IMPHAL, October 29: The Sadar Hills Districthood Demand Committee (SHDDC) has call a 48 hour general strike in all the Hill districts of Manipur from midnight of October 31 till November 2 and an indefinite total bandh in Sadar Hills area with effect from midnight of October 31, in protest against the delay of the government to fulfill the demand of inaugurating Sadar Hills into a full fledged district, according to a statement of the committee.
The statement has further informed that while denouncing the firing incident involving works minister and his entourage during the evening of October 29, the SHDDC has declared that starting November 1, the committee will bar any minister, MLA or state government officials to enter or pass through Sadar Hills.
The committee has further declared to mark the day as ‘Anti-People’s Day’ in the history of Sadar Hills, it added.
Meanwhile decrying the incident, a sit in protest was staged at Kangpokpi and Bongmol area yesterday where in the protestors bear placards and banners saying “We will set more blood for Sadar Hills”, “We condemned the brutal act of the commandos”, “Bullet is not the solution”, “No district no rest” etc.
A representative of the Sadar Hills Women Union, Nemvah Misao, while condemning the firing incident has refuted the allegation made against the protestors of firing at the minister vehicles as baseless and unfounded. “Where can we women get guns from” she said.
Tracy Kipgen, another woman representative of Sapermeina, said “The allegation made by minister K. Ranjit, is a set up to justify his atrocities meted out against the protestors”.
She asserted that the firing incidents tantamount to betraying the people of Sadar Hills.
Tracy further alleged that the commando personnel also looted vegetables worth around Rs seven thousand belonging to vegetable vendors and stored at Sapermeina bazaar.
A consultative meeting of SHDDC and village chiefs along with some Sadar Hills civil organisations at Kangpokpi mini-secretariat Hall was also held today to discuss further course of action.
In the press statement, the SHDDC has also strongly condemned the incident terming it as barbaric and an illogical act on the part of the minister for his unrestrained reign of terror upon the peaceful women and bandh supporters.
It further claimed that the minister was halted by women bandh supporters at Kangpokpi only to air their 40-years old grievance regarding the demand for inauguration of Sadar Hills as a full-fledged Autonomous District as per the ‘Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Council Act, 1971.
However, the minister flatly declined the request, alleged the SHDDC. He refused to alight from his official vehicle, it further asserted.
The committee termed the attitude of K. Ranjit as unbecoming of a political leader who had vowed to serve the people of the state.
It has further branded him as the only political leader in the state who is anti-tribal and who has been speaking against the tribal of the State that he dared not confront a few womenfolk in a calm and peaceful manner.
Instead of choosing to listen to the agitators, K. Ranjit Singh call in the service of more than 200 Manipur commandos in more than 45 gypsies besides his entourages and security escort ‘to rescue’ him, ‘needing rescue in his own State’. Instead of appeasing the women agitators, he clandestinely created a chaotic atmosphere in Sadar Hills, it further alleged.
It further alleged that the police commandos fired more than 200 rounds of tear gas, about 600 rounds of direct firing against peaceful and democratic women agitators from Gamgiphai to Kangpokpi along National Highway 2.
It claimed that the indiscriminate firing has left 8 women agitators – 2 at Sapermeina and another 7 women at Keithemanbi. The 2 injured women of Sapermeina identified as one Lhingneithem Misao, 45, s/o Tangpao and Vahjalam Kipgen, 75, w/o Hemseh Kipgen, were reportedly hospitalised in serious condition at Shija Hospital.
Lhingneithem was shot at her right thigh while she was inside her Pharmacy at Sapermeina bazaar while Vahjalam was shot while she was sleeping inside her room.
The SHDDC further said that stones and pebbles are sufficient tools for us if wanted. K. Ranjit Singh’s allegation that his vehicle was attacked with bullets needs thorough investigation, it asserted.
It charges that the countless number of bullets fired by the ministers’ own elite force in an unprofessional manner must have hit his vehicle.
The release has further claimed that around fifteen commando personnel were seriously injured and more than 20 vehicles were badly damaged.