Imphal, September 11, 2012: Registering a strong protest against the assent given by the President of India on September 11, 1958 to the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Ordinance which subsequently became an Act, a public meeting was held today at Lamyanba Shanglen under the aegis of the Sharmila Kanba Lup.
The gathering was graced by senior citizen Arambam Lokendro, Sharmila Kanba Lup co-convenor Soibam Momon Leima and AMWJU president A Mobi as chief guest, president and guest of honour respectively.
In his speech, Lokendro reminded that many people have been killed under the immunity of AFSPA even as several rounds of protest movements were staged against the draconian Act.
Irom Sharmila has been fasting against the same Act for the last 12 years.
Sometimes one could not give a clear account of AFSPA and resultant issues before the international community for lack of proper documentation, Lokendro said.
A Mobi pointed out that the Indian Prime Minister had admitted AFSPA is draconian and the people have been fighting against the Act.
But it remains questionable how sincere the protest movements were.
It is crucial to examine why general public could not view the issue of AFSPA with the attention it merits.
It needs sustained mass movement as well as lobby at the highest level to affect repeal of AFSPA.
But the problem is who would lobby at the highest level at New Delhi because the elected representatives are not bold enough for this assignment.
At the same time, people are unable to carry on a sustained movement collectively for any length of time, Mobi noted Sharmila’s elder brother Irom Singhajit lamented that divisions can be seen amongst those who are fighting for human rights in Manipur.
Whether any movement is initiated by one organisation or another, all must join and share their due responsibilities if it is a common issue.
In same vein, it is not likely the Government of India would repeal AFSPA until and unless all the people of the North East region stand up and fight collectively against the draconian Act, Singhajit asserted.
RK Ranendrajit, Editor of erstwhile English daily Freedom, alleged that the Government of India has been invading Manipur politically, socially and economically.
Even though everyone knows that the Government has no concern for the public, they support the same Government at the time of elections.
The Government of India has ruled out extension of Inner Line Permit System to Manipur, and AFSPA has been repealed from greater Imphal area only, that too just for namesake.
Under such circumstances, it is paramount for the people of Manipur to stand united, Ranendrajit asserted.
Former UCM president Yumnamcha Dilipkumar said there was a vast difference between the people of Manipur and people of other Indian citizens even though all of them are said to be citizens of India.
The Indian military have been enacting series of surrender dramas with an intention to demoralise the people of Manipur, he alleged while appealing to all not to be actors of such dramas.
The meeting was also attended by AMKIL president Sakhi, Kabui Mothers’ Association president Kakomlunglu Kamei, Kanglamei president Leirik and president of the Poirei Leimarol Apunba Meira Paibi Manipur president Memchoubi.