TODAY -

Editorial of the week

YEAR 2001, JUNE
Courtesy: The Sangai Express 1st June, 2002

There are few dates from the pages of history that one has on one's finger tips and for the people of Manipur there are two dates that will automatically be on their finger tips no matter how old or young. June 14 and June 18, 2001. To many in Manipur these two dates will simply refuse to fade away from memory and the events that unfolded after the Bangkok Declaration on June 14, 2001 will stay forever etched in the history of Manipur. The importance of these two dates can be gauged from the fact that even though June is still a good one month away and June 14 and 18 more than a month to come by, already people of Manipur are gearing up to observe these two solemn dates. The United Committee, Manipur which spearheaded the anti-ceasefire agitation has already gone ahead and announced that it would observe the Great June 18 Uprising Day and has urged the people to come out and fully participate in the proceedings of the day. Likewise the All Manipur United Clubs' Organization has also announced that it would organize mass sit-in-protests all over the State on June 14 to protest the divisive policies pursued by the Indian Government. Inherent in the call of these two voluntary organizations is the need to keep reminding the people of the need to protect the territorial integrity of Manipur and promote harmony amongst all the communities living in the State. The call of the two organizations also testifies that the apprehension in the minds of the people that the territorial integrity of Manipur might be compromised by the Indian Government is yet to go and not without reason. Adding fuel to the apprehension and suspicion of the people was the declaration or rather white paper adopted during the Naga Hoho deliberations at Senapati which called for the amalgamation of all Naga inhabited areas under one administrative umbrella and the utterances of Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga that he favors a cease fire between the Government of India and the NSCN (IM) without boundaries.

Even as the peace talk is in progress and even as there is still the lurking doubt that the Centre may reneged on its earlier assurances and try to compromise with the territorial integrity of Manipur, it is important that the people of Manipur see the June 18 uprising in its true perspective. June 18, 2001 and the events that unfolded should not be seen only through the great sacrifices of the 14 martyrs. The events that unfolded after the uprising on June 18 left a great impact not only on the movement against the cease fire extension but on all spheres of live. Every Manipuri should be proud of the fact that there was not a single incident of communal violence or even the slightest insinuation against any community. Without exaggerating we would certainly like to add that Manipuris taught the country how an agitation should he curried out without targeting any community. This is not to say that there was no tension as it would amount to hypocrisy, but certainly the tension was created more by a few vested interests than the process of the agitation itself. The anti-cease fire agitation also had a profound effect on the political climate of the State. Self serving political leaders were shown in no uncertain terms that they can no longer continue horsing around for the sake of power and Ministerial kursis. So even as UCM and AMUCO get ready to pay homage to the martyrs who laid down their lives to protect the territorial integrity of Manipur, let's all remember June 14 and June 18 2001 as not only the dates which prompted people to come marching out on the streets but also as the dates which exposed the mature approach of the people and the commitment of all to maintain communal harmony in the face of adverse circumstances. This valued lesson should not be forgotten at any cost.


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