Manipur violence: Hundreds of women in Kangpokpi district are, since yesterday afternoon, protesting along the National Highway-2, disrupting traffic.
Guwahati: Protests have erupted in the areas dominated by the Kuki-Zo community in Manipur, particularly in the Kangpokpi district, after the brutal killing of three people in Thowai village in Ukhrul district on Friday by suspected insurgents.
Hundreds of women in Kangpokpi district are, since yesterday afternoon, protesting along the National Highway-2, disrupting the traffic. The protests would continue today as well.
The protesting groups are demanding the deployment of Assam Rifles in the hill areas.
The protesters have pointed out that the three people were killed and mutilated barely two days after the chief minister of Manipur on India’s Independence Day called to ‘forgive and forget’ and to live peacefully like before.
The disappointed woman protesters urged the Centre to intervene and ensure justice to the three victims, and reimpose the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the state at the earliest.
The Committee on Tribal Unity (CoTU) also appealed to the Centre to re-impose AFSPA in all valley districts of Manipur, as in the hill districts.
“We want to ask the Centre, if they cannot impose President’s rule, what about imposing Article 355?… We wanted AFSPA to be reimposed in areas from where it was recently removed… The removal of Assam Rifles from Litan area (in Ukhrul) was one of the reasons yesterday’s killing could take place,” CoTU’s Media Cell Coordinator, Ng Lun Kipgen, said.
Article 355 of the Indian Constitution is titled, “Duty of the Union to protect States against external aggression and internal disturbance”. It reads, “It shall be the duty of the Union to protect every State against external aggression and internal disturbance and to ensure that the government of every State is carried on in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.”
Officials had a month back said security forces in ethnic violence-hit Manipur were finding it difficult to operate in 19 police stations that were denotified as ‘disturbed areas’ under AFSPA and were pressing for the presence of a magistrate while performing their duties as a precautionary measure to escape false allegations.
A total of 19 police stations, mainly in Imphal valley, have been excluded from the jurisdiction of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), 1958 which gives sweeping powers and immunity to the army in conflict-ridden areas.
Manipur has seen massive protests against AFSPA for the last three decades.
Ten Kuki MLAs, including seven from the BJP, submitted a memorandum to PM Modi on Wednesday, requesting that “posts equivalent to chief secretary and DGP” be established in five hill districts of the state to ensure “efficient administration” in the wake of the state’s three-month ethnic violence.
The five districts for which they raised this demand are Churachandpur, Kangpokpi, Chandel, Tengnoupal, and Pherzawl.
Earlier, the 10 MLAs had urged PM Modi to set up a separate administration for the tribal areas of Manipur.
In his Independence Day speech, Chief Minister N Biren Singh had said that certain misunderstandings, actions of vested interests and foreign plot to destabilise the country have led to the loss of precious lives and properties in the state.
He urged all to stop the violence and bring back the “rapid progress the state had witnessed earlier”.