Rape evokes mass furore, NH-39 bandh called
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, September 06: Condemnations in the strongest term possible from various circles, National Highway-39 bandh call and sit in protest from North AOC to Mao Gate have been given to air people's angst against the rape and looting incident of September 4/5 midnight at Piphema near Kohima.

MHRC has also taken up, a case in connection with the rape.

However the Naga Women's Union, Manipur, Imphal Tangkhul Shanao Long, Manipur and the Joint Women's Programme, Manipur Unit in a message E-mailed to the press have denied that the girls were raped.

The organizations however said that the armed repeatedly tried to rape them which was resisted.

They have also denounced the unwarranted and barbaric act against the two girls and added that the incident was an attempt to derail the peace process.

They have also appealed to the media, organizations and individuals not to take undue advantage of the incident.

Denouncing the heinous act perpetrated on unarmed and innocent civilians, several organizations have demanded that the persons involved in the crime be dealt with according to the law of the land.

The girls were raped when two trucks and three passenger buses from Guwahati to Imphal was halted at Piphema by gunmen and after looting the passengers of their belongings outraged the modesty of two young girls inside a passenger bus when they refused to oblige the gunmen's insistence that they alight from the bus.

An emergency meeting of the Joint Action Committee Tourist Bus held today at Hotel Pintu resolved to call a one day bandh on National Highway 39 from midnight of September 7 till midnight of the next day.

The meeting also revised departure schedule of passenger buses from Guwahati to 6pm and from Dimapur during day time.

The new schedule would be enforced strictly and stringent actions including banning of transport operators would be adopted in case the schedules are violated.

It also resolved to launch agitation if the Govts of Manipur and Nagaland fail to book the culprits involved in the crime.

Manipuri Students' Federation condemning on the same line has also called a NH-39 bandh from 6 am of September 8 till 6 am next day.

All Manipur Students' Union asked students, youth and women organizations to take part at the sit in protest tomorrow to denounce the criminal, acts at Piphema.

Talking to mediapersons today AMSU general secretary A Shyamchand said an ultimatum will be served to the Indian, Nagaland and Manipur Governments for adequate security on the highways failing which further agitation will be launched.

A meeting of its unit, branch and district committee has also been convened tomorrow at 9 am.

Director General of Police, Manipur has intimated to his Nagaland counterpart on the incident and requested for immediate necessary action against the culprits.

Meanwhile, describing the incident as heinous beyond all imagination and blatant abuse of human rights and dignity of women a number of organizations have demanded punitive actions against the culprits.

Press release of several organizations also demanded clarification from the Nagaland Government on the matter and lambasted the Central Government for their failure to provide adequate security on the two National Highways.

Indifferent attitude of Nagaland Police who instead of swinging into action suggested that night service be halted also drew condemnations from several organizations.

Members of Students' Federation of India, Manipur State Committee, Manipur Keithel Nupi Marup, Paona Bazar Women Welfare Organization, Governor Road Women Development Welfare Organization and Manipur Forward Youth Front burnt effigies of Union Home Minister LK Advani, Nagaland Chief Minister SC Jamir and the looters/rapists at Samumakhong today.

Appealing for a united fight against communalism, a joint press release of the organizations demanded that Highway Security Force be set up immediately for protecting the vulnerable National Highways.

Dharma Rakshak Samiti, Manipur while condemning the act urged the people not to remain silent when fellow passengers' modesty are outraged.

United Committee, Manipur describing the two National Highways as looters' paradise flayed both the Central and State Government for ignoring repeated pleas of the people to strengthen security along the route.

It further called for a united struggle to root out social ills afflicting the region.

Manipuri Student's Federation asked the victims to come out in the open instead of trying to keep the heinous act under fold to prevent recurrence of such ugly incident.

Joining the condemnations, Passenger Assurance Welfare Society appealed to passenger bus operators on the Imphal-Guwahati route to avoid traversing Nagaland area at midnight.

Manipur State Council of All India Youth Federation asking Union Home Minister and Nagaland Chief Minister to book the culprits under existing laws expressed concern that such undesired and condemnable act will aggravate the inter-State relation and create communal tension in the region.

It also asked CM to take-up the matter with related persons.

BJP, Manipur Pradesh expressed angst at the co-passengers for not coming to the aid of the rape victims.

It also questioned the much hyped courage and heroism of the Manipuri people.

Manipur Pradesh Youth Congress Committee submitted memorandum on the incident to Governors and CMs of Manipur and Nagaland and also sent the same to Union Home Minister LK Advani.