New Delhi, Aug 14: The northeast students’ forum on delimitation along with various other groups staged a protest here on Friday, demanding the Centre to expedite the delimitation exercise in four northeast States.
Around 100 to 150 members of various northeastern groups joined the protest at Jantar Mantar, raising slogans like “we want justice”, and “we demand delimitation”.
Members of the Delimitation Demand Committee – Northeast (DDC-NE) and Apatani Youth Association and Tanw Supun Dukun – the apex body of the Apatani community of Arunachal Pradesh, were also part of the demonstration.
Addressing the protesters, Manipur’s Lok Sabha MP and an associate member of the Delimitation Commission, Lorho S. Pfoze said there is a need to ‘reorganise’ the borders of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Manipur, adding, the Centre has given “very little importance” about the delimitation exercise there.
“It is sad that even after so many years, we find ourselves in a situation where people still have to fight for their fundamental rights. They (Centre) cite law and order situation for not ordering delimitation, but the truth is, the Centre has given very little importance to the northeastern states,” Pfoze alleged.
The protestor said the Centre has not conducted the exercise for the last 51 years.
“I am hopeful that the centre will pay attention to our appeal and will not neglect our demands. I have faith that the government will respond to our voices,” he said.
Speaking about their primary concerns, the media cell in charge of DDC-NE, J. Maivio said that there is an unequal distribution of constituencies in the northeastern States.
“It has already been two decades since the Delimitation Act, 2002 was amended, and yet, no delimitation exercises have been conducted in these four Northeastern States, neither by the Central Government nor by the Election Commission of India (ECI),” Maivio said.
Habung Payeng, former information commissioner in Arunachal Pradesh said the Centre has violated Article 14 (Right to Equality) and 21 (Right to Life and Liberty) of the Indian Constitution by delaying the exercise.
“The Centre and ECI have been citing law and order situation as an excuse to delay the delimitation exercise. If there is law and order problem in these four northeastern States, then why are they conducting elections? This is nothing but hypocrisy,” Payeng said, adding that the Northeastern groups are only demanding their ‘constitutional right’.
Northeast Students Forum on Delimitation (NESFOD) members said that they will submit a memorandum at the Prime Minister’s Office on Friday.
On July 25, the Supreme Court sought a response from the Centre and others on a plea seeking direction to the Election Commission of India to conduct the delimitation exercise in the four northeastern states as per the Representation of People’s Act, 1950.
The apex court had also issued notices to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Law and Justice and the chief election commissioner along with the others on the plea filed by the Delimitation Demand Committee. (PTI)