CM spells out logic for Jun 18 declaration
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, July 12: Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh today informed the House that his Government had announced June 18 as State Integrity Day and a State holiday ahead of the UNC-sponsored Naga Solidarity Rally in the hill districts on July 16 and the proposed public rally of the UCM in connection with the June 18 Uprising observance to dissuade school and college students from taking part in such demonstration.

Ibobi made this observation in response to a Call Attention Motion raised by MLAs BD Behring, L Ibomcha and Henry Paotei on the present unsettling law and order situation in the State as a direct fallout of the shooting of a civilian by IRB personnel at Senapati district.

The Chief Minister noted that June 18 has always been a holiday since 2002.It is also on record that August 4 every year from 1998 to 2001 has been declared as State Integrity Day in connection with the mass public rally organised by AMUCO in 1997.Declaration of holiday on June 18 was previously done one day before.

But this time it was done a few days earlier in view of the unsettling situation prevailing in the hills and the valley districts, the Chief Minister contended.

Asserting that the June 18 Uprising was not against any particular community, the Chief Minister said it is assumed that declaration of holiday on June 18 would not hurt that sentiments of any group of people.

However, it does not meant that any Cabinet decision had been taken to make it a General or Restricted Holiday, the Chief Minister clarified.

He further said whether June 18 should be a general or restricted holiday or holiday should not be declared on this day from at all next year could be discussed mutually.

Referring to the imposition of indefinite economic blockade by ANSAM to protest declaration of holiday on June 18, Ibobi said his Government had send official letters through Francis Ngajokpa who is the Minister in-charge of Senapati district for holding talks with the agitating students' body to resolve the matter thrice.

But ANSAM has laid down the condition that the declaration of the holiday on June 18 should be revoked first of all and Senapati be the venue of the talks to be attended by Chief Minister and Chief Secretary.

There is nothing wrong in holding the talks at Senapati.

After all Senapati is a part of Manipur.

But it might lead to an unhealthy precedence in which the agitators dictate their terms for holding talks and where it should be held in future, Chief Minister maintained.

It is the rights of the people to lodge their protest in a democratic country.

But to impose indefinite economic blockade is unheard of any where in the world, the Chief Minister said, while appealing to ANSAM to call off their agitation in view of the difficulties being faced by the people.

He also sought the support of all the members of the House in bringing about an amicable solution to end the deadlock.

Raising the motion in the House, BJP MLA BD Behring expressed unhappiness over the action of the IRB personnel in shooting innocent civilians and charged that Government with failure in taking up timely action to prevent burning down of Government offices in the hill districts.

FPM MLA L Ibomcha said that violent incident which took place in the hills was unfortunate while highlighting the difficulties being faced by the people due to escalating prices of essential commodities following the indefinite economic blockade.

Another FPM MLA Henry Paotei appealed to the Chief Minister for taking up steps to end the ongoing impasse.