Around 600 women from different parts of Sadar Hills congregated in front of 35 AR Hengbung post at around 7.30 pm yesterday started protesting while demanding the unconditional release of the four PSOs of KNF President, ST. Thangboi, who is also the chairman of United Peoples’ Front, one of the two conglomerate bodies of Kuki UGs.
It may be recalled that the two conglomerates of the Kuki UGs, the United Peoples’ Front (UPF) and Kuki National Organization (KNO) on June 15, 2016 held the first round of tripartite political talks with the State and Central Government at Ashoka Hotel, New Delhi.
The women agitators armed with sticks collectively raised the slogan, “Release our boys, nothing more nothing less” while engaging in small confrontation with the security personnel sporadically during the protest which lasted for more than 7 hours without any untoward incident.
However, a few minutes of retaliation from the Assam Rifles personnel injured scores of women and more than 47 women had to be hospitalized at different hospitals at Kangpokpi and Imphal.
The 35 Assam Rifles personnel including the post commander, Maj Gulati retaliated swiftly and strongly when someone from amidst the women protestors threw a burning object inside the AR camp.
Most of the women protestors sustained head injuries, hand and leg fracture with bruise marks on their bodies.
The injured 47 women protestors were immediately evacuated to Community Health Centre, Kangpokpi while 4 women were referred to Imphal and another 3 women were referred to KCH, Kangpokpi and Imphal.
Meanwhile, Kuki Inpi Sadar Hills and Kuki CSOs Sadar Hills condemned the excesses of the 35 Assam Rifles Hengbung personnel.
The apex traditional bodies of the Kukis and various other Kuki civil bodies of Sadar Hills in a joint press communiqué said that the ‘atrocities and brutality’ of the Assam Rifles personnel was nerve-racking and shocked everyone.
It also said that top brass officials of UPF/KNF were attending a meeting related with the tripartite political dialogue when the AR personnel led by Maj Gulati apprehended the four PSOs of the KNF president which irritated the Kuki people.
It further said that the “Tripartite Political Dialogue” which began on June 15 at the National capital between UPF/KNO and the Governments since the signing of tripartite SoO in 2008 is a landmark and significant for the Kuki community and it was well regarded by the Governments as well.
“Insulting any signatory or party of the tripartite political talks of the Kukis is an insult to the Kuki Nation”, lamented the Kuki bodies before adding that the Kuki political dialogue is not something a graduate grade Major rank officer in the Indian army should undervalue.
It also said that when tripartite SoO agreement was signed it was clearly indicated in the ground rules that operation on the part of both parties shall cease while adding that an Indian army officer who is not well aware of the ground rules is not capable to be posted in a place where Suspension of Operation is in force.
The Kukis bodies also wondered how a simple Major rank officer attempted to play divide and rule policy among the Kuki community and warned not to repeat such a strategy in future.
The brutality of the 35 AR personnel under the incompetent command of Maj Gulati towards the womenfolk who were simply armed with small sticks out of irritation over his unlawful attitude to suppress the Constitutional rights of the Kukis obviously indicated his insolence towards women, it added.
Strongly condemning the atrocities meted out to more than hundred peaceful agitators and using abusive language while attacking the frail women, the Kuki bodies said that such unrespectable and mannerless Indian army officer is a shame to the whole Indian army.
While condemning the attitude of the 35 AR Hengbung post commander, the Kuki bodies urged the higher authority to take punitive action against Maj Gulati at the earliest.
In the meantime, Kuki Women Union, Sadar Hills in particular vehemently condemned the brutality and atrocities meted out to the womenfolk while demanding that the culprits be booked and penalised at the earliest.
Considering the Kuki political talks and when four PSOs of KNF president were arrested by the 35 Assam Rifles led by Maj Gulati, hundreds of Sadar Hills women approached the 35 AR Hengbung post and held a peaceful protest, it said.
However, the 35 AR personnel victimized more than a hundred women while 47 critically wounded women were admitted at CHC, Kangpokpi and KCH, Kangpokpi, 7 grievously wounded women were referred to Imphal, the women union said and added that this underlines the inhumane act of the Assam Rifles.
Showing discontentment over the alleged brutality of the 35 AR personnel, the Kuki bodies imposed a flash highway bandh from 8 this morning till 5 this evening along Imphal-Dimapur road.
All business establishments, educational institutions, Govt offices were closed for the day while traffic flow along the highway was also halted. The Kuki bodies also warned that if the culprits involved in victimizing hundreds of Sadar Hills women are not penalised as demanded, they will be compelled to launch more vigorous form of agitation in the near future.