Strongly condemning the statement of Chief Minister N Biren Singh over the peace rally held on March 10 in most parts of the hill districts, the Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM) termed the CM's statement "flagrant falsification" to divert the real issue of the tribals' dissent against his "authoritarian and gundaraj" governance in Manipur.
The apex body of the Kuki tribes in Manipur, KIM also made clarification against the CM's statement while speaking to the NE Live Editor-in-Chief, Wasbir Hussain, over the peace rally.
Janghaolun Haokip, secretary, Information and Publicity of KIM, stated that the Peaceful Mass Rally was organised as a result of public discontent over the extreme disregard of Scheduled Hill Areas and Article 371C of the Indian Constitution by the state government.
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He said the rally was proposed in pursuant to the Constitution of India, Article 19 (1) (b) which grants the citizens the right to assemble peacefully and without arms and therefore, the Chief Minister stating that the people are challenging constitutional provisions, is but "insensible and repugnant".
He also stated that the subsequent imposition of CrPc Section 144 is a scathing attack on the constitutional right to freedom to assemble peacefully and without arms.
With regards to the chief minister mentioning that rallies were organised in only two districts with only a few sections of the population participating in the rally, he pointed out rallies were organised in over six districts, namely, Ukhrul, Kangpokpi, Tengnoupal, Churachandpur, Jiri-Tamenglong, Pherzawl, and in the National Capital New Delhi with as many as 50,000 participants in Churachandpur alone besides other blocks and districts.
He further stated that the insolent and imprudent terming of the rally goers as encroachers, poppy cultivators, drug smugglers, and illegal immigrants is extremely affronting and regrettable while it is an obtrusive example of the communal prejudice of the chief minister against the Tribals and the Kukis in particular, He added that such illegitimate labelling, and the subsequent discrimination, oppression, and intimidation of the tribals can never be justified.
With regards to the chief minister mentioning that the militant outfits namely the Zomi Revolutionary Army (ZRA) and the Kuki National Army (KNA) were involved in or otherwise influenced the rally, the KIM re-asserted that no such outfits were involved or otherwise no outfits influenced the rally.
It continued that as already stated the rally was organised as a result of pure public discontent over the extreme disregard for Scheduled Hill Areas and article 371C of the Indian Constitution, the allegation is baseless and therefore also reprehensible as the rally resulted out of extreme disrespect and exploitation of Tribal Land Rights in the name of Reserved Forests, Protected Forests, Wild Life Sanctuaries, Wetland, MLR & LR Act etc.
With regards to the chief minister categorically stating that only illegal immigrants are participating in the rally, KIM stated that it is unpardonable and ill-suited of a chief minister and moreover, the Thadous are one of the tribes among the Kukis and to assert petty divisive politics with zero genealogical knowledge is arrogant and idiotic at its best.
It also clarified that violence erupted at Kangpokpi rally as a result of the high-handedness of the Commandos on duty while adding that the OC of the Special Commando was especially recorded on video manhandling a woman, trashing and abusing her and later, the Police fired tear-gas and even live bullets injuring over 20 people, and causing havoc to the peaceful mass rally.
With regards to the chief minister mentioning that the Government of Manipur will withdraw from the Suspension of Operation (SoO) with KNA and ZRA, KIM clarified that it has no connections to the Peaceful Mass Rally, rather in fact, it is presumable that the Chief Minister mentioned such to divert the real issue of the tribals’ dissent against his authoritarian governance.
While strongly condemning the alleged imprudence and arrogance of CM Biren and his government, KIM stated that the unlawful imposition of CrPc Section 144 and the forceful suppression of the citizen’s right to hold peaceful demonstrations is dictatorial and called for the strongest retaliation.
KIM alleged that it is the lawlessness of the state administration, its communal bias, and arbitrary and discriminatory approaches that hinder the peace and tranquillity in the state and such governance must end.