TODAY -

Rajnath petitioned for lifting CrPC from Ukhrul
Source: Hueiyen News Service / Newmai News Network/

Dimapur, August 24 2014: The Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) and the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), Thailand have petitioned Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today for the withdrawal of Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and restoration of normalcy in Ukhrul district headquarters, Manipur and its surrounding areas.

In the joint petition, the NPMHR and the AIPP expressed their deeply concerned with the alleged continued suspension of freedom of movement and association in and around Ukhrul town with the imposition of Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (S.144 CrPC) since July 13 .

According to the petition, the whole of Ukhrul district headquarters and its surrounding areas is heavily militarized with the deployment of hundreds of Manipur police commandos and Indian Reserved Battalion (IRB) since the unfortunate killing of Mr.Ngalangzar Malue, a member of the Autonomous District Council (ADC).

On July 12, the local civil society organizations conducted an on-the-spot investigation of the killing of Mr.Ngalangzar Malue at Finch Corner, Ukhrul district, Manipur followed by assessment of the situation and subsequently communicated to Naga civil society organisations of no imminent threat of public unrest resulting from the incident, the petition stated.

The Naga civil society organizations condemned the killing as senseless and hurting the sentiments of the people.

On July 13 (before daylight), Government of Manipur raided the public liaison office of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) and arrested 8 cadres who were present in the office.

On the same day, Section 144 of the Indian Criminal Procedure Code (S.144 CrPC) was imposed in the district headquarters, it added.

No organisation or individual has claimed the killing till date the Government of Manipur has been sending state armed forces wave after wave without providing any justification to the public.

Naga civil society organizations have protested against the undemocratic action of the GoM and submitted several memorandums to both the state and central authorities, stated the joint petition of NPMHR and AIPP to the Union Home minister.

It then said the suspension of freedom of movement and association based on the apprehension of public nuisance and disturbance of public tranquility is utterly baseless and arbitrary in this particular case.

It amounts to penalizing the public in order to provoke them and create a volatile situation motivated by vested political interests.

The civil society organizations are important institutions of any democratic society and has carried out their rightful duty in condemning the killing and assessing the situation for preemptive measures of any perceived social unrest following the incident.

"We are dismayed that the authorities have completely ignored the plea for restoration of normalcy and for providing substantial facts for the imposition of S.144 CrPC as required by law.

This clearly proves that there exist no such circumstances under which S.144 CrPC can be imposed.

Further, sending in more armed forces into the area is deepening the distrust and hurt caused by the action of the Government of Manipur which amount to waging psychological warfare against the people," the joint petition stated.

According to NPMHR and AIPP, the State authorities have also been trying to take the issue out of context by arguing that Manipur does not come under ceasefire coverage area signed between the Central Government and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM).

However, the imposition of S.144 CrPC has no relationship with the ceasefire or the peace talks.

We do not see any reason in the GoM dragging in the issue of ceasefire and peace talks in this context.

The issue of peace process should be dealt with at the appropriate level in a democratic manner even if there are disagreements within the government setup.

S.144 is a specific law under the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) of 1973 and therefore its application is specific and in accordance with the rule of law, requires providing reasonable material facts of imminent threat (that exists) to public order or tranquility.

It is a tool to provide security to the general public and should not be used as a tool for repression of the general public.

The NPMHR and AIPP said the suspension of freedom of movement and association for more than a month, contrary to the fundamental rights of citizens without any justification is arbitrary and is a matter of serious concern.

It is causing harm to the social, economic and mental health of the people in and around Ukhrul district headquarters.

The NPMHR and AIPP then appeal the Union Home minister to intervene and uphold the fundamental rights and freedoms based on the state's human rights obligations under national and international laws, and democratic principles and values.

"We highly value your position and capacity to address the situation in Ukhrul district, Manipur in consistence with human rights and democratic principles.

With this great sense of urgency, we urge your intervention to address that for the revocation of Section 144 of CrPC from in and around Ukhrul district, Manipur," the joint petition stated.

The NPMHR and AIPP demanded for the withdrawal all the Manipur police commandos and Indian Reserved Battalion (IRB) that is stationed in and around Ukhrul district, Manipur.

They then urged the Government of Manipur to apologize to the people of Ukhrul district, Manipur for its arbitrary actions and causing social trauma.


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