Several organization today made a joint declaration protesting the brutality of the state force and protecting the people of Manipur from demographic invasion in a meeting held at Delhi University under the initiative of the Manipur Students’ Association Delhi.
The statement said that greater Imphal area has been converted into a war field by the immediate tactics of closing down educational institutions and using curfew to suppress the agitation by deploying several rabble rousing police gangs in strategic locations and corners of Imphal area.
The statement blamed the government for its failure to bring a political solution instead of spending huge amounts of money in the war effort. It said huge amounts from the public exchequer are spent on fuel for bullet proof and armoured vehicles, live ammunition, rubber bullets, mock bombs and tear smoke shells.
It also said that the war against the people, as other facet of curfew, has created a big onslaught on their free movement and the local economy. The imposition of the curfew in the central areas of Manipur has not only created obstructions to those who live in those areas, but also on those who earn through daily commuting from the peripheries and those who have to pass through the central areas to reach other destinations on a daily basis. In that sense the curfew has extensive impacts similar to a blockade on the economy and transportation all over Manipur.
It added that the curfew has imposed a big burden on those who are dependent on the Imphal market for their daily consumption. It seriously affected the petty traders who are dependent on the local market for commodity exchange. The marginal labourers who are in search of daily work are badly affected because of the restrictions to free movement. Who will compensate for the loss incurred on the family income due to the obstructions caused by the curfew? If these burdens of the people have not been addressed by those who accumulate huge money through corrupt means and who are enjoying the blessings of the authoritarian regime; it only obviates the fact that they are profiting from oppressing the people and are never for their welfare.
It said the Manipur police and its auxiliary forces the India Reserve Battalion (IRB) and Village Defense Force (VDF) have been acting like agents of terror without any restraint during the curfew. In the name of controlling crowd, which they referred to as “mob control”, they have intentionally violated the standard norms of using ‘firearms’, and have indulged in the widespread use of live bullets, rubber bullets, mock bombs and tear smoke shells with the intention to inflict injury and to kill. The deliberate baton attacks, brutal beatings and firing upon unarmed civilians who were on the run exemplify their terrorist character, the statement said.
On the demand for the ILP the statement said there has been unrestrained population invasion by outsiders under the policy and constitutional framework of the Government of India that ostensibly allows free movement of people within the country. The outsiders are enjoying virtual monopoly over commodity and the labour markets of Manipur. On the other hand, the military and corporate and private sector partnership projects have been forcibly taking control of the land and resources without any regulation and restraint. In this situation, it is natural that the indigenous peoples began to take up the initiatives towards defending their identity, market, livelihoods, land and other resources.
The question of defending the rights of the indigenous peoples is a political question that is intricately founded in the context of a worsening socio-economic condition and progressive cultural annihilation. It is the responsibility of a democratic government to bring a political solution to this question. However, the puppet Manipur regime, which functions under the command of the federal Indian pro-corporate and private sector regime, indulge in suppressing this question under the barrel of a gun the statement added.
The joint statement is being endorsed by Akhu Chingangbam, Imphal Talkies, Amit Bhattacharyya, Secretary General, Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners, Anthony Moirangthem, President, Manipur Students Association Pune, Dina Oinam, President, Women Empowerment and Child Development Organization (Manipur), Dr. George T. Haokip, Chairperson, Institute Alternative India, Ishan Chandam, League of the Proletarian Students of Manipur, Jiten Yumnam, Centre for Research and Advocacy Manipur, L. Bijendra khuman, Social Welfare Club Mayang Imphal, Luikang Lamak, Ex-President, Naga Students’ Union. Delhi, Malem Ningthouja, Campaign for Peace & Democracy (Manipur), Padam Kumar, Worker’s Unity Trade Union, Priyobata Irengbam, Manipur Students’ Association Delhi, Roy Laifungbam, Civil Society Coalition for Human Rights In Manipur and, Sanayairanchan Kshetrimayum, Manipur Alert, Sapam Shyamsunder, Irabot Research and Commemoration Committee and Vijay Singh, Editor, Journal Revolutionary Democracy.