TODAY -

Rally denounces rights violation
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, January 31 2020: A mass rally against alleged atrocities and sexual violence committed by Assam Rifles and Indian armed forces against the people of Manipur, was organised at Imphal today.

The rally, which was followed by a public meeting, was organised in light of the recent alleged harassment and assault on a lady IPS officer by an Assam Rifles personnel at Khudengthabi check post on January 19.The rally, organised by Indigenous Women Forum, was flagged off from WAL United Club ground (Wangkhei Angom Leikai).

It passed New Checkon, Hatta Minuthong, North AOC, Khoyathong before concluding at Thangmeiband Athletic Union (THAU) ground.

A large number of participants, comprising of men, women, students and CSO leaders, shouted slogans like 'Go back Assam Rifles', 'NE people are not sacrificial lambs', 'We want peace, not militarization', 'Punish Indian Armed Forces for committing sexual violence', and 'Stop genocidal act Indian Army' etc.

After the rally reached THAU ground, a public meeting was organised.

Speaking at the gathering, All Manipur United Clubs Organisation (AMUCO) president Ph Nando Luwang compared the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) to a force which feeds on the lives of the innocent men and women of the region.

The people and many human rights organisations have been constantly demanding the Act to be revoked.

However, no such actions have been taken up till date, and the people are still suffering under the shadow of this Act.

Nando opined that with women becoming more of an election commodity nowadays in Manipur, the number of women standing for the protection of their rights or guarding the interests of the State seem to be dwindling at a rapid pace.

Pointing out that delivering justice through the proper channel of the law takes time, Nando conveyed that there are two challenges in the attempt to reduce the number of crimes against women.

They are the challenge in the Court/or in front of the law and the challenge in a society, he said, stressing on the need to pile pressure on the Government and the authorities as well.

On the other hand, United NGOs Mission, Manipur (UNM-M) secretary U Nobokishore said that the Assam Rifles deployed in Manipur are supposed to aid in the civil administration of the State and as such they should be under the District Administration.

He continued that Amnesty International and various human rights groups as well as experts have often criticised AFSPA for it violates human rights.

Moreover, a report from a high level special committee constituted by the Supreme Court in 2005 had even claimed that the Act was being misused for human rights violation and other atrocities.

No security force, in the name of conflict or war, can ever commit atrocities against innocent civilians.

Such actions will constitute war crimes and are vehemently criticised by International laws, he added.

Informing that India ratified the Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of the United Nations General Assembly on December 9, 1948, Nobokishore said that it is reasonable and logical for the people to demand the forces to leave the State if they (forces) do not heed the Supreme Court, UN and International Laws.

Speaking at the public meeting, Ching Tam Apunba Nupi Lup president Lalam Mate said that there have been many instances of atrocities and crimes committed by the Assam Rifles and the Indian Army on the innocent people, specially women, of Manipur in the past, which brings the need of a mechanism to prevent such incidents in the future.

Lalam Mate stressed on the importance of the leaders and the authorities concerned to take serious note of the issue and come up with an alternative instead of relying on such forces.

The State police and Manipur Rifles should be strengthened.

The people on the other hand, also need to stand up, united, against the atrocities committed by the Indian security forces, the Ching Tam Apunba Nupi Lup president said.

All Manipur Nupi Marup president M Sakhi Devi said that the alleged acts committed by an AR personnel on a lady IPS officer at Khudengthabi brings up the possibility that similar or even far more repulsive acts might have been committed against other women in the State which have not gained attention.

The leaders of the State must bring up the issue in the State Assembly and the Cabinet, and decide to remove the Assam Rifles from Manipur, she demanded.

The MPs of Manipur need to come out strongly in the Parliament, instead of lying timidly in the corner, if the plan is to face AFSPA and other similar issues plaguing the State, she conveyed.


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