The prolonged violence in Manipur has left neighbouring states in the North East alarmed and that has led the North East Students’ Organisation (NESO) to hold a peaceful sit in demonstration in Shillong today.
Different students’ organisations from different communities came out to participate in the demonstration held at Fire Brigade.
NESO chairman Samuel Jyrwa lashed out at the central government for, he said, failing to normalise the situation in Manipur. Terming it as a political injustice, Jyrwa said that it is sad that the government has not taken any initiative and that this stepmotherly treatment has been taking place since independence.
“We’ve seen the government of India using the draconian law, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) against the indigenous people of the North Eastern region. We have seen the security forces [commit] atrocities in different states of the North Eastern region in the name of fighting insurgency,” he added.
NESO members had sent a delegation to Manipur when the violence was at its peak and submitted a memorandum to the Governor, the Chief Minister and also to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“But till today it’s very sad that the government of India has not taken any initiative on the part of the indigenous people of the North East,” Jyrwa said. “Different speakers have called upon the indigenous people of the North East to be united. Right from earlier times while living together we had friction. We had disagreements. We had differences of opinion – all this is fine. But we should try to solve our differences through negotiation, through dialogue, through a process that is peaceful.”
Meanwhile, leaders of other student groups also spoke, and these included Khasi Students Union (KSU) president Lambokstar Marngar,
Mara Students Organisation president C Lalrinemi, Shilllong Manipuri Students Organisation president Chongtham Thangamba Meetei and Kuki Students Organisation (KSO) president Thangjalen Doungel, among others.
Thangamba said that he was concerned for both the communities – Meitei and Kuki – and that he was not representing only the Meitei community but was there for the whole of Manipur. “How long will this violence go on? It is time for the government to bring both the communities to a dialogue table and find a solution,” he said.
Doungel said that the primary purpose of every government is to protect the rights of the people but now the central government has not taken any positive steps to neutralise the situation in Manipur. “Six months have passed, thousands have been displaced, hundreds killed and students have dropped out from schools and colleges. The situation has reached a peak and yet the central government has remained a mute spectator. They are more concerned about external affairs but not about its own citizens,” he said.