Tension prevailed in Manipur today with a government building being torched in Churachandpur district despite curfew even as the government clarified that the three bills passed by the assembly do not infringe on the existing rights of the tribal community.
Protestors set ablaze the Zonal Education Office (ZEO) in even as the indefinite curfew continued for the third day.
Reports from Churachandpur quoting eyewitnesses said the building was reduced to ashes.
The situation remained tense as the agitators gathered at vulnerable points defying curfew.
Violence, which broke out in Churachandpur on Monday, has claimed eight lives. Six houses belonging to a cabinet minister of Manipur, a Lok Sabha MP, the chairman of Hill Areas Committee of Manipur assembly and other four MLAs were also gutted.
The violence has been triggered by passage of three bills — Protection of Manipur People Bill, 2015, Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (Seventh amendment) Bill, 2015 and Manipur Shops and Establishments (Second Amendment) Bill, 2015.
Tribals fear that these legislations would allow “outsiders” to have rights over tribal land and not protect the indigenous people.
The government, in a press release today, clarified that the bills do not infringe on the existing rights of the tribal community settled in the state and also do not impinge on the provision of Article 371C and the presidential order of 1972 which provides for scheduled areas and matters as also the Manipur State Hill People Regulation, 1947.
It also clarified that the present amendment of Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act does not extend to the hill areas.
The government appealed to all sections of the people to maintain peace and calm in the state and assured that any difference may be discussed and settled across the table.
“Manipur deserves peace and tranquility for its people, especially the children and youth,” it said and requested all stakeholders to come forward for discussions with the government to bring a solution to the present situation prevailing in the state.