Dimapur, December 13 (MExN): The Separate Hill Tribal Area Administration Demand Committee (SHTAADC) and the Tribal Peoples’ Organisation of Manipur (TPOM) has proposed to the Government of India for the creation of “Sccutland State” -“state within state”- in Manipur under article244 (A); 275 (i), (ii); 371 (A) and 371 (C) of the Indian Constitution. The organizations charged the government of leaving them with no alternative but to form a democratic form of governing system under the provisions of the Indian Constitution, like Meghalaya was in Assam prior to 1968 and 1989.
The abbreviation of “Sccutland State” is derived from the names of five hill districts of Manipur namely Senapati, Churachandpur, Chandel, Ukhrul and Tamenglong.
A statement issued by P Ashuli Arche, Convenor SHTAADC and Joel Lorho, President TPOM stated that out of the total 22,327 sq km territory area of Manipur, the five hill districts covers 20,089 sq kms. Imphal Valley comprising of four districts covers only 2,239 sq km. Senapati district which covers 1,038 sq kms is bigger than a combined three districts of Imphal west and east, Thaubal and Bishnupur districts of Manipur, the organizations pointed out; adding even then the government of India chose to divide Imphal valley into four districts.
The oganisations further pointed out that despite the small area, Imphal valley has 40 of the total 60 seats in the Manipur Assembly while the rest of the hill districts have only 20 seats. “From this very political and one sided democratic form of government, the hill tribal are crushed and betrayed…and as a result, the more represented areas are enjoying all government funds in the guise of development in the hill areas,” the organizations stated.
The tribal organizations of Manipur also pointed out that the tribal hill people have bitter experience for several decades and cannot coexists with the valley people. “As such unavoidable circumstances… the hill tribal people of Manipur have the right to a separate Sccutland Autonomous State in Manipur,” the oganisations stated.