UCM holds unity rally; UNC shutdown seeks solution to Naga issue
IMPHAL, 31st Oct: Ranging from young students to senior citizens, tens of thousands of people from different communities and different walks of life responded to the call of United Committee Manipur (UCM) and participated in the October Mass Rally, which was organised under the theme Peace, Unity and Integrity on Wednesday.
Slogans for peace, unity and integrity echoed Imphal city as the rally, which was flagged off from Tiddim Ground Kwakeithel, passed through different roads before reaching Khuman Lampak Sports Complex, where it ended with a public meeting.
The public meeting also resolved to stand unitedly and fight together any attempt to disintegrate the state either through Indo-Naga Framework Agreement or any other means.
Participants from different parts of the state started gathering at Tiddim Ground since morning for the rally which started at 11.20 am. The rally passed through Kwakeithel market, Keishampat junction, Wahengbam Leikai, Nagamapal, Khoyathong, Lilashing Khongnangkhong, Assembly Road, Chingmeirong Khongnang Ani Karak and ISBT before culminating at Khuman Lampak Sports Complex. Those who wanted to cross the road along the route of the rally had to wait for more than one and half hour for the rally to get pass.
Members of different communities – Meetei, Naga, Kuki, Meetei Pangal and Teli, participated in the rally. At the same time, leaders, members and workers of Congress, BJP, MPP, CPI, Shiv Sena, NEIDP and other political parties also participated. Besides common people from different communities, political parties, students and CSOs, large number of participation from United Friendship Organisation (UFO) formerly known as Satjal made the rally more complete with their black uniforms.
In an encouraging development, residents of different localities along the route came out on the street to distribute water, glucose, fruit juice, snacks and others while also joining the rally in between. Film Forum Manipur also distributed water and sweets to the participants.
Later, after culmination of the rally, a public meeting was held at Khuman Lampak Hockey Stadium. The meeting strongly opposed any challenge and threat to the unity and political, social, historical and economic identity of the state, which existed for thousands of years with the bond of brotherhood among different communities. It also opposed extension of Article 371A or similar provisions as well as formation of autonomous regional councils within the state while observing that such provisions would pave way for disintegration of the state.
While opposing any attempt to disintegrate the state and its unity of thousands of years, the meeting resolved to take a united stand for self-determination if the Centre acts against the aspiration and interest of the state and its people.
Addressing the gathering, UCM president Sunil Karam accused the Centre of pursuing policies to create enmity and create division among different communities of the state under the pretext of holding peace talks with NSCN-IM, which has been going on for around 21 years.
Recalling the June 18 uprising, he said that the sacrifice made by the 18 martyrs is keeping the territory and integrity of the state intact till today.
Despite a series of protests, memorandums submitted by the public and assurances given by the Centre and most importantly by the Prime Minister, the Centre has been constantly challenging the territorial integrity of the state every now and then. In such a situation, the question that begins to arise among the people of the state is ‘How long should we tolerate,” he added.
Considering the nature of the Centre and the teasing disclosure of the possible contents of the Framework Agreement, the rally was organised with the objective to show the united stand of the people. As the huge response has made the united stand of the state’s people clear, there would be no need for any such rally, he said while adding that this should be the final referendum to the Centre regarding the aspiration and demand of the people.
He also raised strong opposition against any form of administrative division on ethnic line or any provision of autonomy, territory, cultural body or ‘state within state’ in Manipur while adding that any such attempts will result in a fiercer June 18 incident.
Zeliangrong Union, Imphal Zone chairman DH Gaikhem said that different communities have been residing in the state with the bond of brotherhood and love since time immemorial. Unfortunately, selfish motives of some communities have brought a sense of disunity and mistrust among the communities. In such a situation, members of different communities living in the state should understand the matter, identify the real threat and stand united for a stronger Manipur. Unity among the communities is the key to fight any such aggression or threat to the integrity of Manipur, he stressed.
Kuki Inpi Imphal Zone president Mangcha Haokip, while comparing the state with a beautiful garden of different flowers, called upon the people of all communities to strive towards building trust, unity and love among one another for a better future of the state. As one hand alone cannot clap, Manipur will fall if the communities start to defect from the union. The only path that lies ahead towards a strong Manipur is the path of love and unity, he opined.
Lisham Lok village secretary H Moses Tangkhul also stressed the need for maintaining love, peace and unity among the communities while adding that disintegration of the state will lead to fall of every community in the state.
Aimol Tribe Union president RT Akhel Aimol alleged that the Centre has been devising policies to create division within the state. He also despised the policy of the government, which discriminates its citizen through classification of different status and added that democracy is being given the wrong meaning in the country.
Purum Khullel village chief Ch David said that just saying that hills and valley are one is not enough to bring unity in the state. The present situation of the state is an outcome of lack of love and trust among the communities. Showing the love, unity and brotherhood by action will reduce the gap and help in bringing unity among the people of hills and valley, he asserted.
Waithou village chief Ms Sonreng Chiru said that Chiru is a small community, which is found only in Manipur. Despite its small number, the community will fight fearlessly for the unity and integrity of the state, he affirmed.
All Manipur Muslim Women’s Development Organisation president Aribam Sitara Begum emphasised on the need for a united stand of all the communities and fight the wedge of animosity and disunity together. Meetei Pangals are participating in the rally in large numbers and they will continue to stand and fight for the state and its unity, she added.
Kom Literature Society secretary K Mangpu Kom, Koireng Youth Organisation president Romeo Koireng, United Vaiphei Social Forum Council advisor Manga Vaiphei, Lamlanhukpi village chief Thao Jatra Chothe and social worker L Kaipu Tarao also attended the meeting as presidium members and called for unity among different communities of the state for a united and peaceful Manipur.