The Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL, Mar 9: Demanding the safe release of church leader and human rights activist Dr. T Lunkim, who has been under detention by the underground Kuki Liberation Army, KLA for over seven weeks, massive rallies were taken out today at Saikul, Churachandpur and Moreh, organised under the aegis of the Kuki Students Organisation, KSO.
At Saikul, several thousand people participated in the rally organised at the Saikul public ground against the abduction and prolonged detention of Dr. T Lunkim.
Defying warnings against participating in the rally, an estimated 7800 people marched from the Thangkanphai village playground to the Saikul public ground calling for the safe relese of Dr. Lunkim.
A memorandum addressed to the state chief minister was submitted to the SDO/BDO seeking the intervention of the state government.
Rev Y Haokip, secretary of the Kuki Church Leaders Fellowship, Thangminlen Haokip, general secretary, KSO general headquarters, Hevah Kipgen, secretary, Kuki Women`s Union and Paokam, president, Kuki Inpi, Saikul-Gilhom addressed the gathering and strongly appealed for the safe release of Dr. T Lunkim.
In Churachandpur, around 6000 people took to the streets demanding the safe release of Dr. T Lunkim.
Congregating at the Tuibong peace ground, the rallyists took out a silent procession along the Tiddim Road and the DC Approach Road, before convening at the Tuibong community hall where a public meeting was held.
Students from nine different schools in the town, apart from members of the Zomi Students Federation, Hmar Students Assocation, and the Mizo Zirlai Pawl took part in the protest rally. Members of the Zomi Mothers Association, Mizo Zirlai Pawl (Women`s Wing) also participated in the programme, along with a large number of church leaders.
Banners and placards carried by the rallyists declared: `Kuki Nampi protest against abduction of pastor Dr. T Lunkim by KLA on 17/1/06`, `KSO for justice`, `KLO has no agenda for Kukis`, `KLA are captors`, `KLA lost public confidence`, and `we stand by pastor Dr. T Lunkim`.
At the public meeting held at the end of the rally, the findings of a fact-finding committee on Dr. T Lunkim`s abduction and steps taken so far to secure his release were highlighted.
A joint declaration was also adopted appealing to the KLA/KLO for the safe and unconditional release of Dr. T Lunkim, and further appealing to all underground groups not to repeat such acts of betrayal in the future.
At the border town of Moreh, large numbers of people belonging to various communities participated in the rally lasting from 9 am to 1:30 pm to register their protest against Dr. T Lunkim`s abduction and arbitrary detention.
The Hill Tribal Council, Moreh, Kuki Women Union and Human Rights, Moreh, Pastor Fellowship, Moreh, and the KSO, Chandel and Moreh endorsed the rally and pledged to support whatever course of action is taken by the Kuki Nampi in connection with Dr. T Lunkim`s abduction.
In connection with the rally, Moreh bazar observed a bandh from 9 am to 2 pm today. No untoward incidents were reported.
(With input from M Kaimuanthang in Churachandpur and Ashem Lalit in Moreh)