Plebiscite Call Echoes In All Nooks And Corner

Public meeting underway on plebiscite. Image Credit: Sangai Photo.

IMPHAL, Mar 1: A public meeting held at Yairipok Khoirom Laimang under Thoubal district today has endorsed a plebiscite to end the suffering of the people in the hands of armed persons for more than 50 years and to resolve the Manipur-India conflict.

Organized under the aegis of Khoirom Nupi Lup, Yairipok Khoirom Makha Leikai, the meeting adopted three resolutions.

The first resolution stated that plebiscite should be held to resolve the ongoing Manipur-India conflict. The second resolution stated that the public should launch a movement towards holding the plebiscite. The third resolution stated that the resolutions adopted should be forwarded to the United Nations Organization and other International human rights bodies.

Earlier, speaking as one of the resource persons in the meeting, secretary of United People’s Front (UPF) Oinam Bikramjit observed that Manipur was a sovereign State till the British came in 1891. After the British left, Manipur regained its sovereign status in 1947. Consequently, Manipur drafted its own Constitution and the administration started along with electing the representatives by the people. Unfortunately, the then king of Manipur Bodhachandra was forced to sign the merger agreement after being invited to Shillong.

With the foresight that the people of Manipur would one day  raise the demand and revolt for independence, the Indian Parliament passed the AFSPA, 1958 during the time of the then Prime Minister  Indira Gandhi. The Act has become a tool for suppressing the legitimate demand and movement of Manipuri people, he alleged.

From 1960 onwards, many people started talking openly against the merger of Manipur  and seed for armed movement for the liberation of Manipur was sown. United National Liberation Front was set up 1964, PREPAK in 1974, PLA in 1978, KCP in 1980 and KYKL in 1994. To suppress the activities of these armed outfits, which were subsequently declared as unlawful, Armed Forces Special Powers Act was imposed in whole of Manipur in 1980 under the assumption that armed movement in Manipur would be subdued with military might, Bikramjit said.

But today, the public have suffered enough in the ongoing conflict between these two entities, the non-State actors and State actors. Many people have lost their lives or maimed for life. The number of widows in Manipur has been on the rise while the modesty of many other women have been violated, Bikramjit lamented, while reminding the gathering that Irom Chanu Sharmila has been fasting for more than 10 years now demanding repeal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

He went on to observe that in order to resolve the existing Manipur-India conflict, UNLF had in 2005 made the proposal for holding plebiscite under the supervision of UNO so that the people of Manipur can decide their own fate.

Until and unless, the people of Manipur make  a collective effort towards resolving the existing conflict now, their future would be even more painful, he exhorted.

Vice president of National Identity Protection Committee (NIPCO) Sunil Karam noted that the Government of India has been offering peace talks within the framework of Indian Constitution to end the armed revolutionary movement. In such peace talks, there is no place for the people or any consideration over what the people want.

UNLF is not in favor of resolving the any issue without considering the aspiration of the people, he asserted.

The president of Thoubal District United Women’s Development Committee Kangjam Ongbi Thasana Devi, retired head mistress of Yairipok Khoirom Khongpal Girls LP School Konsam Juboti Devi, ex-Pradhan of Leirongthel Gram Panchayat W Naba, members of Khoirom Gram Panchayat Keisham Aiso and Thangjam Mohen attended the meeting as presidium members.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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