UT News Service | Imphal, Aug 16: Pebam Chitaranjan who had self immolated16 years ago in protest against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) 1958 was remembered on his 16th death anniversary on Sunday.
Befitting tribute was paid to the departed student leader at Takhellambam Leikai in Imphal as well as at Bishnupur district headquarters where he self immolated.
Chitaranjan burnt himself by pouring SK oil in protest against the AFSPA at Bishnupur Bazar 16 years ago.
He took the harsh step after the then government had failed to address the demand for repeal of the AFSPA in wake of people’s mass agitation following the brutal murder of Thangjam Manorama Devi by security force after picking up from her home.
Remembering the “supreme sacrifice” made by the then advisor of Manipuri Students’ Federation (MSF), the student body has been observing as “Students’ Martyrdom” on this day every year.
Even though he self immolated on August 15, the death anniversary is observed on August 16 every year as general strikes by various underground outfits have been imposed every year on August 15 as part of boycott of Independence Day in Manipur.
The observation was held in small scale this year considering the prevailing situation in the state in the wake of spread of COVID-19 pandemic and the Standard Operating Protocols which need to be adhered to.
Only leaders of student bodies, civil society organisations including women based bodies and human right groups turned up at the memorial sites of Pebam at Bishnupur district headquarters and at his birth place in Imphal’s Kwakeithel to pay floral tributes.
At the simple observance function held at the memorial site at Kwakeithel, MSF president Sajat Phuyamayum said, “Chitaranjan will always be remembered for his supreme sacrifice and his daring act to defy the black law”.
He vowed that MSF will continue to take part in the movement demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special) Powers Act.
He then said the decision to self-immolate on Independence Day by Chitaranjan was a great message to the people of not only Manipur but to the entire world. The student leader also reminded MSF’s demand for repealing all black laws.