STOP WAR: Initiate Political Dialogue

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[box color=”red”]Statement by Malem Ningthouja, Campaign for Peace & Democracy (Manipur)[/box]

12 October 2011

On the occasion of the

NORTH EAST INDIA WOMEN INITIATIVE FOR PEACE

Working together for a Vision for Peace in NorthEast India

Peace Conference & Livelihood Training

Organized by

Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network and Control Arms Foundation of India

Date: Wednesday & Thursday, 12th &13th October 2011

Time: 9.30 am – 5 pm on both days

Venue: Conference Hall no.2, India International Centre, 40, Max Mueller Marg,

New Delhi – 110003

Certain burning issues pertaining to Manipur

  • Failed governance & decadent administration

  • Militarisation in all spheres of society and the Armed conflict

  • Ethnic / communal unrest at the cost of lives and economic growth

  • Economic dependence and developmental challenges

  • People’s response against displacement and for economic rights

  • Repression on civil liberty activists and human rights violations

  • Growing number of victims of armed conflict

  • Growing number of poor

* All the above issues are interplaying, and cannot be dealt in isolation from one another. Comprehensive and all round approach is required to create development, peace, and democracy.

Suggestions that may be placed To THE GOVERNMENT

In order to achieve Development, Peace and Democracy, which are the basic concerns of the people, the Government of India had to come up with concrete position to solve the North East issues.

On political question the Government of India has the responsibility to;

  • Recognise multi-national composition of India. Accordingly recognise insurgency in the Northeast as political issue founded on the basis of economic and cultural interest. These issues must not be dealt as law & order problem.

  • Repeal AFSPA and other repressive Acts such as NSA, UAPA, and Seditious Act. These Acts that symbolise war instruments must be replaced with the provisions of political dialogue and democracy.

  • Create conducive atmosphere for cessation of hostilities / armed conflict in order to reduce the cost of war and casualty on the civilians.

  • Take up initiatives towards resolving insurgency through sincere and consistent political dialogue process.

  • Encourage in constituting commonly respectable interlocutors that may harness the task of initiating dialogue process.

  • Come up with formal invitation to the banned organisation for the dialogue.

On insurgency CPDM would suggest that;

  • Insurgency is deep rooted in the society. The annihilation / elimination programme to deal with armed insurgents in order to defend the interest of the State have become perverted, created war hysteria and heavy casualty on the civilians. The war must come to an end.

  • While there are reported rehabilitation programme for the surrendered insurgents, there is need to declare general amnesty to those who want to retire from the banned organisations and those who have severed link with the banned organisations. Ensure them peaceful livelihood without fear of being harassed by the State armed personnel.

  • There is need to confer the status of political prisoners to those who have been jailed for their political ideology and activity. There is need to treat them with dignity and respect. Harassment and torture inside the jails should be zeroed.

  • There is need to convert jails into reformation homes where the prisoners would feel sense of homeliness and concentrate on progressive works. Adequate number of vocational training centres and production units must be created in the jails to train and employ the prisoners, so that they become productive force and have the opportunity to earn for income.

  • Mothers and child(dren), husband and wife should not be separated. There is need to develop family cells / compartments inside the jails so that prisoners may live with their families. Let them live as human beings, and rehabilitate themselves through working and earning.

On development we would like to defend our position that;

  • The crisis of Indian capitalist path of development has shown immense counterproductive exploitative, impoverishment, unrest, agitations, and suppressive tendencies. There is need to innovate new model of economy in order to effectively deal with the basic issues of deindustrialisation, food crisis, price rise, unemployment, dependent on monopoly capital, poverty, displacement, and unrest.

  • Development initiatives should be pro-people. There should be no displacement of population and destruction of ecological and environmental balance in the name of corporatisation / privatisation and capitalist investment.

  • Capitalist projects should not be arbitrarily imposed through misinformation and suppressive machinery. Any project must strictly adhere to the norm of Free Informed and Prior Consent of the people to be benefitted / affected by the project.

  • To solve the present juncture of insufficiency and price rise of food supply there should be heavy concentration on State investment in the primary production sector particularly in the agriculture, horticulture, and agro based industries in order to make the economy sufficient enough to feed the population without being dependent on imports. Adequate number of State owned agricultural farms that would employ regular labour/ employees need to be developed.

  • Adequate number of cold storage facilities, water supply and machineries for agricultural productions, motorable metallic roads, and high frequency transport facilities at subsidised fare rate for the urban and rural poor should be developed.

  • Effective mechanisms should be developed to check and control economic blockade, artificial famine and price rise which have adverse impact on the people particularly those who are poor.

  • The economic livelihood concerns of the peasants, wage labour, workers, and widows should be considered and appropriate action should be taken up for their economic welfare.

On ‘Indigenous peoples’ we would like to appeal that;

  • Indigenous peoples have their respective notion of sovereignty and identity consciousness that cannot be denied and sidetracked. Their right to self determination must be recognised while at the same time working towards unity of the communities on the basis of the principle of voluntary unionism.

  • Indigenous peoples’ right over collective land, ancestral heritage, and socio ecological environment had to be protected with due recognition to the objective conditions in relation to the co-existing communities.

  • There is need to promote indigenous peoples’ history, language, script, and their cultural elements and identity markers.

On civil liberties and human rights we would like to defend the position that;

  • Civil liberty movements are eye openers to the intended democratic functioning of the State. Civil liberty movement could identify the weak spots if not deficiencies of governance. A democratic State need to put an end to targeting of civil liberties activists for their ideology and activity.

  • There can be long lasting peace only through consent. There is need to promote free expression of political ideas and constructive debates.

  • There is need to respect human rights. Internationally recognised human rights standards need to be practically upheld.

On Governance

  • Bureaucratic capitalism has benefitted the elites and their agents at the cost of the weaker sections of the society. The administration had to be made into more responsible and accountable to the people.

  • Corruption, bribery, favouritism, commission seeking, slow moving of files, etc in the administration, recruitment of jobs, channelizing / releasing of public fund, etc., should be checked and stopped immediately.

Possibility of constituting civil society dialogue group

Towards Dialogue process;

  • There is need to constitute a powerful civil society Dialogue Group in order to approach both the Government of India and warring parties; to recognise the people’s demand for development, peace and unity, to reduce the armed conflict, and to initiate towards peace through a dialogue process.

  • The Dialogue Group must have the credibility of being non-partisan, non-sectarian and have widespread and consistent public support. To achieve it several consultative programmes had to be organised among the civil societies cutting across community, regional, and political background.

  • One of the components of the consultative programme should be organising people to people interactions at various levels in order to break away from the decadent isolationistic perceptions based on community and region, and to trace out common agenda towards development, peace and democracy.

Stop War

Initiate Political Dialogue

We want peace

Long live democracy

**

[box]The above article was sent to Kanglaonline.com  by Malem Ningthouja , He can be reached at mningthouja[at]yahoo[dot]com[/box]

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