TODAY -

Churachandpur rallies to demand political dialogue with SoO groups
Source: The Sangai Express / S Singlianmang Guite

Lamka, July 05 2013 : Against the backdrop of Assam Rifles personnel raiding the residence of a top functionary of a armed group under SoO, tens of thousands of people today joined the peace rally organized by ZSF to take home their demand to immediately start political dialogue with SoO groups and initiate action against security personnel who violated the ground rules.

The rallyists, about 5000 school going students and over ten thousand residents walked about 1.5 km to hand over two separate memoranda addressed both to the Prime Minister and the Union Home Secretary.

Throughout the rally, they held placards and banners that were intended to deliver their demands and protests.

"When law enforcers become law breakers, innocent civilians become the first casualty; start political dialogue for peace and security; honour SoO ground rules for peace and security; we want political solution not military solution; stop military excesses; we condemn the raid on the residence of the President of ZRO; Is SoO a license to indulge in wanton act?, etc.

were prominently displayed throughout the rally.



Churachandpur rallies to demand political dialogue with SoO groups
Churachandpur rallies to demand political dialogue with SoO groups


In their memo that was addressed to the Prime Minister and was handed over to the Additional DC Maniram Sharma, the ZSF said the signing of SoO has substantially reduced armed related violence, however, five years down the line "we are yet to learn any news about political dialogue being held between SoO groups and the government" .

The prolonged delay is frustrating and could be counter-productive in future, it added even as it said repeated violation of SoO ground rules by security forces in another serious concern.

They cited the raid on ZRO president's residence as one such instance.

Therefore, the ZSF said it beseeched the Prime Minister to initiate political dialogue with all SoO signatories particularly the UPF, who demand was the creation of Autonomous Hill State without disturbing the State's integrity.

Memo meant for the Home Secretary said although the valley and hill areas of Manipur are placed under a single administration, both entities are uniquely different from one another in many ways.

The core issue, therefore, is neither law and order nor developmental, but political in nature.

Further delay in initiating dialogue could be interpreted as indication of Government's insincerity in pushing the peace process to its logical end, it added.

Today's rally could immediately be traced alongside the raid on the residence of ZRO president on the early hours of Wednesday, but the sheer turn-out is expected to surely have a bigger ramification on the SoO ground rules and its dialogue.

If the turn-out is anything to go by, it is evident that the government's pace is not up to the pace the public has expected and that the tribal armed groups has still enjoyed a massive public backing.


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