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UCM Observes The Great June Uprising Day

General public paying tributes at the Kekrupat Memorial Park where mortal remains of the 18 martyrs were laid to rest. Image Credit: Sangai Photo

IMPHAL, Jun 18: Thousands of people paid their homage to the 18 martyrs, who laid down their lives for the cause of safeguarding the territorial integrity of Manipur, on the occasion the 10th Great June Uprising Day observed under the aegis of United Committee Manipur (UCM) at Kekrupat Memorial complex here today.

It was on this day in 2001 that the people of Manipur came out on the streets to openly revolt against extension of the ceasefire ‘without territorial limit’ signed between the Naga rebel group NSCN (IM) and Government of India, to Manipur. The agitators went on the rampage burning down a number of Government buildings including the State Assembly and official residences of the MLAs. In all 18 people lost their lives in the revolt while many others sustained injuries in police action.

The mortal remains of the 18 people who lost their lives have been laid to rest at Kekrupat, where a memorial complex has been constructed. Since then, UCM has been observing June 18 every year as the Great June Uprising Day.

The 10th commemorative event of the Great June Uprising Day began from 5 am today along with rendering of Yakairol (invocation) and offering of general salute by Thang-Ta artistes.

Afterward, UCM president Y Dilipkumar and family members of the martyrs led the people in paying floral tributes to the martyrs at the memorial complex.

As part of the observance, a public meeting was also organized during which many eminent personalities cautioned the people against the divisive forces from outside which are still hell bent on trying to disintegrate Manipur and instigate enmity among the various communities settling in the State since time immemorial.

Delivering the key note address of the meeting, general secretary of UCM and convener of the Observation Committee W Second said though the Bangkok Declaration of the Govt of India and NSCN (IM) to extend the ceasefire ‘without territorial limit’ to Manipur may be the immediate cause of the June Uprising, people of Manipur have been struggling all along against the divide and rule policy of the Government of India since the forcible merger of Manipur with India on October 15, 1949.

Maintaining that there has been no let up to the attempts of the divisive forces to disintegrate Manipur, W Second said that when general secretary of NSCN (IM) Thuingaleng Muivah made a futile attempt to enter Manipur on May 6, 2010, United Naga Council (UNC) was used to drive wedge among the people. Launching of the Manipur unit of the Naga People’s Front at Senapati district recently has also demonstrated that the divisive forces are still at play. In such a critical situation, the Government of Manipur should take a tough stand and resolve all the issues in time to secure the future of Manipur. In this regard, there is also an urgent need on the part of the people of Manipur to elect their representatives judiciously, W Second said.

Among those who addressed the meeting, president of UCM Yumnamcha Dilipkumar asserted that UCM would continue to work for protecting the territorial integrity of Manipur and promote peace and understanding among the people. So, UCM would never agree to the proposal of tripartite talks involving Government of India, Manipur and UNC over the latter’s demand for an ‘alternative arrangement’. The Government of Manipur should not participate in such talks. After all, it is an agenda of NSCN (IM) which is to be discussed in the proposed talks at Senapati. If such talks are to be held, then it should be held at Hebron.

Dilipkumar further observed that the Government of Manipur should be firm on its stand with regard to territorial integrity of Manipur instead of extending invitation to forces which are out there to disintegrate Manipur at any cost.

The Government of India also needs to be sincere in dealing with the present political conflict with Manipur. A political issue should be resolved only through a political process and no fake surrender drama or arrest of innocent people would ever be able to solve the problem, Dilipkumar added.

He also stressed on the need for reintroducing Inner Line Permit system and proper development of the National Highways passing through Manipur to secure the future of Manipur.

Former advisor of UCM RK Ranendrajit said that the people of Manipur should question themselves what kind of life they have been leading after the merger of Manipur with India and how many innocent people have lost their lives during the last 62 years of India’s democracy. People should also understand why the armed movement has come about in Manipur, he said, adding that today the forces behind those creating enmity among the ethnic communities of Manipur is known to all.

With election round the corner, the public should not be carried away in the glib talks of the politicians. But question ourselves how long should we remain enslaved, Ranendrajit exhorted.

Former president of UCM K Lanngamba observed that the Government of India has entered into a never ending peace talks with the NSCN (IM) and no one knows when it would be over. But it has succeeded in aggravating the relationship between Nagaland and Manipur. So, the Government of India should be held responsible in the event of any communal tension in the region. Central leaders should also stop meddling in the affairs of Manipur and Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio should first try to clean the rot within Nagaland instead of throwing his weight around over the issue of territorial integrity of Manipur, Lanngamba said.

HERICOUN president Rehang Chothe contended that efforts to bring in the influence of a political party based in Nagaland like Naga People’s Front in Manipur is an indication that peace talks of NSCN (IM) has failed. So, the day would not be far when a similar uprising like that of June 18 erupts in the hill areas of Manipur.

He also proposed that an Ethnic Council should set up to promote relationship between the hills and the valley people.

The president of Kuki Women’s Organization, Manipur Rose Mangshi Haokip said that the departed souls of the 18 martyrs would be surely calling for peace and harmony between the hills and the valley people of Manipur and everyone should strive towards this goal.

Founder president of UCM Sapamcha Jadumani also spoke at the meeting held with former UCM advisor H Ibotombi Khuman, president of Kharam Tribe Union ST Nisunkung, president of Kabui Mothers’ Association Kakomlunglu Kamei, president of AMKIL Ph Shakhi Leima, president of CHITUWA P Momon, president of BNCC Haokhothang Baite, president of Manipuri Sahitya Parishad (Assam) Laitongjam Nilamani Singh and retired principal of GC College, Silchar O Churamani as presidium members.

A blood donation camp was also organized at Kekrupat today as part of the 10th Great June Uprising Day observance.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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