Three Bills and Ensuing Tensions
Manipur, “the land of jewels”, has witnessed conflict that is “as old as the hills in Manipur”. A recent point of contention is the introduction of three new anti-migrant bills that have furthered tensions between various ethnic groups and tribes, divided by the hill regions of Manipur and the valley. Although the bill strives to uphold and preserve the identities of people living in Manipur – both in the hill regions and the valley – it has largely been perceived as anti-tribal, and as a threat to the agency of the communities in the hill regions over their land. In this interview, Binalakshmi Nepram, who works with the Manipur Women Gun Survivors’ Network, provides a backdrop to the events leading up to the introduction of these bills. She further elaborates that the tensions and differences over the bills have emerged due to the long history of tension and distrust amongst communities, compounded by poor governance in the region, as well as the engineering of conflicts by national political parties. Manipur, with its rich confluence of diverse identities, is faced with the challenge to negotiate between these and its land masses.
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