IMPHAL, Aug 27: The 45th Hunger Marchers’ Day (Chaklam Khongchat) was held today organized by the All Manipur Students Union (AMSU) with the main function taking place at the THAU ground in Imphal.
As part of the observation a flag hoisting ceremony by the president of the AMSU, Jamesbond Mangang, a mass floral tribute at Pishum Hill at Singjamei to the portraits of the four persons who lost their lives in the march in 1965, and mass rally beginning from Pishum Hill and ending at THAU ground were held today. Two minutes silence was also observed at the Pishum Hill as a mark of respect to the departed protesters.
Participants in the mass rally carried the portraits of the three student protesters and a driver who were killed while protesting against the unavailability of food grains in the state in 1965, and also carried placards with slogans like ‘Long live AMSU’, ‘Don’t create artificial scarcity of rice’, ‘Government should fix the price of essential commodities’ etc.
The rally today culminated with a public meeting at the THAU ground.
The function was graced by G Joykumar Sharma, the former secretary general of the AMSU as the chief guest, president of the AMSU I Jamesbond Mangang as the president, and former president of the AMSU RK Itocha, former president of the AMSU L Dilip and former secretary general of the AMSU Ng Devendro as the guests of honor.
Delivering his speech, the chief guest G Joykumar said that the situation had changed drastically in the state since 1965 and it is very necessary for all the people whether they belonged to the government or the underground groups to know how and why this change has taken place. The nationalistic spirit was very much alive around the time the Hunger Marchers’ protest took place but due to the government’s involvement in the food grain fiasco the popularity of nationalism had gone on the backfoot, he added.
Groupism which is widely seen today in the state has made life difficult in the state, as also the various divisions which had been caused in the underground groups which had lost the initial clarity of purpose which they had, Joykumar observed adding that underground groups should reorganize the smaller parties which had proliferated in the state. The historical, political and regional changes which had come about in the state were matter for deliberation, he said.
Joykumar also mentioned that the bandhs, blockades, meetings and resolutions would not have the desired effect unless the people of the hills and the valley came together to settle the outstanding issues. The government should search deeper to find solutions to these problems, he said.
The AMSU president Jamesbond stated in his speech that it was imperative for the present generation of students to know the significance of the Hunger Marchers’ Day.
A blood donation camp was also held as a part of the day at the AMSU headquarters in Imphal. Altogether 29 persons donated blood at the camp in the presence of doctors from the RIMS.