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Civil bodies protest against “Extension of Article 371 (A)” in Manipur

IMPHAL | Jul 28 : Volunteers of various civil society organisations today demonstrated against the backdrop of interlocutor R.N. Ravi’s statement of offering “special status” to Naga as per the recent report submitted to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Framework Agreement.

A sit-in rally was witnessed at Keishampat, Imphal protesting under the banner “Extension of Article 371 (A) or alike in Manipur”.

It was organised by Joint Committee of AMUCO (All Manipur United Clubs Organisation), CCSK (Committee of Civil Societies Kangleipak) and UCM (United Committee Manipur).

The framework agreement was signed between the NSCI (I-M) and the government on India on August 3 2015 to bring a conclusion to the years’ long Naga peace talk.

Giving ‘special status’ to Naga to settle the decades long Naga issue throws light over the possibility of extension of Art 371 (A) of the Indian Constitution, complains the joint committee.

Today’s sit-in rally was the first of agitations lined up by the committee. A state-wide 24 hours general strike was announced to be launched at the midnight of July 31 and a mass rally has been scheduled to be held on August 18.

Vice-president of CCSK Jeetendra Ningomba said attempting to give ‘special status’ to Naga inhabited areas in Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh by extending Article 371 (A) will divide the people of Manipur among communities.

Nagaland has Article 371 (A) while Manipur has Article 371 (C), he added

The speakers in the rally alleged the central leaders for giving false assurance that the framework agreement will not hurt the sentiment of the people. They said although the national leaders repeatedly assured that the agreement does not contain anything detrimental to the collective interest of Manipur, the proposal for extension of Article 371 (A) beyond Nagaland gives a hint of the contents of the agreement which have kept concealed.

They said extension of Article 371(A) beyond Nagaland is a step towards formation of a Greater Nagaland. Centre’s attempt to enforce Article 371(A) in Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh is a creepy strategy to disintegrate in the three states, alleged the gathering.

The article 371 (A) gives a special status to the people that even the parliament of India cannot interfere to the customary law. If the article is applied to Naga inhabited areas in Manipur, the state government has no right to interfere. Then the system will be existence of a state within a state. “This is an indirect submit to the demand for Greater Nagaland or Southern Nagaland,” said Jeetendra.

People living in the state should not take this movement against any particular community, but it is a protest to the policy of the Centre to disintegrate states in the North East, said Jeetendra. We strongly oppose against this divisive policy of the Indian government, he added.

He also appealed the people of Manipur not to utter any word that would hurt the sentiment of other communities while people organisations are trying to protect the integrity of Manipur.

~IFPa

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