IMPHAL, Dec 19: Taking serious note of the tense situation prevailing in the State and violent incidents that erupted at different places in the course of the almost 50 days old UNC sponsored economic blockade and against it, several civil society organisations have joined together and convened a meeting of all communities at Khwairamband Keithel at 11 am of December 21.
Altogether 15 CSOs held a joint meeting today and arrived at a decision to this effect.
The CSOs also agreed to launch a mission collectively with the primary objective of restoring normalcy and communal harmony in Manipur and the mission has been christened ‘Goodwill Mission for Peaceful Co-existence’.
CIRCA’s principal functionary Ningthouja Lancha has been appointed convenor of the goodwill mission.
Representatives of Tangkhul People’s Organisation, Naga People’s Union, Zeliangrong Union, Ten Union Social Upliftment Khurai, HERICOUN, LIPUN, Khwairamband Keithel women vendors, Komrem Union, ICHAM, CIRCA, Manipur Muslim Welfare Organisation, Malem Kanba Lup, Nagaram Women Society, KIMACS and Manipur Muslim Online Forum held a meeting at Nagaram community hall today.
The meeting deliberated on the violent protest agitation seen at Khurai along Imphal-Ukhrul road yesterday. Many of the speakers opined that the violence seen yesterday was largely due to lack coordination among security forces.
Even as CIRCA and ICHAM tried their best to mollify the frenzied crowd gathered at Khurai Lamlong Keithel, the large number of vehicles stranded there were led by a single escort vehicle with the promise of giving full escort.
As soon as the stranded vehicles started moving, security forces began firing tear gas shells and mock bombs in their efforts to drive away bandh supporters gathered along the road.
This only enraged the crowd which ultimately resulted in torching a number of vehicles, Ningthouja Lancha said while briefing media persons after the meeting.
Before the vehicles started moving, Deputy Speaker Preshow Shimray, MLA Victor Keishing, DIG IK Muivah and Imphal West Additional SP S Ibomcha arrived at the spot.
Ningthouja Lancha asked as to why the small number of security forces tried to escort those large number of stranded vehicles.
The 15 CSOs gathered today agreed to launch a Goodwill Mission for Peaceful Co-existence in order to restore normalcy in the State.
As a first step of the mission, a joint meeting of clubs and Meira Paibi groups located between Lamlong and Yaingangpokpi would be held tomorrow.
The meeting also agreed to struggle collectively against all oppressive measures unleashed by the Government of India and the State Government.
All efforts would be made to get the UNC’s economic blockade as well as the counter economic blockade being imposed in the valley lifted, Lancha said.
The mission would also highlight the shared history of the hill people and plain people which was marked by peaceful co-existence.
While strongly condemning the Lamlong violence of December 18, Lancha invited all communities of the State to the meeting scheduled on December 21.
He also appealed to the media houses to report sensitive news items judiciously so as not to escalate the tensed situation.
Saying that attacking religious places was abominable in the contemporary age, Lancha appealed to all sections of people not to ever attack any religious place.
Co-convenor (of the mission) and ZU president Amu Kamei said that CSOs are not the Government but they can definitely point out the State Government’s lapses, highlight people’s grievances as well as aspirations.
The Nagaram Women Society president appealed to all concerned to relax the purported prohibitions imposed upon Churches of Imphal in view of the Christmas festival.
Irom Sharmila who was also present at the press meet said that violence can never resolve any issue.
She also appealed to all concerned to explore non-violent options in order to resolve all outstanding issues.
Source: The Sangai Express