The Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL, Feb 24: The underground Revolutionary People`s Front, RPF, has rejected the avenue of peace talks as a means of attaining the goals of the revolutionary movement, reposing faith in the armed struggle for achieving its objective of the liberation of Manipur from Indian rule.
The president of the underground group, Irengbam Chouren, made this assertion in a message issued to the people of Manipur on the occasion of the 27th anniversary of the RPF that falls tomorrow. As done in the past, the group will observe its anniversary as Independence Demand Day.
In his statement, Chouren observed that the revolutionary struggle progressing on the right path, with the revolutionary groups so far resisting the enticements of the Indian establishment. He stated that armed struggle remains the only means to attain the goals of the revolutionary movement and expressed confidence of eventually achieving the goal of liberation.
Categorically rejecting peace talks as an avenue for achieving the revolutionary goals, Chouren observed that India has been continuing its efforts to subsume the revolutionary movements of the region in the Indian political mainstream through the medium of peace talks.
He said it was evident from past and ongoing peace processes, that peace talks have been used as means to entice the revolutionary organisations into Indian politics.
Observing that revolutionary groups that were militarily undefeated were beaten at the negotiating table, he said Indian peace talks have been invariably oriented towards getting the underground groups to lay down arms, acknowledge Indian citizenship, and subsume them under the Indian constitution.
This is not a process through which Manipur`s liberation can be achieved, he reiterated, and said the pursuit of peace talks by any underground group with this hope would amount to deceiving the public and betraying their trust.
Expressing his firm belief in the eventual defeat of colonial regime, he said the RPF and its armed wing the PLA had no hesitation in seeking confrontation with the Indian `occupation forces`. A just struggle cannot be defeated, he said, citing the examples of Vietnam and Afghanistan.
There is however, still a need for mass participation of the Manipuri people in the revolutionary struggle, and to bring the desire of the Manipuri public for liberation to the knowledge of the international community, Chouren emphasized.
Stressing that careful study and adoption of appropriate strategies is essential in pursuing the revolutionary struggle against a numerically stronger enemy, he said the hardships and difficulties that the revolutionary groups face should be considered a test.
To take the struggle to the next level, tenacity and new strategies are required, he said, and cautioned revolutionary groups against taking the easy way out and sidelining the revolutionary struggle by wasting time and effort
Referring to the RPF`s policy of not targeting members of the state forces, the underground leader reiterated that it considers the ongoing conflict one between India and Manipur, that has arisen out of the former`s annexation of the latter. The struggle, is therefore, one against colonial regime and its forces, and the RPF has avoided clashes with the local forces as far as possible.
However, given the fact that some sections of the state security forces have persisted in actively working against the underground groups, a fresh look has become necessary, he said.
Observing that some sections of the local security gorces have completely identified themselves with Indian interests, Chouren warned that that these sections may now be targeted by the underground group.
Reiterating that preserving the integrity of Manipur is intimately associated with the goal of its liberation, the RPF chief said the most important task before the people of Manipur is to resolve the differences existing among different communities of the state, and build a unified movement for its liberation.
He also expressed his firm belief that the phenomenon of diffrent communities persuing their own individual revolutionary movements has been counterproductive to the overall goal, and expressed fears that it might lead to civil war in Manipur, as had occurred in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The revolutionary movement cannot be a success unless the unity of the various communities is kept as its top priority, Chouren said, and urged the people of Manipur to take a unified stance on the issue of the revolutionary struggle.
In this context, he also cautioned the public against the divide and rule role of the Indian government, charging that the Naga peace talks has been used in the past eight years as a wedge among the various communities of Manipur. He appealed to the hill communities in particular not to let the unity among the communities of Manipur to be sidelined in the name of Naga integration.
He stated further that in the context of the revolutionary struggle, there is no distinction between revolutionary soldier or innocent civilian. Terming the efforts of the colonial regime to wean away civil society from the underground groups as mere deceit, he said when the struggle intensifies, the colonial regime too will make no distinction between insurgent and civilian. This is evident from the behaviour of Indian troops towards civilians in the past, he said, and said every citizen should extend aid for the success of the revolutionary struggle.