Imphal: Reaffirming their stand over the Autonomous District Council (ADCs) elections impasse, the All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM) on Wednesday resolved to oppose further extension of the term of the office of all ADC members.
After a joint meeting of ATSUM, its federating units and district-based students’ organisation, the body issued a statement reminding the state government to seriously consider the attempt of the ADCs Chairmen for extension of another six months as a selfish act and sectional interest.
In a statement issued by its information and publicity secretary Khaiminlen Doungel, ATSUM said that the Hill Areas Committee (HAC), had deliberately misled the public by misinterpreting ‘rainy season’ as administrative difficulty. They recommended the state government defer elections to the six ADCs of Manipur Hill Districts.
They further alleged that the state cabinet without pondering over the legality or rationality of the provisions of the act had hastily deferred the ADCs election for six months.
Chairpersons of the four ADCs from UKhrul, Chandel, Tamenglong and Kangpokpi districts earlier sought permission for an extension of terms of all members of ADCs by another six months.
The student bodies further pointed out that the intention of the four ADC Chairmen for extension of their office term based on reasons of harvesting and pandemic is deplorable.
“People of the state, are directly connected with the agricultural activities throughout the year starting from the beginning of the year till the end. Thus, citing “harvesting” as a reason for the extension of ADC term and coining/interpreting it as administrative difficulty as per the Manipur (Hills) District Council Act 1971 is ridiculous,” ATSUM said.
In regards to the pandemic, the bodies further stated that the world is reeling under dreadful pandemic. However, the hill people need effective and popular local/grassroots governance to deal with this pandemic according to law.
Importantly, the Election Commission of India had already announced the date of by-elections for some assembly constituencies of Manipur. For the safe conduct of elections, ECI has issued protocols to be followed during the by-election. Thus, the intention of extending ADC terms of office on the pretext of COVID-19 pandemic to meet whims of few individuals is irrational, it said.
The bodies have urged the government to prevent another blunder and ensure that incumbent ADCs are dissolved and elections conducted.
The ATSUM and its federating units will decide on a course of action in the interest of tribals based on the outcome of the proposed HAC meeting on Thursday.