TODAY -
Nagas give 48 hrs hill dists bandh call
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, August 16 2009: Ahead of the 48 hour bandh planned by Naga organisations in the four Naga-dominated districts of Manipur, torch rallies were taken out at the district headquarters of Ukhrul, Tamenglong, Chandel and Senapati this evening.

The 48 hrs bandh is jointly called by the UNC, ANSAM, NWUM and NPMHR.

The torch rally that criss-crossed streets of Ukhrul district headquarters this evening is said to have been participated by about 50,000 people.

At Senapati district, a large number of people also came out on the street and took out a torch rally from Senapati bazar to Taphou.

A mass prayer was also held.

The rally was jointly organised by the UNC, ANSAM, NWUM, SDSA and NPMHR.

According to president of Tangkhul Naga Long, Stephen Angkang, a declaration was also read out prior to the peaceful protest demonstration.

It has been informed that the Govt of India was specifically urged to immediately declare that there is a ceasefire in Naga areas outside Nagaland, with the Ukhrul declaration also demanding prompt removal of Assam Rifles from the district, and punishment of AR personnel responsible for the inhumane murder and killing, with apparent reference to the Shakok village incident.

"We once again reaffirm our commitment to the peaceful and just resolution of the Indo-Naga problem and declare our mandate and support to the political peace process currently underway between the NSCN and the Govt of india as two sacred entities," the TNL president said in a statement.

The Ukhrul congregation also took serious note, that inspite of the ceasefire agreement, security agencies have been acting as if there is no ceasefire.

Further highlighting that many precious lives had been lost owing to high-handedness of security forces, and the people no longer feel justice is being delivered or sanctity accorded to the peace process from the side of security agencies, the gathering unanimously resolved in re-strengthening amicable and acceptable solution to the Naga political issue.

On the otherhand, the bandh coming into effect from August 17 midnight is being called by the Nagas in protest against alleged violation of ceasefire agreement between the NSCN (IM) and Govt of India, by security forces.

The accusation is being directed against Assam Rifles troops in the aftermath of the August 12 shoot-out at Shakok village of Ukhrul district, during which two members of the armed group were slain.

Rejecting the AR version that the IM's Sgt Maj Selmol Hungyo and Sgt Phanintphang were slain in retaliatory firing, several Naga bodies had been contending that Selmol Hungyo was killed after severe torture by the AR men 'as bruise marks could be observed on the victim's body'.

The Shakok village incident was followed by vehement condemnations from Naga rights bodies and a protest demonstration on August 14 in Ukhrul district after which a memorandum addressed to the Union Home Minister P Chidambaram was handed over to the district's Deputy Commissioner on the same evening.

A key member of the United Naga Council, Nagas' apex body spearheading Naga integration movement, informed that decision to impose the 48 hour bandh covering the districts of Ukhrul, Senapati, Tamenglong and Chandel was taken at a joint meeting.

In the representation to the Union Minister, Tangkhul organisations under the aegis of Tangkhul Naga Long, demands were raised to the Central Govt on the status and jurisdiction/coverage of the existing ceasefire besides demanding withdrawal of Central forces from Ukhrul district.

The Shakok village incident is the second conflict in the district involving AR troops and NSCN (IM) cadres after columns of the para-military force encircled a camp of the outfit in Siroy village about seven months back.

However, after about 10 days of confinement the IM cadres were given a safe passage.


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