6th schedule demand communal in nature, says UCM president Johnson.
The observance was marked by offering of floral tributes to the 18 martyrs by thousands of people belonging to different ethnic communities. It may be recalled here, after remaining in shimmering tension for a couple of days, on June 18, 2001, thousands of people came out of their home voluntarily to launch protest against inclusion of the controversial clause ‘without territorial limit’ in the Bangkok Declaration that was signed by the Government of India and the NSCN-IM four days earlier.
The agitated people went on a rampage destroying and setting on fire public properties including the then Manipur Legislative Assembly building, offices of political parties and several quarters of Ministers and MLAs. In an attempt to control the public outrage, security forces resorted to firing, in which 13 protesters were killed while many others sustained bullet injuries. Another five protesters also either succumbed to the injuries or lost their lives in subsequent agitations.
After the Government of India was forced to delete the controversial clause from the Bangkok Declaration, the mortal remains of all the 18 martyrs were finally laid to rest at Kekrupat. Speaking at the observance func-tion, UCM president Johnson Elangbam, who is also the vice president of the observation committee, contended that information sought under RTI in connection with the framework agreement signed between the Centre and the NSCN-IM has been declined on security ground as the Central Information Commission was of the opinion that disclosure of contents of the agreement would hinder the law and order in certain areas.
However, considering the manner in which the information sought has been declined even though Prime Minister Narendra Modi had assured in a public meeting that there will be no compromise on the territorial integrity of Manipur, has pointed to the possibility of compromising the territorial integrity of the state in trying to find a solution between government of India and NSCN-IM.
Johnson further said that the issue of 6th Schedule which has come up of late and which is not connected with the ongoing peace talk between government of India and NSCN-IM, is a demand that is communal in nature. The issue has been brought up by a hill based organisation probably with the motive of disintegrating the people of the hills and the valley. What is more unfortunate is the manner in which the political leaders of the state are remaining silent under such condition. It is time for the political leaders and the state government to come up with a specific decision in this regard, he added.
The UCM president, while pointing out that people of Nagaland have demanded that other organisations of Nagaland be made party in the ongoing Indo-NSCN (IM) peace talk, said that the commemorative event held on Sunday should not be confined only in remembering the mass movement of June 2001 but also to agree upon a joint effort to prevent such incidents from happening in future. He maintained that any development programmes taken up in the hills without a common understanding will ultimately fail.
Johnson also conveyed appreciation to the state government for proposing inclusion of a representative of Manipur government in the joint survey team to demarcate Indo-Myanmar boundary. Asserting that the attempt of government of India to divide the state on ethnic ground would prove futile, he reiterated said that territorial integrity of Manipur should not be compromised under any circumstances.
Observation Committee chairperson and AMUCO president Devan Sharma said that the government of India has been pursuing the policy of ethnic divide among the people of the state since a long time with the latest being signing of the controversial framework agreement with NSCNIM in such a hush-hush manner. This issue could inflame the state and Government of India should understand that it could lead to another June 18 like incident, for which the people of Manipur are already prepared.
The commemorative event was also attended by AMUCO advisor Dr Dhanabir Laishram, UCM consultative committee members RK Ranendrajit, H Ibotombi Khuman, Poirei leimarol Meira Paibi Apunba Lup president L Memchoubi, Kangla Mei president Y Leirik Leima, AMKIL president Ph Shakhi, Zeliangrong union (Assam, Nagaland, Manipur) president Chandra Haomei, Kuki Inpi Manipur president Prof Khamlienkhup, Aimol Tribe Union Manipur president RT Akhelk Aimol, Komrem Union Manipur president Amang Serto, Committee on Culture for Peace and Integrity (Assam) chairman Saikhom Kamalkanta, Lilong Haoreibi College Associate Prof Dr Md Riyajuddin Khan, Keithel Lairembi Lup (Hojai) secretary Moirangthem Shantibabu and Manipur Sahitya Parishad Hojai district (Assam) secretary Th Mangibabu as presidium members.
Meanwhile, The 16th Great June Uprising and Unity Day was commemorated on Sunday at the sacred memorial site of Kekrupat here to honour those brave martyrs who laid down their lives for the cause of preserving and protecting the territorial integrity of Manipur. The commemoration organised by the observation committee of United Committee Manipur (UCM) and All Manipur United Clubs Organistaion( AMUCO) began since early morning with singing of Yakairol song. Family members of the martyrs and the general public offered floral tributes to the memorial site amid recitation of hymns of various religions.
Manipur Legislative Assembly speaker Y Khemchand, CAF&PD minister Karam Shyam, Education minister Th Radheshyam, Manipur Planning Board’s vice-chairman Rajen, Kumbi MLA Bira, former deputy chief minister Gaikhangam offered floral tributes to the martyrs. Parliamentary secretaries (Home) L Sushindro, (Education) K Robindro, (RD&PR) H Dingo and (MOBC) Ashab Uddin were also present while paying floral tributes to the martyrs.
On the other hand, all shops in and around Imphal including the bustling Ema Keithel remained closed for the day as the observation committee of the two frontal organisations urged people of all communities to cease work for the day and took part in the commemoration. The number of passenger and government vehicles plying on the road were also relatively less. All roads of Imphal wore a deserted look.
Source: The People’s Chronicle