Two analysis of Manipur

Two analysis of Manipur

News: This article talks about 2 prevalent issues in Manipur. First, why giving ST status to Meiteis is not advisable and the other details the gender dimensions of escalating ethnic violence.

What are the issues faced by women in Manipur’s conflict zones?
• Violence and Assault - Disturbing videos have surfaced showing women being paraded and assaulted by mobs.
• Use as Political Tools - Women’s bodies are used to assert power and mark political boundaries. They’re often reduced to symbols for different agendas.
• Inconsistent Responses to Crimes - Reactions to assaults vary based on community biases. For instance, The Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) reacted differently to two separate assault incidents.
• Lack of Justice - Many crimes against women go unaddressed. For example, after a video of an assault went viral, only four culprits were arrested, leaving many still at large.
• Sexual violence in conflict zones has often been regarded as an inevitable by-product of civil strife/ war and the perpetrators of violence have seldom been punished.

What needs to be done?
• Addressing the deeply entrenched patriarchal attitudes of the administration (say, police) to improve reporting and conviction rates.
• Bridging the gap between gender-based violence laws.
• SDG 5 calls for ending violence against women and girls in public and private spheres. As India is committed to the achievement of SDGs, the governments need to take a tough stance against the perpetrators of violence (in scenarios like Manipur). The trigger to unrest in Manipur stemmed from the verdict given by Manipur high court pertaining to inclusion of Meitei community in ST list.

What was Manipur High court’s ruling?
• The Manipur High Court directed the state government to evaluate the Meitei community for inclusion in the Scheduled Tribe list.
• The directive was issued on March 27, specifying that the evaluation should preferably be done within four weeks of the date of the order.
• The High Court’s decision missed out on the detailed process for recognizing a group as a Scheduled Tribe.
• Even the Lokur committee (1965) while reviewing the inclusion or exclusion of communities in the Scheduled tribe list never mentioned about Meitei’s getting ST status.

What are implications of recognition of ST status?
• Recognized tribes benefit from job reservations, influencing the power dynamics in governance.
• Land Rights - In Manipur, special laws can prevent non-tribal communities from procuring tribal land, safeguarding tribal territories.
• Tribes can invoke the Prevention of Atrocities Act, providing added legal safeguards.
• Economic Benefits - Tribes in Manipur get income tax exemptions as per Section 10 (26) of the Income Tax Act for income earned within the state.

Way Forward
• Re-evaluate the Manipur High Court’s ruling to ensure proper legal procedures are followed for recognizing tribes.
• Ensure timely registration of FIRs and swift legal actions against culprits.
• Enhance Women’s Protection - Address assaults on women in conflict zones with urgency.
• Promote Transparency - Publicize the legal process for recognizing tribes to avoid misunderstandings.

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