In a display of frustration and outrage, women protesters in Imphal East took to the streets and set ablaze effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Friday.
The protests were held at Khurai Puthiba Leikai and Ahongei Machin, Soibam Leikai in Imphal East.
At Khurai Puthiba Leikai, slogans such as ‘Long Live Manipur’ and ‘We Want Peace,’ resounded while demands for the withdrawal of Assam Rifles from Manipur also echoed in the streets.
The protesters, unapologetically vocal in their dissent, castigated both the state and Central governments for what they perceive as a dearth of action and inadequate strategies in addressing the ongoing crisis.
The presence of Assam Rifles in Manipur has remained a contentious issue for an extended period, and these women in Khurai forcefully voiced their frustration, calling for immediate measures to address their apprehensions.
Addressing the media during the protest, Devarani, a woman protester, fervently criticized both the Central and State governments. She accused them of prioritising political gains over the safety and well-being of Manipur's citizens in this time of crisis.
Devarani asserted that achieving peace in Manipur should be an urgent priority; otherwise, the mothers of Manipur would stage numerous protests to ensure their voices are heard.
Meanwhile, during a similar protest held at Ahongei Machin, Soibam Leikai, Imphal East, one Y ongbi Bijenti Devi, a protester questioned what are the hidden agendas of the state and Central government behind the failure to bring peace in Manipur.
For the last over four months, well-armed Kuki militants and drug mafias have been attacking civilians and villagers, she said. Since the violence erupted, many have died and many were left injured while the gunfights continued in peripheral areas.
There is a suspicion that state and Central leaders are involved in the present crisis and they appear to be siding with the Kuki militants and armed drug mafias, she added.
As the both the government failed to bring back normalcy in Manipur, meira paibis started voicing for peace and bringing back normalcy in Manipur, she said. Due to the crisis, many students are unable to attend their classes and many of the daily wage workers are also failing to earn money to run their livelihoods, she added.
Decrying the alleged failure to take necessary steps to bring peace and normalcy back in Manipur, the protesters arsoned effigies of PM Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, CM N Biren Singh and president of state BJP unit A Sharda Devi.
Meanwhile, womenfolk of Kyamgei along with volunteers of Peace and Integrity Committee Kyamgei (PICK) also burnt the effigies of prime minister Narendra Modi, union home minister Amit Shah, chief minister N Biren and state BJP president for failing to restore normalcy and leaving the state embroiled in violence for more than 121 days.
Decrying the authorities' inaction, the womenfolk and PICK volunteers congregated at Kyamgei Pal Ahanbi on Friday and meted out the protest demonstration.
Speaking to media on the sidelines of the protest, PICK convenor Chingakham Meghachandra decried the government for remaining mute spectators during the recent slew of gun attacks by suspected Kuki miscreants at Naranseina, Thamnapokpi and Phubala.
"Since the Assembly sitting on August 29, the attacks have not stopped; instead, the miscreants are now armed with even more dangerous weapons such as grenade launchers to wreak more havoc on unsuspecting villagers," he said.
He further condemned the gun attack on innocent Meitei villagers at Pallel on Friday and maintained that the centre and state government had utterly failed to safeguard the people.
The government should leave the matter to the people and remove all the central paramilitary forces if they are afraid to take any substantial actions, he added.
He also questioned why the CBI investigation was conducted only at the valley areas and cautioned that the authorities would be held accountable for any untoward incidents which may arise because of such a biased probe.