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Women hold peaceful rally at Mao Gate

Women attending silent peace rally at Mao Gate, Saturday. (NP)
Correspondent KOHIMA, MAY 29 (NPN):
Published on 30 May. 2010 12:21 AM IST
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Thousands of women took out silent peaceful rally at Mao gate even as Manipur Police Commandos who had unleashed terror at Mao Gate during the past 27 days had been reportedly withdrawn clandestinely and replaced by two companies of IRB during wee hours of Saturday.
Clad in their white traditional shawl, womenfolk in thousands from the neighbouring villages who gathered at the Mao Gate Island carrying placards took out a silent and peaceful rally after a soulful prayer and marched till the Forest Gate. The placards read “Do not suppress democracy,” “Move out from our homes,” “We want peace,” “Do not provoke the innocent,” “Stop robbing our properties,” “We do not want intimidation, “Do not militarise our birth right” etc.
The rally gathered again at the Island where Mao Naga Women Welfare Association secretary, A.Koshia gave a brief exhortation on the cause of the present crisis and the economic blockade that arose out of the Manipur government’s decision to forcibly conduct the Autonomous District Council election with the Amendment Act despite opposition from the people. The rally dispersed after mass prayer seeking God’s blessing and wisdom to the Naga leaders who would be taking part in the next round of “Indo-Naga” peace talks scheduled for Monday and dispersed.
Talking to media persons, one of the women leaders said that the main purpose of the rally was to press their demand for withdrawal of the militarization of Manipur State force which had been “terrorizing” the innocent civilian and forcible occupation of private houses at Mao Gate. The women leaders had demanded this so that displaced villagers can return home without fear.
It was alleged that the Manipur police force not only occupied all the government and public buildings but also forcibly broke opened private houses and occupied around 10 houses including some multi-storied buildings. The Manipur state forces were also alleged of breaking into private houses and robbing and stealing cash and kind, livestock, vegetables and firewood in and around Mao Gate town.
It may be mentioned that the union home secretary G.K.Pillai and centre’a interlocutor to the “Indo-Naga” peace process R. S. Pandey during their visit to Manipur and Nagaland had assured the withdrawal of the Manipur state force from Mao Gate and replacing them with the central paramilitary forces. Following the assurance, a large force of CRPF were brought in and deployed at Mao Gate.
The withdrawal of the Manipur Police Commandos during wee hours Saturday appeared to have brought some sense of relief among the people. However, militarization and the war-like situation remained the same as two Companies of the Manipur IRB reached and took over the place of the Manipur commandos.
The CRPF who were deployed appeared to be following the same modus operandi of the Manipur police and openly deployed armored and bullet proof vehicles mounted with automatic weapons and patrolled the small township. They were manning the interstate border by erecting a temporary gate and with iron bunkers.
NPO condemns
Naga People’s Organization (NPO) Senapati on Saturday said it has taken serious note of the re-deployment and reinforcement of IRBs and other state forces in Senapati district. It strongly condemned the move terming it as “insincerity” of the state government as the presence and movement of more Manipur IRBs in the district has increased tensions and apprehensions in the mind of the people. NPO in a statement issued by its president, M. Dili demanded the state government to immediately withdraw all state forces present in the district.
The NPO also condemned the act of indiscriminate firing at Noney by the state forces Friday in which three innocent women were seriously injured.

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