Students rally for NBSE affiliation
Source: The Sangai Express / NNN & Addie Chiphang

Senapati/Ukhrul, Aug 26: Students in Senapati and Ukhrul districts took out a massive rally today at the respective districts' headquarters demanding acceleration of processes towards affiliation of private schools in the four hill districts of Manipur to the Nagaland Board of School Education (NBSE).

Thousands of students carrying festoons inscribed, "Rally in Support of Affiliation to NBSE," "Give Us Freedom to Decide Our Future," "We are not going back to BSEM, expedite our affiliation," "Respect our right to education" and "we reject imposition of Meetei Mayek".

Braving searing heat, students from private schools of the district assembled at the Senapati ground to express their resentment against what they called, "forcible imposition of foreign script, language and history" and to express their desire to be affiliated to the NBSE.

After a silent rally through the street of Senapati town the students later submitted a memorandum to the DC, Senapati.

The memorandum signed by president of Private Schools Forum and addressed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, contents details with regard to the affiliation issue.

The memorandum said the situation has become such that minority sections in Manipur are facing serious threat of ethnic cleansing by the dominant valley community through imposition of their language "by the government and the Meitei Mayek activists, omission of tribal history, culture and contribution in the text books, denying the existence of Nagas in Manipur, distortions and tampering of history such as the claim of illustrious Naga General Thangal to be a Meitei who was actually a Thangal Naga, etc".

Also, apprising the PM of the decision to affiliate en masse to NBSE and initiative taken to adopt NBSE syllabi from June this year, it asserted that the 'dice has been cast'.

"In the exercise of our freedom to choose our education, we have chosen NBSE and we will stand committed to our decision", the memorandum read.

It strongly urged the Government of India to recognise gravity of the situation and the alarming threat to the identity of the Nagas and the academic lives of thousands of Naga students in Manipur who have censored the Board of Secondary Education, Manipur (BSEM) and consented affiliation to the NBSE.

Later addressing the students, Naga Students Federation (NSF) Auditor General, Charles Lotha conveyed support of the Nagas of Nagaland in the movement to "choose your own education".

He also informed the gathering that the Nagaland Govt, under Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, is going all out to persuade the Centre to deliver justice to the Naga students of Manipur.

He also disclosed to the gathering that Rio and a delegation of the DAN Government would be meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on August 28 besides other senior leaders to press the issue.

The NSF leader also expressed anguish that only five out of the eleven Naga legislators are actually working towards this end and urged the students to question the six legislators who remain insensitive to the plight of the Naga students of Manipur.

Also speaking on the occasion, ANSAM president, Paul Langhu, voiced outrage over the Manipur valley community's "deliberate attempt to erase history of the Nagas by imposing their culture, language and history on the students".

"We have now decided our destiny.

There is no turning back", he said and urged the students to remain united in their resolve.

President of the Private Schools' Forum, N.Heny was all praise for Neiphiu Rio and his government for the total support to the cause and for initiating dialogues with the Centre to press the issue.

In Ukhrul the rally began from two directions, one from the Dungrei Junction south and the other from the northern side of Kharasom Junction before congregating at the higher secondary school ground Ukhrul at around 11 am for a public meeting participated by the Principle forum of the district, student leaders, intellectual and members of civil society organisations.

Speaking on the occasion TKS president said there should not be any confusion regarding Nagas' aspiration for affiliation to the NBSE as it is 'our basic right'.

He also opined that student power will defeat any adversary forces trying to trample 'our choice'.

Jordan Pheray, spokesperson of ANSAM Ukhrul, asserted, 'we on behalf of all the students community are ready to defy any power player concerning the NBSE affiliation issue till our dream have been completely achieved." President, HKL impressed with the huge turnout expressed that such degree of inspiration and endeavour will be added bonus in achieving the goal of the historic movement.

A memorandum, having similar content as the Senapati representation, and addressed to the Prime Minister was handed over to the district authority.

It was signed by presidents of Tangkhul students Union, Tangkhul Naga Long, Tangkhul Youth council and Tangkhul women union.

according to information provided by secretary of Chandel District Private Schools' Assn KH Loveson over 1500 students from 12 educational institution and members of the public took part in the rally staged at the district headquarters area today.

A memorandum addressed to the PM Dr Manmohan Singh and NBSE authorities was handed over to the DC, Chandel after the rally.

The representation reteirated demand for speedy affiliation process of private schools of Chandel to the NBSE.