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Huge Rally in Manipur Against Assam Rifles Camps, Demand Raised to Repeal AFSPA

The Assam Rifles is allegedly using public spaces such as playgrounds, schools and community halls to set up camps, leading to the spaces being stopped from their usual functioning.
assam rifle

Image Courtesy: Eastmojo.Com

New DelhiA huge peace rally took place at the Ukhrul district headquarters in Manipur on Thursday against the government allegedly stationing Assam Rifles forcefully in nine villages across Ukhrul and Kamjong districts, the EastMojo reported.

The protest was organised by civil societies of the Tangkhul community. Thousands of participants demanded immediate withdrawal of Assam Rifles camps that are being established in their villages. They also sought the rollback of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958.

According to the EastMojo report, The peace rally began at 10:30 am from two locations -Mission ground and Dungrei junction in Hungpung and both converged at Ava Market (Mothers’ Market) at Phungreitang.

According to Tangkhul civil society organisations (CSOs), the Assam Rifles is using public spaces such as playgrounds, schools and community halls to set up camps, leading to the spaces being stopped from their usual functioning.

Security check posts have reportedly been established, and locals are being scrutinised as they try to go about their daily lives. The CSOs also alleged that private spaces have not been spared as camp constructions are underway on private properties with no regard to the property owner’s consent.

The report further says that women and children are particularly facing the fears caused by thsituation, which is happening under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958. The CSOs also told the EastMojo that elders yet to recover from trauma due to military violence are being subjected to it all over.

Locals from Khamasom, Mapum, Poi, Tusom CV and Lamlang villages in Ukhrul last week protested alleging that the Assam Rifles forcefully occupied their land while setting up campsOn the other hand, locals in Kangpat Khullen, Chatric, Ramphoi and Kasom Khullen in Kamjong district staged a sit-in-protest in their villages

The locals claimed that the Assam Rifles set up their camps without the locals' 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 was quoted as saying by the EastMojo.

The apex bodies have also submitted a Memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and appealed for the immediate withdrawal of the Assam Rifles deployment from nine villages. They also urged the PM to repeal the draconian AFSPA from all of Manipur.

Earlier in 2020, during the beginning of the pandemic, the locals of Ukhrul had been at loggerheads with the Assam Rifles, with Manipuri women at the helm of protests and blockades.

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