Manipur remembers student who self-immolated to protest AFSPA

Correspondent IMPHAL, Aug 16 | Publish Date: 8/16/2019 12:45:11 PM IST
Elderly mother of the student leader who sacrificed his life by self-immolation in protest against draconian Act on Friday expressed strong desire of realising her son’s cherish dream to come true before she dies.
Pebam Chittaranjan, the student who self-immolated in protest against the  government’s adamant attitude towards people’s demand for repeal of Armed Forces (Special) Powers Act (AFSPA) was remembered on his 15th anniversary on Friday.
Chittaranjan immolated himself on August 14 , 2004, at the peak of mass uprising in Manipur demanding repeal of the AFSPA following killing of Thangjam Manorama by Assam Rifles troopers after she was picked up on allegations of being associated with a rebel group. 
Chittaranjan set himself on fire at Bishnupur Bazar in Bishnupur district when the nation was celebrating the Independence Day. He succumbed to his injury on August 16 at RIMS.
Commemorating the ‘supreme sacrifices’ made the student leader, Manipuri Students’ Federation (MSF) has been observing the day under the banner “To Excel Right to Life” each year.
On Friday, the MSF observed the day with a mass silent rally participated by hundreds of students of various schools after offering floral tribute to the memorial of the student leader at his locality in Imphal’s Kwakeithel.
Elderly mother of Chitaranjan who was among others who offered the floral tribute to her late son said that she has a strong desire of achieving the goal for which her son sacrificed his life.
“Wake up (people), let us fight today against the black laws and others laws that violate the basic human rights. Tomorrow will be very late,” Pebam Sorojini who is old enough to go alone told reporters after offering the floral tribute to the memorial of her son.
She alleged that India government has been suppressing the people of the state in one or the other way and for such a long time the people of the state were living under other the draconian laws.
She protested against the adamant attitude of the Centre when hue and cry of the people demanding repeal of the AFSPA remained unheard.
She had taken part in people’s campaign against AFSPA and other black laws that violate the right to life and still wished to take part, the elderly mother of the student leader who could not take part in the movement due to age factor said.
At the same time, despite her age, Pebam’s mother expressed apprehension of Centre targeting Manipur and other Northeast states after Jammu and Kashmir.
‘Manipur befalling the same fate of Jammu and Kashmir cannot be ruled out. We must remain alert and get ready to fight against any such move against the interest of the people,’ she said.
She was referring to recent scrapping of Article 370 of Indian Constitution and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir.
The MSF organised the main function in Imphal’s THAU ground where mass silent march on the streets in Imphal culminated.
Speaking on the occasion, MSF president Ng Milan alleged that the chaotic situation with bunch of problems in the state was brought about by curtailment of right to life under black laws for long time.
When there was no right to live, how can  students study and be  confined  in class room, he asked.
He demanded that all black laws must be repealed and there should be no oppression of any form and imperialism should be stopped.
Milan claimed that Chittaranjan had sacrificed his life with the notion that it is better to die than to live like a lifeless soul. His sacrificed carries a great message, he added.
Give the basic human rights first; right to life, then rights to education should come, the MSF president said.
Acting chairperson of Manipur State Human Rights Commission Khaidem Mani claimed that the sacrificed made by Chittaranjan had taught a big lesson to “excel the right to life and to live with dignity.”
Many other leaders of CSOs and human right activists spoke on human rights and its condition in the state under the draconian laws extended by the Centre in the name of countering insurgency.


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