CM's absence leaves no dent on UCM's program
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, June 18: Amid massive traffic re-arrangement and restrictions and heavy deployment of security force the 4th anniversary of the mass public movement to protest extension of NSCN (IM)-Govt of India ceasefire to Manipur was held today without any incident.

The anniversary observation organised by the United Committee Manipur (UCM) as �The Great June Uprising Day� was attended by a large number of people who negotiated their way through the security barriers put up at different strategic locations and converged at Kekrupat to pay floral tributes at the memorial site of the 18 persons who laid down their lives on June 18 and in related agitations thereafter.

The observation was held despite the Government enforcing CrPC 144 prohibiting the assembly of more than five persons at a place.

The Govt had also announced a ban on public meetings and use of microphones today.

The homage paying ceremony formally began from around 3 am with an all community prayer, rituals and rendition of patriotic numbers followed by the victims� families offering floral tributes.

With the State authorities prohibiting public meeting and restricting passage of public carriers loaded with mourners past the Raj Bhavan Gate, tribute payers coming from Thoubal and along the Tiddim Line were diverted at several points and made to walk from near Khuman Lampak towards Kekrupat.

As part of the anniversary observation, band party of the Manipur Rifles paid the general salute at 7 am consequently followed by a two minute silence in honour of the departed souls.

Unlike in the past few years, where the Chief Minister usually joined the people of offering tributes to the departed souls of the 18 persons, Okram Ibobi Singh was conspicuously absent this year.

However, his other ministerial colleagues and MLAs as well as Lok Sabha MP Dr T Meinya were present at the occasion.

In his brief interaction with some newspersons at Kekrupat SPF spokesperson Gaikhangam expressed a keen desire to discard the notion of being belonging to the Kuki, Naga or Meitei community but live as one entity.

The spokesperson, however, remained non-committal when confronted with the question pertaining to the recent Naga unification rallies in the hill districts.

On the other hand the Lok Sabha MP Dr Meinya reaffirmed that there is no question of compromising territorial integrity of Manipur.

Commercial establishments in the capital districts downed shutters for the day and inter-district passenger transport service remained suspended.

A blood donation camp in the nearby MMTA complex was also conducted under the aegis of UCM wherein 21 persons, including four females donated bloods.

The camp was held under the all supervision of RIMS Hospital�s medical personnel Dr Nando and Blood Bank Organiser Brajakumar Sharma.

Addressing the impressive gathering UCM president Sapamcha Jadumani expressed confidence that the people are maturity enough and possess patriotic zeal to challenge any force on Earth in protecting the interest of the people.

Dispelling skepticism of the ongoing GoI-NSCN (IM) peace talks culminating with the disintegration of Manipur, Jadumani said past movements of the people in denouncing extension of ceasefire limit till Manipur and intense opposition to continuation of AFSPA in the State had prevailed upon the Centre against any decision detrimental to the interest of the general public.

The Govt of India cannot consider interest of the NSCN (IM) more valuable than that of the Manipur masses, he asserted.

Referring to the June 16 Naga unification Rally staged in the hill districts, the UCM president contended that many of the rallyists who took part in the event due to coercion by armed outfit are against breaking up Manipur.

Acknowledging popular sentiment, he exuded confidence that the fifth anniversary next year could be held under the joint auspices of UCM and AMUCO.

In his brief address, �freedom� daily editor RK Ranendrajit called upon the people irrespective economic and social status or religious affiliation to introspect in finding an answer on origin of threat perception to the territorial integrity and architect behind the divide and rule policy.

Advisor of All Manipur Muslim Coordination Committee Abdul Khalif prevailed upon the majority community to understand and respect the sentiment and aspiration of other communities in order to establish an egalitarian society which could subsequently strengthen bond of brotherly relationships.

Presidium members comprising of H Baite (Baite national Council), Rose Mangshi (Manipur Kuki Mothers Association), Sh Shamu (MAPI Council), Kamolung Kamei (Kabui Mothers Association) W Shyamjai (editor - Kangleipakki Meiraa), social activists Ibotombi Khuman and Rangmenmai Kamei also gave clarion calls for unity of the people.