Contd. from previous issue
C. Paul and C. Daniel missing case:
The first task which the EDWA took up after changing its name to TSL was the missing case of C. Paul and C. Daniel after they were picked up by the personnel of the 21st Battalion of Sikh Regiment from their village. They were picked up in connection with an attack on the 21st Battalion of Sikh Regiment by some Naga undergrounds which took place in Namthilok (a location near Litan village in the Imphal-Ukhrul Road). In the attack, around 22 soldiers died and it also resulted in the seizing of arms by the underground. (TKS, 2007: 34). The Sikh Regiment in the aftermath of the attack conducted search operations in the entire neighbouring villages. They tortured and beat up severely the villagers irrespective of age and sex even administering electric shocks and taking forced signature in blank paper. It left many people physically and mentally handicapped. In connection with this incident, the 21st Sikh Regiment arrested C. Paul, Assistant Pastor and C. Daniel, Headmaster of Huining (now Halang) on 19 March 1981. (History Committee TSL, op.cit., p.19). After that they never returned back to their village and they were believed to have been killed and their bodies still remains untraced.( TKS , op.cit.). The movement of the villagers were also restricted during the operation. In connection with this episode, the President and Secretary of the TSL went for an on the spot enquiry to the village and later it filed a writ petition in the Guwahati High Court against the 21st Sikh Regiment. In this case TSL also got support from other student unions and organisations working in the same field. Consequently, the TSL together with the NPMHR organized an all women “Fact Finding Team” to investigate into all the atrocities committed by the Indian Armed Forces in Ukhrul District. (MIP, GPRN, 2002: 84). All the members of the Fact Finding Team were women from Delhi. The team reached Ukhrul in February 1982. The team included the following four prominent women leaders (History Committee Tangkhul Shanao Long, op.cit., p.19.). They are- Promola Dandavage of Mahila Dakshita Samiti; Nandita Haksar of People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR); Subhadra Joshi of Sampradayikta Virodhi Dal; Premila Loob of National Federation of Indian Women; Urmila Phadnis of People’s Union for Civil Liberties; and Kirti Singh of Janwadi Mahila Samiti.
After the Fact Finding Team concluded their investigation, the PUDR, Delhi, filed a habeas corpus petition in the Supreme Court in January 1983, demanding the production of C. Paul and C. Daniel. It also challenged the constitutionality of the AFSPA. (EPW, Vol.9.No.51/52, December 22-29, 1984: 2157-2160. Consequently, the PUDR succeeded in getting a court direction restraining the Indian army from using churches or educational institutions as camps or interrogation places. (Souvenir Nagalim -50 Years of Resistance. op.cit., 60). Besides this, the Supreme Court also upheld the habeas corpus petition against the army for the first time, and held the Union Government responsible for the death of the two persons and ordered compensation to be paid to the widows of the deceased. Thus together with other organisations, TSL stood up and fought for justice and for the protection of the Human Rights of the people.
Miss Luingamla Muinao attempted rape and murdered Case:
On 24 January 1986 two army officers namely, Capt. Madir Singh and Lt. Sanjeev Dubey tried to rape a village girl called Ms. Luingamla Muinao of Ngainga Village at her residence, and when she resisted, she was shot dead. (NWUM, Senapati, 1998: 17). Against this backdrop, on 25 January 1985 many Tangkhul civil organisations including the TSL and other student unions held a protest rally in the Ukhrul town. A huge public meeting together with the dead body of Ms. Luingamla was held at Ukhrul Tangkhul Long Ground. In connection to this incident, the TSL again organised one big rally in Imphal on 11 March 1986 which was attended by more than 5000 people irrespective of caste and creed. Many other valley based organisations also supported and joined the TSL in its fight for justice. Those valley based organisations which participated in the protest rally included organisations like the Macha Leima, All Manipur Student Union (AMSU), All Tribal Student Union Manipur (ATSUM), Tangkhul Naga Long (TNL), Tangkhul Baptist Long (TBL), Naga Student Federation (NSF), Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR), Nupilal Marup, Manipur Tribal Human Rights Association, etc. A meeting was also held after the rally. The meeting resolved to observe 11 March as the ‘Unity Day’ of the hill and valley People of Manipur. (History Committee TSL, op.cit., 28). The TSL, besides organising the rally, also filed a case on behalf of Lt. Miss Luingamla Muinao against the two Army officers. Miss Alungphy Horam, the then Joint Secy. of the TSL also attended the court martial hearing at Leimakhong Army Headquarter where the case of Late Miss Luingamla was held. Finally, the culprit who fired the fatal shoot was terminated from the service. (NWUM, op.cit., 35.) In this way, the TSL played an important role in fighting for the human rights of the people and their persistent efforts resulted in the due punishment of the culprit involved in the case.
Oinam “Operation Bluebird” case:
As time went by, the TSL started addressing itself not only to the human rights problems of the Ukhrul District but also with that of the other Nagas living outside the District. The action it took up in connection with the Operation Bluebird at Oinam Village of Senapati District, Manipur. It so happened that the Assam Rifles post at Oinam Village was attacked by some cadre of the NSCN (IM) on 9 July 1987 and decamped with a huge amount of arms and ammunitions. In the name of searching for the looted arms and ammunition, the Assam Rifles let loose a reign of terror in the entire area of Oinam. Having sealed off the area first, it began an extensive combing operation with the code name “Operation Bluebird” on 11 July 1987. The Operation lasted for nearly four months and ended only in October 1987. Within a few days of launching the operation, the Assam Rifles shot dead fifteen persons after subjecting them to inhuman torture. (Kohini B. Moses, http://www.northeastunlimited.com). It covered thirty villages of the Senapati District. (Amnesty International, January 1990).
(To be contd…………)