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Manipur witnesses 30 agitations in past four months

Posted by Admin on August 10, 2009

Torch rally being taken out at Ichum Keirap against the BT road firing incident of July 2

Torch rally being taken out at Ichum Keirap against the BT road firing incident of July 2

ALMOST EVERY day in the past 140 days ie since January 1 this year till date, the people of Manipur have been witnessing some form of agitations, protests, bandhs or strikes, which has led to complete havoc in their lives.

Out of a total of 30 different forms of protests or agitations, 19 were bandhs or general strikes (state-wide and district-wide), which affected normal life for 20 days during the period from January 1 to April 30. These statistics do not include the currently ongoing agitations like the protest by the volunteers and supporters of Manipur Forward Youth Front (MAFYF) against the arrest of its president Sapamcha Kangleipal and his detention under National Security Act (NSA). Protests against the shooting and injuring of a student of Manipur University (MU) in Imphal, against the killing of a person at Ningthoukhong in Bishnupur district by troops of the 15 Jammu and Kashmir light infantry last weekend are also currently on.

Even today, police is busy dispersing protestors, who stormed the Chief Minister’s bungalow demanding justice in the shooting at the MU student, Ranjit, by a personnel of the Manipur Rifles during frisking and checking last weekend, while a local JAC formed in connection with the killing of one Shyamjai hailing from Moirang in Bishnupur district imposed bandh along the Imphal-Churachandpur section of national highway (NH) -150 (Tiddim road). Passenger service operators of all kinds, including auto-rickshaw service operators and inter state bus services, had on many occasions suspended their services, which disturbed the normal movement of people repeatedly. Apart from this, many state as well district level student bodies also launched various kinds of agitations like the closure of government offices and imposition of economic blockades on the highways.

One such economic blockade imposed by the All Manipur Tribal Students Organisation (ATSUM), which extended over 15 days concluded only on May 17. In January, three bandhs were witnessed in Manipur. The Kuki students organisation opened the account of the bandhs with the imposition of a 12-hour (5am to 5pm) Manipur bandh on January 11. The bandh was called in connection with their demand for exercise of the delimitation works in the state at the earliest. Another 12-hour NH-150 (Tiddim) bandh called by Loktak development authority master roll employees came up on January 30. This was followed by a 24-hour Sadar Hills bandh imposed from midnight of January 31 till February 2. Different forms of agitations and protests disturbed the whole month of February in Manipur. A 24-hour state-wide general strike called by the JAC of 5th and 6th IRB waiting list candidates on February 1. It was followed by another state-wide 12-hour general strike called by a JAC formed against the kidnapping of an assistant engineer named N Kesho Singh of the Kakching state electricity department. Other district-wide bandhs in Thoubal district in this month were a 24-hour bandh on NH-39 called by the locals on the controversial death of a housewife Santi on February 2.

On the same day, one more Uripok-Kangchup road bandh in Imphal west district disturbed normal life in the district. The bandh was called in protest against the rounding up of eight women from Mayang Langjing for allegedly shouting slogans against the India government supporting the boycott of Republic Day called by underground organisations in the state. The ’All Manipur Petroleum Tankers` union suspended their services from February 12 till 24 of the same month demanding transfer of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Imphal`s depot managers. This severely affected the transport system in the state due to shortage of vehicle fuels. During March, only one bandh in Imphal west against the expansion of Imphal airport was witnessed, even though various protests in this regard were launched by the local residents residing in the surroundings of the airport. Normal life in the state was severely disturbed during this month after the serial murder of at least 15 non-local labourers and the state authorities imposed night curfew till the mid week of April. The Holi festival was also disturbed by it.

The Holi festival, which falls in the last week of March witnessed the killing of three persons including a girl at Heirok in Thoubal district and killing of two tribal girls in the same district by the militants, this incident again rocked the state during the month of April. Protests against kidnapping of engineers of state public works department on April 3, rally against the killing and torture of women in Imphal and Churachandpur on April 5 and April 8, transporters suspension of services on the Imphal-Moreh highway number 39 and stoppage of all kinds of passenger services was also witnessed in this month. A 24-hour bandh along the NH-39 against the acquisition of land for expansion of Manipur University, communist party of India’s (CPI) protest against price hike on April 17, Tiddim road bandh on April 21 and on NH-39 against the killing of a youth by militants and indefinite bandh on Nh-39 by All Tribal Women`s Organisation and 24-hour district-wide bandh in Senapati district on April 24 distrubed life in Manipur severely.

Is this what we call a place secure enough to live? The bandhs have taken and are still taking a toll on the people’s lives but who will listen to the cry of the people who have been crying for peace for years? Meri News

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