EPs converge under AMUCO to discuss social ties
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, July 05: With a view to improve the social relations amongst the communities of Manipur in the backdrop of the National Highway blockades, past and present, Eminent Persons Group (EPG) met today at Manipur Youth Centre, Khuman Lampak under the aegis of AMUCO.

In a statement, AMUCO said that the meeting dwelt at length on three pertinent points-adverse impact resulting from NH blockades, the dangers of engineered and designed inter-ethnic violence which could be sponsored any time by vested interests for the sole objective of acquiring territorial aggrandisement or by covert agencies on the State and socio-economic agenda for uplifting the under privileged in the State, with special emphasis on the hill areas of Manipur.

After minutely discussing the situation, the EPG arrived at three broad consensus, said AMUCO adding that the EPG were of the opinion that any form of NH blockades launched for any public grievances or common cause for over 24 hours hits the common people the hardest as it is �deprivation of their means of survival and damaging their right to life�.

Even during war time, enforced starvation is considered a war crime, the EPG noted and added that other forms of democratic protests may be adopted to advance their legitimate grievances.

The EPG also strongly appealed to the student body behind the economic blockade to abandon this specific mode of protest which tantamounts to punishing 24 lakh people for no fault of theirs, particularly the hill people and the plain people in general.

A couple of EPG also mooted the idea of setting up NH patrolling police force on a priority basis and to draw the attention of the Govt to the confusion created by its declaration of August 4 as Integrity day and a half holiday and a State holiday on June 18 as Integrity day again.

A few EPG also expressed the idea that the mere declaration of a holiday, either restricted or general must not stand in the way of strengthening the age old unity of the people.

Nomenclature of a holiday or its structure should not be cause of driving a wedge between the majority and minority communities and both should refrain from doing anything that could damage the 2000 years old boundary of Manipur, the EPGs mooted.

Reaffirming its faith in the age old ties that exist amongst the different communities of the State, the EPGs however cautioned the civil societies, in the hill and plain to remain alert and foil any designs to promote inter-ethnic conflicts.

The EPGs also mooted the idea that the State Govt as well as the Centre recast their socio-economic policies in order to give thrust to the underprivileged people in the hill areas in particular and the entire population in general.