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High Hopes That the 5th Session of Manipur Assembly Would Have Something to End the State Crisis Dashed as Approved Business List Reflects No Such Plan

While the civil society organisations (CSOs) urge the Manipur Government to take a unanimous decision in the forthcoming Manipur Legislative Assembly session to abrogate the Suspension of Operation (SoO) agreement with Kuki militants, the approved list of the business of the 5th Session of 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly to be started from February 28 does not reflect any issue related to the continued violent conflict that erupted on May 3 last year.

However, the State Government is hopeful of abrogating SoO by the Central Government. It was reported quoting Manipur Minister for Works, Youth Affairs and Sports Govindas Konthoujam as saying on February 23 that the State Government had apprised the central authorities to revoke the SoO with Kuki militants as they had flagrantly violated SoO ground rules. “We will know the results by the end of February. The state government is hopeful that the Centre would make the right decision to restore peace and normalcy in Manipur,” he said.

On the other hand, the Coordinator of Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI), Thokchom Somorendra on February 22 urged the state government to take a unanimous decision in the forthcoming Manipur Legislative Assembly session to abrogate the Suspension of Operation (SoO) agreement with Kuki militants and full implementation of National Register of Citizenship (NRC) in Manipur.

The COCOMI Coordinator told the media at the office of the United Committee Manipur (UCM) located at Lamphel in Imphal West that the entire MLAs and ministers belonging to Meitei, Meitei Pangal and Naga have no objection to the full implementation of NRC in Manipur.

Coordinator Somorendro said the implementation of NRC in Manipur does not mean negating out all the Kuki population from Manipur but to find out the illegal immigrants who are mixing up with the local populace in the state. A full implementation of the NRC can also decrease the tension among the communities, he added.

He reiterated that the COCOMI has been demanding for implementation of the NRC with base year as 1951, not 1961 as decided by the State Cabinet. The COCOMI urges the MLAs and ministers should also take a unanimous decision in the upcoming Manipur Legislative Assembly to be commenced from February 28.

The COCOMI Coordinator said that the Kuki militants without even firing a single bullet against the Indian Security Forces, they entered into the Suspension of Operation (SoO) agreement first with the Assam Rifles in 2005. Later the Government of India (GOI) and Government of Manipur (GOM) signed the SoO agreement with Kuki militants in 2008. Those Kuki militants in SoO are involved in the present crisis by violating the ground rules of the agreement, he added.

Further, the COCOMI Coordinator said that although the Kuki militants violated the maximum of the ground rules, the Central Security Forces have remained as a silent spectator by not taking necessary steps against them. Besides, the DC and SP of Churachandpur received life threats from the ITLF in connection with the recent Churachandpur arson of the DC’s and SP’s office.

Furthermore, Coordinator Somorendro urges all the MLAs and Ministers belonging to Meitei, Meitei Pangal and Nagas to take a unanimous decision on full implementation of NRC and abrogation of SoO with Kuki militants in Manipur in the 5th Session of the 12th Manipur Assembly.

However, the approved list of the business of the 5th Session of the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly scheduled to be held from February 28 to March 5, 2024 does not have a particular mention on the issues raised by the people.

According to a release of the Manipur Legislative Assembly, the highly anticipated 5th session of the 12th Manipur Assembly, scheduled to conduct from February 28 to March 5, 2024, is slated to address a comprehensive array of legislative and financial matters of the State.

The inaugural day, set for Wednesday, February 28, 2024, is set to start with the traditional Governor’s address, providing a platform for the State’s head to highlight key priorities and initiatives. This will be followed by the Motion of Thanks to the Governor’s Address by the leader of the House, where Assembly members will express gratitude and respond to the Governor’s remarks.

There will be Obituary References as the Assembly pays tribute to any departed individuals who have made notable contributions to the State.

Subsequently, the Assembly will receive insights and recommendations from the Business Advisory Committee Report and the financial realm with the Presentation of Supplementary Demands for Grants, 2023-24 and the presentation of budget estimates, 2024. The day will culminate with a critical Motion for Vote on Accounts, 2024-25, ensuring the financial continuity of the State.

On the second day of the 5th Session of the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly, Thursday, February 29, 2024, the Assembly will engage in a dynamic questions and answers session, addressing a spectrum of concerns. Discussions will extend to General Discussion on Supplementary Demands for Grants, 2023-24 and the subsequent Discussion and Voting on Supplementary Demands for Grants, 2023-24. Simultaneously, the Assembly will engage in a thorough Discussion and Voting on Motion for Vote on Accounts, 2024 and will end with introduction of Manipur Appropriation Bill (s).

The third day of the 5th Session, Friday, March 1, 2024, will witness another round of Questions and deliberations on other business. The Assembly will receive and consider the Presentation of Committee Reports, while the introduction of Government Bill (s) will be followed by the consequential Consideration and Passing of Manipur Appropriation Bill (s). Members will also have the opportunity to bring forward and discuss Private Members’ Business.

As normally weekend doesn’t have business, the Assembly session will resume on Monday, March 4, 2024 with another session of questions, other business, if any, presentation of committee reports, if any and consideration and passing of government bill (s), if any.

The session will wrap up on Tuesday, March 5 with further rounds of Questions and deliberations on Other Business, according to the Manipur Legislative Assembly Secretariat release.

Therefore, the only hope of discussion and taking resolution on either SoO abrogation and NRC or 10-month continued violence lies in the discussion on the Motion of Thanks to the Governor’s Address if she mentions or as a private member resolotion by a member or more of the House.

However, even as people have high hopes and expectations from the 5th Session of Manipur Assembly for concrete decisions to end the continued 10-month violent conflict between the Kuki militants and Meiteis, the approved Business list reflects none of them. And the readiness and openess of the State Government by moving a motion on the violence is not evident from the list of the business.

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