Mega mass rally held in Ukhrul town in protest against ‘forceful occupation’ of 9 Tangkhul villages by AR

Ukhrul: Registering strong protest against the forceful occupation of nine Tangkhul villages by the Assam Rifles, a mega mass rally was held in Ukhrul headquarters on Thursday.

The protest was participated by around 5,000 strong public of the Tangkhul community.

The protesters held placard shouting slogans like: “Leave Us; Respect Land Owners, Nagas Don’t Have Khas Land, Our Land, Our Identity, Honour Our Rights etc, among others.

The rally proceeded from two venues namely Dungrei junction, Hungpung and Mission compound Ukhrul and finally converged at Ava market Phungreitang, Ukhrul headquarters.

The rally was organised by Manipur’s Tangkhul community civil society organisations.

The occasion was attended by Kho John, president United Naga Council (UNC), Joyson Mazamo, convenor Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) south, Asha Wungnam, president Naga Women’s Union, among others.

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The CSOs also submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi through Chief Minister N. Biren Singh appealing him to immediately withdraw forceful occupation of nine (9) Tangkhul tribe villages by the Assam Rifles in addition to withdrawal of the draconian Armed Forces Special Power Act 1958 (AFSPA) from all the Hill Areas/ districts of Manipur.

The copy of the memorandum was also submitted to Francisco Cali Tzay, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Gam A. Shimray, General Secretary, Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP).

In a memorandum submitted to PM Modi, it said: ” The Tangkhul Civil Organisations collective, as the representatives of the Tangkhul community in Manipur, wish to place our pressing concerns with faith in your authority and leadership.”

That, beginning in the year 2016, an unwarranted occupation of the land by the Assam Rifles began in Chatric Khunou village. Since then, eight more villages have been occupied as outposts in the same forceful manner in the face of strong objections from the local populace in the following nine (09) villages namely Chatric Khunou, Ramphoi, Kangpat Khullen (Kamdong), Tusom CV, Poi, Mapum, Lamlang Gate, Khamasom Wallely and Kasom Khullen, it pointed out.

The aforementioned villages have been turned into veritable military garrisons. It is indeed an ungainly sight to find fully armed and combat-ready soldiers moving around in these serene villages, indicating a warlike-situation when there is none and conveying the presence of hostilities when there is peace, it alleged.

Whereas it may be impressed upon that many generations have been crippled in the Naga homeland under the Indian Armed Forces (Special Power) Act, 1958. And Whereas a relentless effort have been made from every quarters to usher peace and in light of the subsisting Ceasefire Agreement dated 25th July, 1997 and the Indo-Naga Framework Agreement, dated 3rd August, 2015, signed between the Government of India (GOI) and the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM) and similar such Suspension of Operations (SoO) being successfully negotiated with other insurgent groups operating within Manipur state, and whereas the Hon’ble Home Minister of India witness whereof has noted that the entire Northeast “is now witnessing a new era of peace, prosperity and unprecedented development,” it further alleged.

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And whereas as observed by the Jeevan Reddy Committee, the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) has been a “symbol of oppression, an object of hate and an instrument of discrimination and high-handedness” where the brunt of such draconian laws being always borne by the common citizens of this country and whereas the tribal populace of the Hill Areas/Districts deserve to enjoy the equal rights as guaranteed under the Constitution of India.

And whereas owing to forceful occupation by these men in uniform, the people are being subjected to rude disruptions and unwelcome alterations to the way of life in the villages causing grave inconveniences.

Public spaces such as the playgrounds, schools, children homes and community halls are being used as camps thereby hindering its usual functioning.
Private spaces have also not been spared as constructions are being undertaken on private properties with utter disregard for its ownership.
Security check posts have been set up and the villagers are subjected to scrutiny as they go about their daily lives.

Women and children especially are subjected to the fears caused by this unwarranted situation.The elders who have not recovered from their traumas caused by the military’s atrocities are being subjected to it all over.

And whereas according to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) is being withdrawn from 15 police station areas in six valley districts of Manipur; 15 police station areas in seven districts of Nagaland; and 23 districts entirely and one district partially in Assam and whereas the Government of India since the year 2015 had already lifted the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) entirely from the states of Tripura and Meghalaya and partially from the state of Arunachal Pradesh.

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There is no justifiable circumstance why the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) should not be lifted from the peaceful Hill Areas/Districts of Manipur and whereas the number of FIRs registered in the Hill Areas/Districts is considerably lower as compared to the number of FIRs registered in the Plain/Valley Districts and whereas the non-withdrawal of the same from the Hill Areas/Districts is ex-facie mala fide, discriminatory and arbitrary being violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India, the memo read.

And whereas at this critical juncture when the Government of India is engaged in hectic peace parley with the Naga people to hammer out a lasting solution to the long pending issue, it is ill-advised and ill-timed to create a fear psychosis among the peace-loving citizens by such mushrooming unsolicited military camps.

Therefore, with complete faith in the Prime Minister’s goodwill, his undoubted love and sense of duty towards the people, we the undersigned herein, on behalf of the Tangkhul Naga community, hereby obliged to make this crucial appeal for ensuring the following redressal as hereunder:

  1. Immediate withdrawal of the forceful Assam Rifles occupations from nine Tangkhul villages in Manipur, and
  2. Withdrawal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) from all the Hill Areas/Districts of Manipur, a memorandum signed by David K Shimray, president Tangkhul Naga Long,Thingreiphi Lungharwoshi, president Tangkhul Shanao Long, SA Ramnganing, president Tangkhul Naga Wungnao Long, Shimri Raising, president Tangkhul Katamnao Saklong, Somatai Machinao, president Tangkhul Mayar Ngala Long, Dearson Chamroy, chairman Tangkhul Naga Ato Longphang, Shomi Angkang, chairman Aze Longphang, Joshua Konghar, chairman Zingsho Longphang and Ramyo Angkang, chairman Zingtun Longphang demanded.

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