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‘Go Back Army’ Slogans Rise in Manipur

Sabrang India |
From Ukhrul to Bhadradrikothagudem, citizens resist militaisation, demand AFSPA repeal


Ukhrul: Large crowds of protesters gathered at the Ukhrul district headquarters in Manipur on Thursday and participated in a peace rally against the alleged forceful stationing of Assam Rifles in nine villages of Ukhrul and Kamjong districts. Organised by the local community organisatins of the Tangkhuls, the protestors demanded immediate withdrawal of Assam Rifles camps being set up in their villages and also for removal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958.

The peace rally began at 10:30 am from two locations-Mission ground, Hunphun and Dungrei junction, Hungpung and converged at Ava Market (Mothers’ Market) at Phungreitang.Slogans like ‘Go back Indian Army’, ‘We will never surrender’, ‘We want peace, not war,’ and ‘Democracy our right’ were rang out during the protests.

According to organizations from among Tangkhul civil society (CSOs), public spaces such as playgrounds, schools and children’s homes and community halls are presently being used as camps by Assam Rifles, thereby restricting the lives and freedom of citizens. Moreover, security check posts have been set up, and locals are being subjected to scrutiny as they go about their lives. Besides, women and children especially are subjected to the fears caused by this unwarranted situation in the guise of AFSPA, 1958, it stated. Also, according to the local organisations, elders yet to recover from trauma caused by the army’s violence are being subjected to it all over.

Only last week, allegations of the Assam Rifles of forcefully occupying their land and setting up their camps, led to residents from Khamasom, Mapum, Poi, Tusom CV and Lamlang villages in Ukhrul district while Kangpat Khullen, Chatric, Ramphoi and Kasom Khullen in Kamjong district staged a sit-in-protest in their villages simultaneously.The locals claimed that the Assam Rifles set up their camps without the lcoals’ consent and demanded they immediately leave their land.

“In defending our land, which is our identity, we appeal to every Tangkhuls to join us as one voice and together, let’s safeguard our rights,” organising committee convenor SA Ramnganing stated earlier.

Later, the apex bodies also submitted a representation to prime minister Narendra Modi and appealed for the immediate withdrawal of the forceful Assam Rifles occupations from 9 villages and the repeal of the draconian AFSPA from the entire state of Manipur.

Meanwhile, the Forum against Corporatisation and Militarisation, based in New Delhi has condemned this occupation of local land by the army. Assam Rifles of the Indian Armed Forces have recently moved in and captured 9 Naga Villages of Ukhrul district of Manipur, to which the Indian state has not given any explanation, according to reports. The said “intrusion” and occupation of the villages, apparently, has been done without the consent of the Naga Village councils and the Tangkhul Indigenous people, to whom the land belongs. This, said a press release of the organization, makes a mockery of Article 371 (A) of the constitution, through such intrusions, land grab, and the Atrocities of the past and the present and granting them impunity under draconian laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

One such recent example of Genocidal Military action is Massacres inMon and Otingwhere 14 people, mostly innocent mine workers were massacred by Para SF of the Indian Armed Forces and are still not prosecuted due to the impunity of AFSPA. The Naga Civil Society and Global Naga Forum have all reported about the situation through statements and media reports that the Armed Forces are:

  1. Occupying the public spaces such as schools, playgrounds, community centers etc., And are turning them into military camps.

  2. Private properties are taken over and constructions are carried on them to build military camps.

  3. A widespread atmosphere of fear among women, children and old due to such presence of armed forces, having past record of Brutal Atrocities against the very people, building check-posts across the area is affecting the peace of the people.

On September 15, 2022, Over 5000 people took to the streets of Ukhrul town to mount pressure on the Central and State governments for immediate withdrawal of the security forces from nine Tangkhul villages where the troops have set up military camps/bases without the consent of the villagers.

Apart from Manipur, the people of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand have protested against Paramilitary camps, with 12 major sit in protests in Bastar, continuing for months. Recently, the Indian government has begun to establish a Joint Command Center in BhadradriKothagudem District on Telangana-Chhattisgarh border in the name of fighting the Maoists. The said command center is to house the District Reserve Guard (DRG) formed by inducting the infamous SPOs of the SalwaJudum, Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) of Chhattisgarh, Greyhounds of Telangana etc.

 The camps, in these forested regions of  Central India, are being built as Forward Operational Bases under Indian State’s Military Operation SAMADHAN-PRAHAR to suppress all forms of struggle of the local people against large companies grabbing land, water and minerals.

The Forum Against Corporatization and Militarization (FACAM), has urged the Following:-

  1. Withdraw Assam Rifles from the 9 Naga Villages of Ukhrul District, Manipur.

  2. Repeal Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

  3. Disband the Joint Command Center to be Built in BhadradriKothagudem District, Telangana.

Courtesy: Sabrang India

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