Women bodies flay Centre's ban proposal
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, May 08: Referring to the news report of the Centre asking Manipur Government to ban those social and voluntary organizations that called boycott of Lok Sabha elections in Manipur several women bodies have strongly condemned the proposed move of Government of India.

In a joint press statement the women organizations asserted that the Centre's instruction to the State Government is a reflection of the conceited policy pursued by New Delhi who projects to the world as upholder of democracy while in truth attempts are being made to gag the genuine voices of the people of Manipur.

Elucidating on the matter the statement contended that as practiced in democratic countries people have the right to either exercise their voting rights or boycott elections.

For long people of Manipur have been living at the mercy of security forces who resorts to sub-human treatment of captives while innocent civilians are also not spared as the security personnel are safeguarded under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1958 whenever extrajudicial killing are highlighted/protested.

Under such circumstances the State electorates have no alternative but to distance themselves from elections that provide no solace to the suffering of the people, maintained the statement.

The women bodies pointing out election boycott by the people of Uttar Pradesh's Fatehpur Lok Sabha seat citing lack of development and the student organization of Arunachal Pradesh (AAPSU) to protest inclusion of Chakmas and Hajongs in the electoral list questioned what action would the Govt of India take for the boycott calls in these States.

Similarly a Naga organization had boycotted the 12th and 13th Lok Sabha elections, recalled the statement asking why the Govt of India not taken any appropriate action against the concerned organization.

Some assembly segments of Thoubal district have been demanding right to contest Lok Sabha elections but their democratic aspirations were never addressed by the Government, argued the statement asking on what moral ground would the Centre propose action against the Thoubal district electorates for protesting denial of democratic rights.

Does a separate yard stick exist for Manipur or is rights enjoyed in democratic India extended to the mainland only, further asked the women bodies.

The boycott call given by the women organization of Manipur is to protest application of black laws and to demand its removal and should not be perceived as anti-national stance as every citizen or approved organization have the right to express displeasure at policies pursued by the Government, added the statement.

In addition to the poll boycott decision the women bodies pledged to resort to various agitations to highlight grievances and demand prompt action, threatened the statement.