified demand, you can expect the same and equal reaction in times of elections.

Time to unite and stop illegal immigrants

Manipur, like other North East states, is facing tremendous challenges on illegal immigrants both from within and outside India. The only way to protect our ancestral land in to restore the status of Jiribam District as a hill district or to bring the villages inhabited by the tribals under Pherzawl District.

Another issue not to be taken lightly is the wish and demand of the people of Saikawt Sub-Division area to be one under Pherzawl District as the 5th sub-division. Pherzawl District and Saikawt sub-division are not geographically linked/attached, yet if the government can mysteriously keep Jiribam under the jurisdiction of Imphal East District, the government won’t have to break a sweat to keep Saikawt sub-division under Pherzawl District. A reality that once prevail in Manipur, will it happen again? Or was the previous case due to the propaganda of a particular community and for that particular community to reap it’s benefit alone? These are some questions the government must answer. Will the long-cherished dream of the tribal people fade away or will it become a reality? The key to unlock those answer lies with the good government of Manipur.

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Contributor, zoramobserver.com. Mr. Fimate is a Manipur-based trainee journalist with a local Hmar daily published from Churachandpur. Opinions are personal and do not reflect the views of the organisation he works for.

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