Thousands pay homage to martyrs' memorial site
Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, June 01 2009: Thousands of people of different communities including Naga and Kuki, wearing traditional dresses of their respective communities, today paid floral tributes to those who died in the movement for protection of territorial integrity of Manipur of which day has been observed as "The Great June Uprising" and "Integrity Day".

Eighteen people paid with their lives in indiscriminate firing by security personnel in the explosion of public outrage on the issue of Manipur's territorial integrity on June 18, 2001 after the ceasefire between the Centre and the NSCN-IM was extended "without territorial limits".

The United Committee Manipur (UCM) has been observing the day as the "Great June Uprising" with a public meeting held at Kekrpupat where the memorial site of the 18 victims is located while the All Manipur United Clubs' Organisation (AMUCO) observed the day as "Unity Day" with another public meeting held at THAU ground at Thangmeiband here.

From early morning till evening , a constant stream of people queued up to offer flowers and burn incense sticks at the memorial site of the 18 martyrs at Kekrupat in Imphal braving hot summer sun.

The mercury level raised upto 31 degree celsius at 11.20 am today in Imphal.

Photographs of four other persons who also died in related movement elsewhere were also kept at the memorial site.

Ministers, MLAs, political leaders turned up at the memorial site and participated in offering tributes.

However, they did not attend either of the public meetings.

Congress MP from Outer Manipur Parliamentary Constituency, Thangso Baite and senior most cabinet Minister of the SPF government, Th Debendra led the people in offering the floral tributes.

Works Minister, K Ranjit, IFC and YAS Minister N Biren, MLA and Chairman of Manitron Dr Kh Ratankumar, MLA and Congress Chief Whip Tongbram Mangibabu, CPI MLA N Mangi, Congress MLA and wife of Chief Minister O Ibobi, Landhoni Devi, former Minister Dr M Nara, etc.

were among those who offered flowers at Kekrupat.

Well known film artistes, Shumang Lila artistes, leaders of Film Forum Manipur, other eminent figures in the field of art and culture also took part in paying homage to the martyrs.

Apart from thousands of people belonging to different communities residing in the state who came to pay homage, there were mourners who had come all the way from Bangladesh, Assam and Tripura especially for this day.

Nagas, Kukis, Muslims and other communities in their traditional attires also turned up for the observance and paid homage to the June 18 martyrs.

Hundreds of policemen and Central paramilitary force stayed on alert in the vicinity of Kekrupat and THAU ground where public meetings were held.

All important markets in Imphal city remained closed.

Shops, hotels and other business establishments also remained closed.

Educational institutions were closed without officially declaring holiday.

No passenger vehicles plied.

However, many buses, vans, mini buses, Tata Magic, Jeeps, etc.

were seen transporting people from different parts of valley towards Kekrupat and THAU ground.

Though government offices were open as usual, percentage of attendance was very low.

In the aftermath of extension of ceasefire "without territorial limits" between the Centre and the NSCN-IM in June 2001, Manipur people strongly opposed the move and in the protests, people burnt the offices of all political parties and residences of the Chief Minister and MLAs.

The Manipur Assembly had resolved several times to protect the territorial integrity of Manipur and the Central Government had time and again announced that it would not extend the ceasefire beyond Nagaland.

The 18 martyrs who sacrificed their lives in the movement were Okram Ramananda from Langathel Mamang Leikai, Laitonjam Rajkumar of Uripok Khoisnam Leikai, Laishram Ongbi Tamphasana of Kwakeithel Moirang Purel, Thokchok Lalit, Yaiskul Janmasthan, Bachaspatimayum Naocha (Atang), Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai, Nishikanta Yumnam, Khagempalli, Amom Rajen Meetei, Naoremthong Takhellambam Leikai, Kshetrimayum Romeo, Singjamei Wangma Kshetri Leikai, Khoisnam Singhajit, Liwa Road Maibam Leikai, Gurumayum Dutt (Rishi), Kwakeithel Konjeng Leikai, Sagolshem Surchandra (Abungcha), Porompat Thawanthaba Leikai, Thokchom Wilson (Pappu), Nongmeibung bazar, Thoudam Guneshore, Khoijuman Mamang Leikai, Konsam Kameshore, Khurai Konsam Leikai, Kshetrimayum Jiban (Bocha), Khurai Konsam Leikai Heikrumakhong, Mayanglambam Manikanta Awang Sekmai, Thingom Birendro, Chingamakha Irom Leirak and Chabungbam Bharat (Bhagat), Awang Khunou Mamang Leikai.