Thousands rally against 16/8 strike
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, Aug 23: Braving the scorching heat, thousands of people staged a peace rally at the streets of Imphal today to denounce the terror attack on Iskcon temple on August 16 that killed five and injured over forty devotees.

Organized by the newly formed All Manipur Joint Action Committee (JAC) for Prevention of Terrorist Activities and supported by scores of civil society organizations, the rally began from Iskcon premises in the morning and passed through the streets of Keishampat, Wahengbam Leikai and Khoyathong and later converged at THAU ground, Thangmeiband where a public meeting was held.

Speakers representing various social bodies, during the meeting, categorically denounced the attack in the strongest term saying that such act is not pardonable.

They also expressed deep concern over the ineptness of the State's law enforcing agencies to establish concrete clues on the incident even as a week time has rolled on.

Placards and banners reading, " Iskcon killing is a cruel act of terrorism ","We condemn Iskcon killing", "Respect secularism", "Respect right to life"," Punish the culprits" etc, were held by rallyists belonging to various communities of the State.

To foil any untoward incident, tight security measures were taken up at the meeting venue.

While condemning the terror attack on the temple in strongest term, the meeting resolved to denounc strongly the alleged central forces' firing at the Evangelical Baptist Convention Church at Churachandpur on Sunday night killing one youth representative of the Church and injuring five persons.

The perpetrators of both the incidents should be punished publicly forthwith, it resolved.

The meeting condemned the failure of Chief Minister O Ibobi to implement his promise of giving monetary assistance to the victims of ISKCON blast.

No terror acts should be triggered at different worship and religious places in the state, the meeting decided.

All forms of State terrorism and all acts supporting it directly or indirectly should be stopped immediately to save the lives of the innocent people.

Armed forces (Special Powers) Act that grants unbridled powers to the security forces should also be repealed forthwith.

Rally organizers said a memorandum containing the resolutions would be submitted to the Chief Minister.

Though Swami Damodara, Iskcon's international director could not participate in the rally as he is out of station, a number of Iskcon devotees took part.

Banamali Das, editor of Iskcon's publication "Bhagawat Paojel" said Swami along with Bryan Nash, left Imphal on Tuesday for Kolkata for Nash's further treatment.

While Swami, who sustained minor injuries on his left hand was discharged from Shija hospitals on the following day of the blast, Nash was being treated at Regional Institute of Medical Science till he was referred for futher treatmet, Das added.

In view of the terror attack on Janmasthami, Iskcon would urge upon the concerned security forces to deploy adequate forces on the occasion of Radhasthami that falls on September 1, Das said adding that as a safely measure the porus compound wall of Ikson's Mani Mandir would also be constructed at the earliest.