Plebiscite Drive Continues Unabated

IMPHAL, Apr 7: While the security forces have been arresting, killing and torturing innocent people all in the name of counter insurgency operations in Manipur, the armed insurgents are also killing and torturing the people in the name of fighting for the cause of liberation of Manipur, general secretary of United People’s Front (UPF) O Bikramjit has stated.

Participating in a discussion session on ‘Manipur- India conflict and participation of the people in resolving the conflict’ organized by Khwairamband Ima Keithel Apunba Lup at Manipur Press Club today, Bikramjit said that the people have suffered beyond limits in the conflict between Manipur and India  for over 50 years now.

While the security forces deployed in Manipur to protect the life and properties of the people have been subjecting the innocent people to arrest, killing and torture, all in the name of countering insurgency movement, the armed insurgents, who are supposedly fighting for the cause of the people, are also subjecting the same people to torture and killing. The people have suffered enough and today they want resolution of the conflict. Because, until the resolution of this conflict, innocent people in Manipur will continue to suffer, Bikramjit said.

If no efforts are made towards resolving the conflict, the day would not be far when the people start a ‘Wakok Lan’, he added.

Bikramjit went on to say that the root cause of the present conflict is the ‘forceful annexation’ of Manipur by India. To resolve this conflict, the UNLF in 2005 came up with the proposal of holding plebiscite along with public participation. But the Government of India has not given any response to the proposal.

There are four main points in the proposal of UNLF. Firstly, plebiscite is a universally accepted voting system for the people to decide their own future. Secondly, plebiscite should be conducted under the supervision of United Nations Organization (UNO) and Peace Keeping Forces of the UNO should be deployed to facilitate plebiscite. Thirdly, Indian security forces being deployed in Manipur should be withdrawn and the armed insurgents in Manipur should deposit their arms in the custody of UNO.

Lastly, public mandate in the plebiscite should be the only means for resolution of the conflict, Bikramjit said, adding that the proposal of UNLF is very democratic.

Vice present of National Identity Protection Committee (NIPCO) Sunil Karam, who also spoke at the discussion session, categorically stated that only desire of the Government of India to keep Manipur as a part of India is not development of the land and its people but to keep it as a buffer war zone against external aggression.

On the nature of the conflict, Sunil observed that the Government of India has been constantly harping upon the need for unconditional peace talks with the insurgent groups to end the issue. But the insurgent groups have rejected the idea of unconditional talks and insisted that the Government of India should recognize the fact that Manipur has been annexed by India and the Army being deployed should be withdrawn from Manipur.

He asserted that the insurgents who have taken up arms in Manipur are not misguided youths. From the incidents of June 18, 2002, Manorama case of 2004 and the nude protest by women in front of Kangla, the Government of India has known that the youths in Manipur have taken up arms not because they do not get food to eat and cloths to wear. It was on this account that the then Governor in Manipur SS Sidhu used the phrase ‘disgruntled youths‘ instead of ‘misguided youths’ in this public address on January 26, 2005. Accordingly, UNLF has placed for proposal for plebiscite.

The discussion session was held with president of Manipur Keithel Nupi Marup Yambem Ongbi Ibeni as chief guest and advisor of Khwairamband Nupi Keithel Semgat Sagatpa Marup Mutum Ongbi Ibemhal as functional president. The president of Apunba Manipur Kanba Ima Lup (AMKIL) Phanjoubam Ongbi Sakhi, general secretary of All Manipur Women Social Reformation and Development Samaj Thokchom Ongbi Ramani and president of All Manipur Chingmi-Tammi Apunba Nupi Lup Soibam Ongbi Momon Leima were also present at the occasion as guests of honor.

At the end of the discussion session, three resolutions have been adopted unanimously. The resolutions endorsed participation of the people in the resolution of Manipur-India conflict, holding plebiscite as the only means to resolve the conflict and seeking the co-operation of UNO and other International human rights bodies in this regard.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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