TODAY -
Manipur in 2006: No respite from violence, again
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, December 30: With only a few hours left for advent of a new year, the Year 2006 could be simply summed up as no different from the past many years for many Manipuris as there was no respite from violence.

With violent incidents rapidly becoming synonymous with Manipur the State people like in the past had to silently endure inconveniences caused by rampant bandh, blockade, and demonstrations in addition to suffering human casualties owing to violence all undoubtedly considered impediments to development.

During 2006 maximum number of days were under the spell of agitation of different forms launched by different civil society organization and pressure groups on varied issues ranging from insurgency related killings to alleged abuse of human rights by the security forces.

Another despicable feature during the year concerns rise in cases of setting fire to government institutions.

Information culled by the press clearly illustrates that from April 1 till July 31, 2006, the state was literally pinned down under the spell of agitations for 53 day including economic blockades along the two national highways apart from 81 days affected due to partial bandhs.

Union planning commission's record suggest that Manipur suffered a loss of Rs 2.41 crore per day in greater Imphal alone owing to various form of agitation.

The ongoing agitation demanding repeal of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958 is in fact common to all groups.

major incidents of 2006 include agitations against alleged atrocities committed upon M Naobi Chanu in the custody of Thoubal police commandos with women based organisations demanding punishment of those security personnel involved in the case.

Naobi was picked up on February 21.Since May the United Naga Council has been intensifying its noncooperation movement against the Manipur government.

The movement is being made to fulfill aspirations of the Nagas to create �greater Nagalim�.

On July 10 Naga volunteers specially students burnt texts books prescribed by the Board of Secondary Education Manipur on ground that schools in Naga dominated areas be affiliated to Nagaland board .

Since the Delimitation Commission of India gave its approval to upgrade Jiribam sub-division to a revenue district on November 20 the locals under the banner of Jiribam District Demand Committee launched agitation demanding district status be conferred without further delay even though a positive decision eluded a state cabinet meeting on Nov 27.Chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh was of the view that the demand is justified but the government is waiting to restore Sadar hills to upgrade it to a full fledged.

Chief Minister's version added more fuel to the agitators.

Despite strong protest from environmentalist and number of NGOs against the government's move to construct Tipaimukh dam Union power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde laid the foundation stone for 1500 MW project on Dec 16. In the midst of stirs, shockwaves reverberated through the country and beyond when terror struck devotees during a religious celebration at the Iskcon temple on August 16 leaving six people killed and injuring over forty including Iskocn's international director Damodara Swami and some foreigners.

Swami also passed away on October 2.Prominent figures of the state including former Chief minister RK Ranbir passed away followed by demise of Manipur's melody king N Pahari on October 19.Amid the turbulent days Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh made a whistle stop visit on December 2 and laid three foundation stones of different establishments at Imphal besides announcing certain economic packages.

However, the prople, were not happy when Singh announced that the government is considering amending certain provisions of the military act.

President Dr Abdul Kalam too made a brief visit and addressed the 10 convocation of Manipur University on October 16.All is not lost , Manipur cheered at a point of time in November after lady pugilist MC Mary Kom won the world titles three years in a row the latest being 4th world women's boxing championship held at New Delhi.

Sarita Devi of Thoubal also won a gold in the same championship.


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