Senapati, June 19: The All Manipur Students Association, Manipur (ANSAM) observed its 10th Remembrance Day at ANSAM Memorial Park, Kapaam (Komlathabi) in Chandel district on Monday.Participated by different Naga apex civil bodies, the attendants first laid wreaths to the martyrs as a tribute to the martyrs. A one minute silent prayer was offered to the martyrs.
Eulogy of the martyrs was read out that Shelly Chara from Moyon tribe served as President of the ANSAM during the period, 1986-88. It was during his tenure as its President that the infamous “Operation Bluebird” was launched in the wake of Oinam incident who later become the Convenor of the Coordination Committee on Oinam issue (COCOI). He was arrested under the Anti Terrorist Act in May, 1988. In 1993, he became the Convenor of Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR). He represented the NPMHR in various forums in India and abroad particularly on the issues of tribal peoples’ struggle for self determination, justice and Human Rights. He was assassinated on June 19, 1995 by non state actors.
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Ashun R. Jangvei served as a Social & Cultural Secretary of ANSAM in 1990. It was during his tenure as the President of Lamkang Students’ Union (LKK) in 1997 when the Kukis and Nagas were at the peak of violent inter tribal conflict. During this dark period, his youngest brother JV. Rengshing was killed by Kuki armed groups. Despite the tragic personal loss, he was emphatic and undeterred in denouncing violence against Naga people. As a result, he was targeted and just barely a year after his brother’s death, he was martyred at the hands of the Kuki National Army.
Sanii of Tunggam village was 78-year-old while serving as a deacon in his church when he was killed by the indiscriminate firing by Manipur Rifles at Senapati Bridge during the agitation of ANSAM against the attempt of the government of Manipur to create Sadar Hills district in Manipur.
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In June, 2001, the Indo-Naga Ceasefire was extended to all Naga areas “Without Territorial Limits.” The Meiteis responded with violence against the Naga People’s quest for peace and proclaimed that “There are no Nagas in Manipur state.” In 2005, the state Govt declared June 18 as a state holiday. ANSAM protested against the blatant insult to the Naga people.
On June 19, 2005, Namthiurei Abonmei convinced that only extreme step would evoke responds from the state and central Govt and reverse the glorification and legitimisation of the communal violence of June 18 took great personal risk and attempted to blow up the Irang Bridge. Unfortunately, he lost his life during the valiant act.
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Gemcliff Zimik served Zingtun Tangkhul Katamnao Long from 2004 till his untimely death in 2007. In 2006, he was made the Co-convenor of Coordination Committee, Tangkhul Katamnao Saklong. During this time, schools in Naga areas in Manipur were prompted to take their HSLC examination in Nagaland under NBSE as a protest against imposition of Manipuri language. While facilitating the student candidates to their respective examination centres in Nagaland, Gemcliff Zimik died in a car accident in the wee hours on 27 January, 2007.
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Neli Chakho was a BA 2nd year student of St. Joseph College, Bangalore and Dikho Loshuo Mao was a BA 1st year student of St. Joseph College, Jakhama both hailing from Kalinamei village. The duo were martyred on 6 May, 2010 at Mao Gate while they confronted against the state forces when the Govt of Manipur banned the entry of Th. Muivah and his entourage from entering the state at Mao Gate.
Ramkashing Vashi and Mayopam Ramror were killed on August 30, 2014 when Manipur state Commandoes and Indian Reserved Battalion opened fire on a peaceful rally held in Ukhrul organised by the United Naga Council against militarisation of Naga areas. Both of them hailed from Teinem village in Ukhrul district.
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In his presidential address, Luikang Luckson, President, ANSAM stated that the Naga martyrs made their supreme sacrifices to defend their land. It is because of the sacrifices of the martyrs who were not afraid to die for the cause of the people for self determination. The President asserted that ANSAM remembers the brave souls who gave their lives yet remain nameless and faceless in the course of struggle. The story of the heroes will always remain in the hearts of the Nagas which shall enlighten the lives ahead of journey. Calling as to be in the crucial juncture, the President urged to take a resolute stand and march forward together in unity in defending the land and identity without fear and without reproach.
Bringing the solidarity message, Asha Wungnam, President, Naga Women’s Union stated that although the martyrs are no more, their story is still alive. They had sacrificed their precious lives to defend their history and land of the people having shown to live independently and not under anyone’s threat or control. They had fought a good fight, she stated and prayed to let their souls rest in peace. The women leader urged for unity among all people by leaving all differences but join hands together and move forward with hope.
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Joseph Adani, Former President, ANSAM in his speech stated that the idea of ANSAM Remembrance Day was first conceived during the leadership of Paulhring and came to observe during the leadership of Seth Shatsang. Calling the day as special, the former President asserted that it is a day to pay tribute to the fallen heroes. The student leader mentioned that it is not the death that makes a person a martyr but it is the cause of the death that makes a person a martyr. So many wanted to die out of frustration but don’t have any reason to die for. Calling as God’s chosen people, the former student leader paid his highest salute to the martyrs because they have given their lives for peoples’ cause and shall continue to tell their stories from generation to generation.
Blessing for the martyrs families was taken up by Rev. Dr. Adoreson, Pastor, Kapaam Baptist Church. A token was distributed to all the families of the martyrs at the end of the program.