The Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL, Jun 16: The continuation of AFSPA, 1958 without reviewing it even after assuring that the review panel formed in this connection, comprising retired security personnel, would make the Act more humane is a clear indication of the government of India`s disregard for the sentiments and welfare of the people of Manipur.
Human Rights activist RK Anand made the above statement at the one day symposium on "June 18 was an outcome of government of India`s disregard for Manipuris" at GM Hall, today. Anand continued by saying, "Let us not let our mothers` historic protests at Kangla Gate go wasted by discontinuing our fight against AFSPA."
Since Article 3 of the Indian Constitution lay down that the territory of any Indian state could be changed by the central government, Anand pointed out that not reviewing the same clearly shows that despite of being a part of India, Manipur is still not treated on par with other states.
Stating that the unfortunate June 18, 2001 incident was one of the glaring examples of the fact that government of India have no regard for the sentiments of the people of Manipur, Anand said, "Knowing fully well that signing the Bangkok Declaration whereby the Naga ceasefire was to be extended `without territorial limits`, the stand of the government of India that it was willing to compromise the territorial integrity of Manipur was most evident".
Anand also appealed the people of Manipur not to sell oneself at any price. He said that the government as well as security forces should not be allowed to fix the price of a Manipuri woman`s dignity at Rs 25,000 or lives at Rs 1,00,000 or the right to vote for responsible leaders at Rs 500.
Y Rupachandra, secretary general Manipur Press Club; M Shubhas, president Manipuri Youth Organisation; SK Shidant, lecturer Biramangol College; and N Amumacha, president Proletariat People Welfare Organisation were the presidium members along with Anand.
The symposium was organised by Manipuri Youth Organisation. Many eminent civil society organisations` leaders addressed the gathering. Floral tributes were also paid to the 18 martyrs of June 18, 2001.