TODAY -
Truce finally ends over 5 month-long seige post 23/7
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, January 08 2010: The nearly six-month long impasse that had been besieging the people of Manipur with shutting down of educational institutions being the most prominent feature of the protracted agitation in the aftermath of the July 23, 2009 firing incident at BT Road has finally come to an end today.

Along with signing an agreement with the Government today, the Working Committee of the Apunba Lup has called off the over five-month long agitation over the July 23 Khwairamband Bazar incident.

Consequently, normal classes in schools and colleges, which remained suspended since September 9 would also resume from January 11 .



Tehelka pictures of Ch Sanjit surrounded by police commandos and Th Rabina laying in pool of blood sparked off the agitation.


After four rounds of talks were held without any result, the fifth round was held today between representatives of the Government led by Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh and representatives of the Apunba Lup, AMSU, MSF, KSA, JACs and Senior Citizen at the office chamber of the Chief Minister from 10 am to 11.30 am today.

The two parties signed a memorandum of understand (MoU) during the meeting.

Talking to mediapersons after the meeting, Government spokesman Minister N Biren described the MoU as the gift of the New Year.

Elaborating on the MoU signed today, the Government spokesman informed that after the talk, the Apunba Lup which is spear-heading the agitation over the July 23 Khwairamband incident has agreed to suspend all the agitations including the class boycott stir with immediate effect until completion of the Judicial or CBI enquiry into the incident.

On its part, the Government would be releasing all the agitators who have been lodged in the jail without any condition and hand over all the seizures.

In a late evening development, all 13 persons, including women activists, who were detained in Sajiwa Central Jail and Imphal Central Jail were released without any pre-conditions.

In accordance to law, the Government would also be providing compensation to Thokchom Ongbi Rabina who was killed as well as to others who sustained injuries in the incident, Biren informed, adding that the Government has also given its reassurance of looking to the complaints related to counter insurgency operations.

Significantly, there was no mention of Ch Sanjit Singh, a former UG member who was allegedly gunned down by police commandos on the same day Rabina died.

To a question on who would compensate for the deprivation of education to the students for more than four months, Biren said it is great loss for the Government as well and the Government is very serious about it.

To another question on demands of the Apunba Lup for suspension of Additional SP of Imphal West, expansion of Justice Agarwal Inquiry and booking all the six suspended Commando personnel, the Government spokesman maintained that since the matter is in the court at present and it would be sub-judice, the two parties have come to an understanding.

Meanwhile, announcing its decision of calling off the agitation in view of handing over the case of July 13 Khwairamband Bazar incident to the CBI by the Government and assurance given on doing the needful on the basis of the CBI findings, the Working Committee of the Apunba Lup has appealed for reopening of schools and colleges and resumption of normal classes from January 11 .

In a statement, the Apunba Lup attributed public agitation for the decision of the Government to hand over the case to CBI finally and described it as the success of the first phase of the public movement.

The public agitation has also succeeded in unmasking the true character of the ruling Government to the entire world as well, the Apunba Lup claimed.

Expressing gratitude to all for the support extended during the agitation, the Apunba Lup hoped that such continued support can only save Manipur and its people from abuse of their democratic rights.

Spelling out some of the weaknesses that were seen during the course of the public agitation so as to learn lessons for future, the Apunba Lup admitted that collective unity of the people on looking at the issue of killing a pregnant mother and making scapegoat of a former UG and causing injuries to five other civilians in police firing in broad day light is still wanting.

Lack of proper understanding of the issue among the civil organisations and student bodies, which has ultimately led to weakening strength of the people, is a glaring testimony of these weaknesses.

On the other hand, inspite of installing a democratically elected Government, the elected representatives of the people are acting in defiance of rule of law.

Instead of ensuring protection to the people, many innocent people are being killed even during the public agitation spearheaded by the Apunba Lup.

In 2009 alone, over 400 people have been killed in alleged shoot-out with security forces.

Such arbitrary killings has depopulated Manipur after filling the air with the wailing of the women who have lost their husbands and parents whose children have been killed, the Apunba Lup said.

Moreover, in contradiction to the democratic norms, the Government shied away from its responsibility of taking up action against the Chief Minister who read out a misleading statement in the State Assembly as well as against the police officers who provided wrong informations.

In democracy, there is nothing more serious than misleading the Assembly/Parliament.

Failure of understanding this fact and resigning themselves from their respective posts amount to challenging the very spirit of democracy.

The silence of the MLAs from raising their voice against such misleading statement and the killings in the name of counter insurgency operations is also equally reprehensible.

This amounts to surrendering themselves that there is no rule of law in the State, the Apunba Lup lamented.

It was against such individuals that are trying to play with democracy and deprive rights of the people that the Apunba Lup and the students bodies have launched agitation, the statement said, adding that the public movement for saving rights of the people was also a movement to usher true democracy in Manipur.

But it was unfortunate that some people who have been misguided with the notion that 'education is more important than right to life' gave undue pressures for ending the class boycott agitation and bring a solution with the Government.

In consideration of all these matters, the Apunba Lup has taken the decision of suspending the ongoing agitation so as to give time for regaining strength and allow the students to have normal classes.

However, if the CBI inquiry tries to subdue the truth of the Khwairamband Bazar incident which is already known by the people apart from the photographic evidences, Apunba Lup would launch even more intense agitation, the statement announced, while asking the people to be prepared for that.


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