Fitting Floral Tributes Paid To ‘Martyred’ PLA Leaders

While some pay tributes none, including women and kids, are spared from intense checking. Image Credit: Sangai Photo

IMPHAL, Apr 13: Amid tight security measures, people in large number offered floral tribute to the departed souls of the proscribed People’s Liberation Army (PLA) at the Cheiraoching Martyrs Memorial Park.

Offering of floral tribute began from the early morning today and most of them comprised of family members, relatives and social activists.

The annual event is being organized by Families Committee for observation (FACEO) of April 13 to commemorate an incident on this day in 1982 wherein an encounter broke out between cadres of the armed group and security forces at Kodompokpi village in Imphal West district, resulting in the elimination of nine members of the outfit.

Floral tributes are being offered to the nine departed souls at the Cheiraoching site since 1990.

Even though a Single bench ruling of the Gauhati High Court, Imphal on April 6 allowed offering of floral tribute, security personnel deployed atop the hillock memorial site quizzed the people as to their relationship with the slain cadres and allowed them to proceed after recording details.

Moreover, people were allowed to make the offer from around 7 am inspite of their arrival at the spot along with several baskets of flower from the early hours.

Despite the Court ruling Imphal West district Magistrate imposed restrictions under 144 CrPC but nevertheless did not prohibit offering of floral tributes at the memorial site.

At two spots – one at the foothill and another at the actual memorial site – police personnel carried out verification of those who had come to make the offer.

The entire proceedings, particularly offering of floral tribute was video recorded by the home department personnel, who also allowed groups of four individuals to enter the memorial complex at a time with proceeding asked to be completed within 15 seconds. The intense security checking also covered flowers brought by the family members, whose personal belongings including bags were put through minute scanning.

With the police measures not going down well with the public there ensued a brief confrontation as the people moved to the first police barricade at a time. However, the situation was well controlled by the huge deployment of security force personnel.

Even as the police action was protested by the people, mediapersons were also barred from proceeding further beyond the first barricade put up at the foothill.

Only after the matter was put forth to higher ranking police officers present at the spot were the scribes allowed to reach the top with certain specification.

Apart from the homage paid to the departed souls of PLA leaders/cadres, floral tributes were also offered to the statues of Thangal General, Paona Brajabashi, Bir Tikendrajit and Hijam Irabot.

Well known social worker Thounaojam Iboyaima, who was among the people to pay homage to the departed souls, expressed that inconveniences caused to the people by the police inspite of the Court’s approval on the event tantamount to mockery of democratic principles.

Taking serious note of mediapersons initially prevented from covering the event, he reminded the home Department authorities that the media had been accorded status as the fourth estate of democracy.

Similar floral tributes were also paid at the Kodompokpi and Tekcham memorial sites.

Meanwhile, a FACEO release conveyed heartfelt gratitude to all concerned who participated in offering floral tributes as well as contributed their mite in the successful observation of the event.

On the other hand, family members/relatives of the slain PLA members who approached the Gauhati High Court to enable the people participate in the observance without any police harassment has deplored attempt by the security personnel to foil the observation.

In a statement issued today, the petitioners pointed out that the High Court approved the event taking into taking religious obligation and on humanitarian ground to facilitate the family members remember their near and dear ones.

Reacting strong to previous incidents of security personnel demolishing the memorial complex ahead of the event and harassing those who come to offer tribute to the martyred souls, the statement prevailed upon the Govt to ensure such unpleasant incident do recur in the future.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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