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Ukhrul public say No to IRB, commandos

Members of Tangkhul Social Organisation taking out a protest rally in Ukhrul town of Manipur on Thursday. (EP)
Published on 26 Jun. 2009 12:23 AM IST
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In what is seen as a direct affront to the SPF-led government, a massive protest rally was held at Ukhrul Hqs Thursday against the Cabinet decision to deploy Manipur Police Commandos and IRBs in the Hills district of Manipur. In spite of the inclement weather which threatened to play spoil-sport, thousands of people from different spectrums of society converged for a public meeting at Tangkhul Naga Long ground, Ukhrul. The rallyists were seen holding placards which read, “Ukhrul is an island of Peace”, “Ibobi Govt: Don’t Disturb Peace”, “Stop state-sponsored Terrorism”. The Ibobi-led SPF government, citing ‘law and order’ problem had already deployed Commandos and IRB forces in the four Naga-dominated Hills districts of Manipur, including Churachandpur. Ever since the Manipur Cabinet okayed the proposal to deploy the Commandos and IRBs forces in the Hills district, various hill-based peoples’ movements and NGOs have registered their resentment against what is perceived by many as ‘unwarranted’ and ‘unjustified’ move by the government. “There is no law and order situation in Naga areas. We will resist till the end. The government shall bear all responsibilities as a fall-back of any in-eventualities arising out of the government decision”, warned TNL vice president, Raising while addressing the mammoth gathering. Ever since the NSCN and GOI entered into a Ceasefire in 1997, the district has witnessed a relatively peaceful era for the past decade. “Our people will not remain mute spectators. We will rise and fight back democratically”, stated Tangkhul Katamnao Saklong (TKS) president, Wungnaoshang. He was also critical on the Cabinet decision to open designated camps of the Kuki UGs within the Naga areas terming it as ‘sowing seed of discord and severing the age-old ties between the two major tribal communities’. A joint statement signed by four apex organizations – The TNL (Tangkhul Naga Council), TKS (Tangkhul Students Union), TSL (Tangkhul Women’s Leaque) TMNL (Tangkhul Youth Council) termed the move as an attempt to ‘disturb’ peace in the district and called for immediate revocation of the decision. Later, the rallyists assembled at the premise of Deputy Commissioner, Ukhrul where a memorandum addressed to Prime Minister was handed over to the DC. “This development is expected to snowball into a major confrontation between the Hills people and the Manipur state government, unless the government revokes the decision at the earliest”, stated a community elder. Today’s rally is seen as an initial step of a series of strategies being worked out to protest what they termed as ‘wanton’ and ‘communal’ policy of the government.

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