2001 Census and the Black Day

John Basho Pou

Dec 10, 2006 was the Black Day for Mao-Maram, Tadubi and Purul Blocks when the Backs fags are put up at all houses affected by the Census 2001 reports. No vehicles movement, all shops closed, and Senapati District headquarter looks deserted. And serials of meetings are held at the District town, and the Committee on Census 2001 report stills hope to launch another agitation in the near future again for the same reason if State Government shows no sign of interest in solving it. And this is the latest in a row of demonstration of their resentment in a  row organized by them with previous being on 4th  and 5th , October 2003, when Naga People’s Organisation, Senapati launched 2 days economic blockade along the NH-39 and 53 to revoke the Cabinet decision passed against the Census 2001. And a total bandh was also called by Committee on 2001 Census under aegis of NPO in Senapati District on 31st May, this year. Till now Manipur government has not shown any interest on the issue, nor makes any attempt to blow off the fire before it is too late with the State election is round the corner.

And for this, we need a re-think and re-look at the genesis of the issue once again and let every one know why there was a Black Day observed and why there were agitations in the past, and why people may suffer again with another agitation again in the near future.

2,23,778 of Indian citizens inhibiting in the Three Sub Division namely Mao-Maram, Paomata and Purul Sub-Division of Senapati District, Manipur have been deprived of their Constitutional Rights by deleting their names from the 2001 Census Report due to, according to the Census Concerned officials, abnormal growth of population comparing to population growth in the Census 1991 and census illegally undertaken in the three Blocks. Due to this reason, names of the three Sub-Divisions and their whole population figure have been removed from the Census 2001.

As per the provisional population figure of Mao-Maram is 1, 20,774 with 74 villages, Paomata has 43,299 with 20 villages and Purul Block has 27 villages with 59,705 populations according to the Census 2001 report.

In the year 2003,under clause (3) of Article 170 of Indian Constitution, when the Parliament of India announced Delimitation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2003 was introduced and re adjustment of both State Assembly and Parliamentary seats on the basic of population figure of 2001 Census, it was proposed that Senapati District of Manipur, would be given three additional seats to 6 present seats that would finally make 9 seats in total in the Assembly by re-adjusting with Imphal West, Imphal East, Bishnupur and Thoubal Districts.

In the even of delimitation of Assembly seats, the existing 13 seats A/C of Imphal west will be reduced to 11, one constituency each from the existing 11 seats of Imphal East, 10 of Thoubal and 6 of Bishnupur shall be added 3 seats to Senapati that has 6 existing seats, 1 to Ukhrul with 3 present constituencies and another 1 to 2 seats of Chandel district. The Delimitation Commission of India has already started the work of re-adjustment of territorial constituencies of each state. The two MPs namely Holkomang Haokip and Th. Chaoba Singh, Chief Minister of Manipur, O Ibobi Singh, Phungzathang Tonsing MLA, Gaikhangam, MLA, RK Dorendro Singh MLA, and Dr Nimaichand Luwang MLA from Manipur were among the Delimitation Commission who attended the meeting in New Delhi on 24th June 2003, and where they have decided to increase the entitlement of seats on three districts, that is, Ukhrul and Chandel by one additional seat each and Senapati with three more seats.

The Census of India was conducted in all parts of Manipur in two phases, namely the House-Listing Operations and the Revisional Round.

But when the 2001 Census was approved officially both Sate and Central, the Government of Manipur decided vide State Cabinet Decision taken on 18th September, 2003 for conduct of Re-Census in some Sub-Division of Manipur. The Naga People’s Organization, Senapati strongly opposed the move and stopped the Census officials beefed up with tied security at Senapati from conducting re-census through Household Demographic Survey which is illegal and unauthorized by the constitution.

Then the General Election to the Lok Sabha was held in Manipur in 2004 on the basis of the 2001 Census Report.

Following the matter forwarded by the State Government, the Registrar General purported to publish on internet a tabular report based on the above said exercise of the State government styled “Table 1: Population by sex and sex ratio” excluding the three blocks showing total population 156,513 against the Census 2001 figure of 379,214.

On finding the high growth of population in three Blocks, the Director of Census operation, Manipur directed the respective sub-divisions Commissioners to examine and verify the figures. The Sub-Divisional officer, Tadubi Block, clarifies that Tadubi covers three Assembly Constituency. About 50 Kms of national High way 39 runs through this Sub-division and Senapati Dist H.Q. is also situated in the Block. Consequently, migration and concentration of people take place due to business and employment facilities. And till now the people do not use birth control methods and normally 7/8 children are born in almost every family. And quite a number of new villages have come up during the last ten years time.

In Paomata, as Deputy Commissioner, Senapati, also justified in his letter addressed to the Director, Census Operation, Manipur saying that the village authority expressed non-inclusion of a number of villagers in the 1991 census. And unrecognized villages and hamlets have established to a large numbers. And there is no family planning in the block. He also said that in Purul Block, traditionally big family norms still exist.

According to the Committee on Census 2001, the other reasons for the high growth of population in Senapati are the migration of Naga people from the Imphal valley due to Naga-Kuki ethnic clash in 1992. Scores of Naga villages were torched and thousands were killed in different parts of Manipur. Thousands of Nagas fled from these vulnerable areas and took shelter in Senapati, a Naga strong hold.

Then again, there was another Naga mass exodus in 1997, during the violent agitation in Imphal by the majority Meitei community against the Cease–Fire agreement between Government of India and the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM) to extend cease fire to all Nagas inhibited areas, thousands of Nagas living in Imphal valley were forced to shift to Senapati and most of them become permanent settlers. Few places in Imphal from where Nagas migrated Senapati are Lamphel, Langol, Game Village, Tarung in Imphal West. And from Imphal East, Dewlaland, Fairyland, Nagaram, Tangkhul Avenue, Raigalong, Poumai Colony, Rongmei Village, Napdulong etc where most of the locals are Nagas.

The geographical area of Manipur is 22,327 sq.km consisting of 9 districts and out of total area, 2238 sq.km constitutes the valley with 4 districts and the remaining 20,089 sq.km constitute the hill with 5 districts. Out of total 60 State Assembly seats, the valley with 10% of the total geographical area has 40 seats, whereas, the hilly people covering 90% of the area has only 20 seats.

Having been aggrieved by such an unconstitutional injustice meted out to thousands of backward people, a Writ Petition, under Article 32 of the Constitution of India, was filed by K Louno Andrew, Naga People’s Organization against State of Manipur and ors in the Supreme Court of India on 18th January 2006 to impugn the action of the State Government of Manipur. And the Writ Petition was dismissed by the Court with an order advising the Petitioner to approach the High Court under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution for seeking appropriate relief.

M Dilli, President, Naga People’s Organization expressed, “We welcome the enumeration of populate and maintaining factual statistic of its relevance once in every 10 years by the Census Authority of India as national Programme, but we will never comply to any unauthorized, unnatural, biased and one-sided re-census imposed by any authority other than the Census Authority of India at any point of time.

Many government agencies, officials and employees were pressed into service and they have brought out painlessly the said census in time and the Census Authority of India had approved the printed census report 2001. Now the Government of Manipur is questioning the credibility and sincerity of the officials involved in the work from 2000 to 2001.”

A member of the Committee also shared, “All the democratic representatives elected from these particular Constituencies are elected by bogus votes, if the deletion of population from the 2001 Census remains unchanged. In this regard, instead of fustily exercising the entire process of re-census for few Sub-divisions, the State Government of Manipur should give priority in deleting the names of those Nagas/ tribals who fled from Imphal valley during the Anti-cease fire agitation from the census of Valley (Imphal).”

Markson Mateso, Chairman of Committee on 2001 Census said, “The act is equivalent to the denial of any rightful benefits of the backward people, be it economic, political, and social. The modus operandis of O Ibobi Singh, Chief Minister is crystal clear: to marginalize the Nagas by depriving of all opportunities and developments due to them. We’ll forward our grievances to National Human Rights Commission and Prime Minister of India for further necessary action and justice of the people as so far the State Government is not keen on the issue” He further said that the total population figure of Manipur 2,288,634 (Census 2001), Indian population 1,027,015,247 and the world’s will be affected and reduced with 94,738 figures.