IMPHAL, Oct 2: A mass rally against bandh/blockade was taken out today here under the aegis of Progressive Manipur (PM). Officially Progressive Manipur has said that the rally was held to stress the need to find other means of protest rather than resort to bandh/ blockade. The rally was flagged off from THAU Ground, Thangmeiband and wound up at the same point after passing through Khoyathong, Nagamapal and Wahengbam Leikai. A public meeting was held at the starting point before the rally was flagged off. Addressing the public meeting, Khwairamband Nupi Keithel Shinpham Amadi Saktam Kanba Lup secretary Shanti said such a mass rally against bandh/ blockade was quite overdue in the State.
The State Government has a habit of not attending to public grievances and demands until bandhs and blockades are imposed, she rued. DESAM president Angamba Meitei lamented that the incidence of bandhs and blockades has been rising every year even though people know their negative impacts. There is a notion that any public agitation is not complete without bandh or blockade or both.
People need to raise their voice against bandhs called by civil society organisations or militant groups if they are not reasonable, he said. Babloo Loitongbam of Human Rights Alert said that a democratic State must have a proper place where people can voice their grievances and aspirations. Just as there is Jantar Mantar at Delhi, there should be a similar place in the State too. At one time, Mapal Kangjeibung used to be one such place where people gathered to voice their grievances and aspirations but these days the ground has been fenced by the Government. The Manipur Human Rights Commission which used to look after the grievances of citizens is no longer active. The Manipur State Commission of Women is also not fully functional due to lack of fund. Even though people feel that their grievances and aspirations can be put across by imposing bandhs, those at the helm of powers are not bothered by bandhs. It is the daily wage earners who are the worst affected when there is any bandh or blockade, Babloo said.