Migrant workers killings; CM assures ex-gratia, House decries
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, March 19: The Manipur State Assembly during its sitting has condemned the killings of non-Manipuris in the last three days by unidentified gunmen in the strongest term today.

Discussing the issue in the House today, Chief Minister O Ibobi who is also in charge of the Home portfolio stated that the Government has resolved to provide ex-gratia to the families of the victims in accordance to rules.

A woman crying for her dead kins sums up the agony caused by the killings of migrant workers

A call attention motion raised jointly by Opposition MLAs Radhabinod Koijam, O Joy and Dr Ng Bijoy on the slaying of seven wage earning non-Manipuri labourers at Hayel Hangun under Mayang Imphal station and seven others at different parts of the State was converted into a short duration discussion and the issue was discussed at length in the House.

Raising the motion in the House, Radhabinod denounced the massacre of the helpless non-Manipuris who were doing petty business or working as wage earners by engaging themselves in odd jobs.

Stating that he was deeply hurt and terrified by the carnage, Radhabinod remarked that the act demeans the image of Manipur in the view of other States.

Apprehensive of the possible repercussions on Manipuris working and studying in other States of India, Radhabinod observed that Chief Ministers and Chief Secretaries of all the States ought to be intimated to take up precautionary measures for the safety of Manipuris staying in their respective States.

He also urged the State Government to take up foolproof security measures ensure the protection of the lives and properties of non-Manipuris staying in the State.

Appealing to the Chief Minister to ensure proper functioning of the police outposts opened recently, Radhabinod asserted that no police men can be seen on the road after 10 pm.

The massacre of the non-Manipuris was the most barbaric and heartless act and it ought to be condemned by one and all, observed O Joy.

He also expressed apprehension that peoples of other States may perceive Manipuris in the most hostile manner and this may result in highly regrettable consequences.

Questioning the motive behind the carnage, Joy sought attention of the House to investigate into the faults and offence on the part of the victims, if there is any.

Joy further asked as to why police were unable to move to Hayel Hangul in time even as they had received information of the carnage committed there.

He expressed strong reservations against the conduct of police.

"If police men who are maintaining law and order are unable to approach the site of crime, then who will take responsibility for maintaining law and order in the society", asked Joy.

Alleging that DG Control phone was never picked up promptly and sometimes when it was picked, the one receiving the phone was found to be in inebriated condition, Joy proposed for an overall review of the functioning of State police.

Asking whether the unfortunate killing was a result of the threat posed to the indigenous people following massive influx of people from other States of India in the post merger period, Dr Ng Bijoy advocated for regulation of the influx through the Protected Area Permit system and the Restricted Area Permit system.

Calling upon the House to make a joint appeal against killing of non-Manipuris any further, Morung Makunga urged upon the Government to beef up security measures in all the areas inhabited by non-Manipuris.

RK Anand and Dr I Ibohalbi noted the carnage was a shame for the whole Manipuri nation in front of the international community.

Taking part in the discussion, Chief Minister O Ibobi stated that the savage carnage should be condemned by the House in the strongest term.

No civilized nation would accept the massacre as an act of heroism.

Arbitrary and wanton killing of the migrant workers is an ugly act of communalism, decried the Chief Minister.

Peeved with the silence of civil organisations and human rights bodies over the massacre, Ibobi questioned the integrity of these organisations.

Deeply concerned over the insecure situation, a large number of non-Manipuris were trying to leave the State in three trucks and three buses but they were persuaded not to leave the State at this volatile and tense situation.

They were told to leave to State, if they must after two/three weeks when the situation returns to normal, Ibobi informed the House.

Moreover, on the request of the State Government not to take the corpses to their native States but to cremate here according to the rituals of their own religions with all possible assistance from the State Government, the corpse have not been taken to their States, Ibobi conveyed.

In addition to shifting non-Manipuris to safer places with enhanced security measures, the Government has decided to provide relief materials to these migrant workers and also to extend ex-gratia to the families of the deceased.

The Chief Minister conceded that the root cause of the carnage could not be established yet.

Taking serious note of the Merger Agreement of 1949 becoming a contentious issue in the State, Ibobi called upon all to point out if there is any flaw in the Agreement so that the same may rectified.

If there is any threat to the indigenous people, put it in tangible manner and boldly, Ibobi invited while appealing to all the members not to put oil in the burning fire.

"If the same act of killing non-locals and attaching a message on the back with the words, "Go back to your own States" is retaliated in the same manner by people of other States to Manipuris staying there, what would be the possible fall-out" the Chief Minister questioned while stating that efforts are on to eliminate all the murderers.

Under the prevailing circumstances, it is hard to ask the Chief Ministers, Chief Secretaries and DGPs of other States to take up security measures for Manipuris staying there.

Nevertheless, some Chief Ministers have been talked to on the matter, Ibobi informed the House.

He also assured to look into any failure on the part of the police so that the such blunders are avoided in future.

Concerning abduction of Government officials for ransom, the Chief Minister declared that the Government would never enter any negotiation to affect release of the abducted officials but would put in its best efforts to rescue the officials.

To check the recent trend of abduction, 42 new police outposts have been opened in greater Imphal area.

Necessary steps have also been initiated to conduct frisking at these posts round the clock, Ibobi said.

Even though the commandos have been instructed not to shoot while arresting any individual but to punish according to law, the commandos opened fire when their call to halt went unheeded, Ibobi clarified.

The commandos opened fire to protect themselves as UG cadres or armed persons firing at the commandos earlier would mean death of the commando personnel, he contended.

Yet, precautionary measures have been taken up to avoid unwanted incidents in future, he added.