Tribals in Manipur have been asked to observe August 31 as unity day in remembrance of the nine tribal youths who were killed in a protest against three "anti-tribal" bills passed by the state government.
The Joint Action Committee (JAC) against Anti- Tribal Bills and the Outer Manipur Tribals’ Forum (OMTF) on Tuesday announced to observe "Tribal Unity Day" on August 31 at Churachandpur district in remembrance of the nine tribal martyrs who were killed in early September last year in violent protests against three anti-tribal bills that allegedly deprived tribals of the right to their land.
On August 31, 2015, the state assembly passed the three controversial bills- Protection of Manipur People’s Bill, 2015, the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (Seventh Amendment) Bill, 2015, and the Manipur Shops and Establishments (Second Amendment) Bill, 2015.
According to the the JAC against Anti-Tribal Bills and OMTF, the unity day will be observed to mark the crossing of hundred days of the relentless struggle of the tribals against the alleged subjugation, marginalization and exclusion policies of the state government towards tribals since the bills were passed, besides remembering the brave martyrs.
As a part of the observation, a public rally and torch rally will be organized. Gun salute would be paid to ‘tribal martyrs’ beginning from August 26, sources said.
The mortal remains of the nine martyrs are still lying at Churanchandpur district hospital with the activist groups refusing to bury them until the bills are withdrawn.
Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam said the legislations have not been converted into law because "the president has withheld one bill and sent back two others".
Demanding the withdrawal of the three bills, the JAC spokesperson said, “All anti-migrant bills are anti-tribals and as such we shall object."