NSUD to back Manipur tribals against 3 controversial bills

New Delhi, Nov 27 (IANS) The Naga Students Union, Delhi (NSUD) has decided to join the tribals from the hill areas of Manipur in their protest against three controversial bills passed by the Manipur assembly on August 31.

“This time the protest will be joined by all the tribals of Nagaland and Manipur, including Kukis, Hmars, Semas and various tribes of Nagaland. This will be indefinite relay-sit down strike and we are not going to withdraw it until the bills are repealed,” a senior leader of NSUD, who did not want to be identified, told IANS on Friday.

Friday was the 24th day of the tribals’ agitation against the three bills, which also led to violence resulting in the killing of nine protestors by the security forces.

The NSUD and the Manipur Tribals Forum, Delhi (MTFD), under which the protest is being carried on, have sought immediate action by the central government to repeal the three bills: Protection of Manipur People Bill, the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Bill (Seventh Amendment), and the Manipur Shops and Establishments (Second Amendment).

The student leader said they have been assured by the union home ministry that all stake-holders will be consulted before the central government takes any decision over the bill, so till then none of the protestors are going to withdraw their agitation.

The hills of Manipur have been simmering with tension ever since the state assembly, in a specially convened session on August 31, passed the bills.

Back in Manipur, the people have also decided not to cremate the bodies of nine tribals, who were killed during the weeks-long violence in the state, until the three bills are repealed.

“The ongoing protest spearheaded by MTFD has awaken the consciousness of tribals in Manipur and beyond. It has highlighted various issues and brought people together to fight collectively against the injustice meted out to the tribals for decades by the dominant community-dominated Government of Manipur,” said an NSUD statement.

Meanwhile, several senior political leaders, including former Nagaland chief minister Nephiu Rio, have visited the protestors and expressed their solidarity with them.

Rio also wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and urged him not to give his consent to the three bills passed by the Manipur assembly ostensibly to safeguard the rights of the state’s indigenous people.

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