AMUCO, UCM join hands in paying tributes to June 18 martyrs as all roads lead to Kekrupat
Collective voice raised to protect unity and integrity
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, June 18 2013: All roads led to Kekrupat as thousands of people from different parts of the State made their way to the sacred site to pay their homage and respect to the 18 souls who laid down their lives to protect the territorial integrity of the day, during the function jointly organised by the All Manipur United Clubs Organisation and the United Committee, Manipur under the theme, Unity Day and Great June Uprising.

In all 13 previous lives were lost in the spontaneous public agitation which erupted on June 18, 2001 in protest against the extension of the ceasefire 'without territorial limits' signed between the NSCN (I-M) and the Government of India at Bangkok on June 14, 2001 .

In subsequent related agitations, five other persons also lost their lives besides four more in other related incidents, totalling the number of people who sacrificed their lives for the cause of safeguarding the territorial integrity of Manipur to 22 .

They were Thokchom Lalit of Yaiskul, B Naocha Sharma of Keishamthong, Nishikanta Yumnam of Khagempalli, Rajen Meitei of Naoremthong, Ksh Romeo of Singjamei Wangma.

K Singhajit of Liwa Lambi, G Dutta Sharma of Konjeng Leikai, S Surchandra of Porompat, Th Wilson of Nongmeibung, Thoudam Guneshore of Khoijuman, K Kameshore of Khurai, Ksh Jiban of Khurai, M Manikanta of Awang Sekmai, Okram Ramananda of Langathel, L Rajkumar of Uripok, L Thamphasana of Kwakeithel, Th Birendro of Chingamakha, Ch Bharat of Awang Khunou, Md Jama Uddin of Yairipok, Md Nawaz Khan of Yairipok, Wahengbam Devdutta of Langmeidong and Amom Rakesh of Elangkhangpokpi.

People paying tributes at the memorial site in Kekrupat
People paying tributes at the memorial site in Kekrupat

From early morning, people from different parts of the State and from different walks of life streamed into Kekrupat to pay their homage and offer a general salute to the brave hearts who died in police firing on June 18, 2001 .

Family members of the slain persons, people from different communities, political leaders, including Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam and member of different civil society organisations turned up to pay their respect to the departed souls.

People from outside Manipur also turned up to pay their respect.

The underlying message of the day from all those gathered for the day was 'Manipur's territorial integrity cannot be compromised', 'Any danger posed to the integrity of Manipur would be met fittingly, even to the extent of laying down one's life', 'Not an inch of Manipur's land would be ceded to anyone' .

Along with paying tributes to the departed souls, a public meeting was also held to mark the day which was preceded by according respect and due acknowledgement to the kins and family members of the slain persons.

A number of eminent personalities including the chairman of the 12th June Uprising, Unity Day Observation Committee, KT Rehman who is also the president of AMUCO, vice chairman of the Committee, Y Nabachandra, president of the UCM, leaders from different communities, represen- tatives of different civil society organisations addressed the gathering.

Presenting the core theme of the day, convenor of the Observa-tion Committee, Joychandra Konthoujam said that people rose as one on June 18, 2001 to oppose the Bangkok Declara-tion inked between the NSCN (IM) and Delhi on June 14, 2001 which incorporated the clause, 'ceasefire without terri-torial limits'.

This was after the two sides signed the cease fire pact on August 1, 1997 .

Apart from the 18 persons who laid down their lives to protect the territorial integrity of Manipur, several others suffered grievous injuries from police action, recalled Joychandra.

It was during the spontaneous response of the people that several Government buildings, including the State Assembly were set afire.

Since then June 18 has been observed as The Great June Uprising by the UCM and Unity Day by the AMUCO, he said and with the vision to forge a united stand against any design to tamper with the territory of Manipur, AMUCO and UCM along with several other civil society organisations have come together this year to observe the day jointly under the theme, The Great June Uprising and Unity Day, he added.

Addressing the gathering, KT Rehman said that there is no let up on the part of the Government of India to sow the seeds of suspicion and hatred amongst the 39 indigenous communities of Manipur.

"It is imperative that the people keep their ears and eyes open to the double standard policy pursued by the Government of India", he added.

In the same breath, Rehman said that it serves no purpose to commit oneself to protecting the integrity of Manipur, if the people are immersed in drug abuse.

It is for this very reason, why AMUCO has taken a serious view of the rampant drug trafficking and drug trade in Manipur, he said.

In his address, UCM president Y Nabachandra recalled before the election to the Nagaland State Legislative Assembly, the political leaders of Nagaland had come under a common platform to settle the issue.

The election has been held, but now the question of settling the issue has been pushed to the back burner, he said.

This is a clear indication that the political leaders of Nagaland are not sincere in resolving the issue.

Floral tributes being paid to martyrs of the June, 2001 Movement at an anniversary function held at Bangalore (Top) Volunteers donating blood on the occasion of June 18 anniversary at RIMS (Bottom)
Floral tributes being paid to martyrs of the June, 2001 Movement at an anniversary function held at Bangalore (Top) Volunteers donating blood on the occasion of June 18 anniversary at RIMS (Bottom)

Asserting that interdependence amongst the different communities has been the defining characteristic of Manipur, Nabachandra said that it would not be feasible for the Nagas, the Kukis, the Meitei Pangals and the Meiteis to survive alone, by carving out their own separate States.

As such earmark- ing territories as Naga territory or Kuki territory or Mei- tei territory would not benefit anyone nor bring development and progress, he opined.

Manipur can hope to see better days and progress only when the different communities shed their differences and live in a state of mutual respect and harmony, he opined.

Touching on the core theme of observing the day for the last 12 years, Nabachandra said that it is a reflection of the people's stand that they would not tolerate any design to compromise with the territory of Manipur and any such design would be met fittingly by the people.

Social scientist Dhanabir Laishram opined that until and unless the people learn to live in a state of mutual harmony, the future of Manipur would be bleak in the face of the Look East Policy as well as in the emerging trend of globalisation.

Advisor of the Observation Committee, RK Ranen- drajit said that it is important to identify the elements who have been leaving no stones unturned to drive wedges amongst the different communities of Manipur.

IPSA advisor, Ibotombi Khuman observed that artistes and writers have a huge responsibility in fostering bettering understanding between the different communities of the land.

A number of public leaders, including former president of UCM K Langngamba, president of Poirei Leimarol Apunba Meira Paibi Lup, Memchoubi, AMKIL president Ph Sakhi Leima, Kuki Inpi President Thangkhosai Haokip, president of All Manipur Muslim Women's Organisation Sitara Begum also addressed the gathering and stressed communal harmony.

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