Reacting to the clarion call for mass protest against IGAR (South), legal notice to RPI (Athawale) national secretary Maheshwar Thounaojam, women across the valley staged mass protests at several major hubs of greater Imphal on Saturday.
In Greater Imphal, numerous local Meira Paibis staged the protest along the stretches of Uripok-Kangchup Road, Sagolband-Tera Road, Keishampat-Kwakeithel Road, Keishamthong, Nagamapal and Thangmeiband among other areas.
Protestors raised slogans and placards demanding the IGAR to withdraw the legal notice slapped against Maheshwar and for authorities to completely remove Assam Rifles from the territory of Manipur.
The protesters also levelled numerous allegations against the Assam Rifles, accusing them of intimidating people with legal notice and attempting to silence the truth and the voice of the Manipuri people.
Ever since the conflict took an ugly turn, the people of Manipur had been voicing their dissent against the Assam Rifles for their biased security measures which are also found in video proofs, a protestor stated while to speaking to media on the side-lines of the protest at Keishampat Leimajam Community Hall on Saturday.
She pointed out that the IGAR should also serve legal notices to all people in Manipur and not only to Maheshwar Thounaojam for it is the people that have been voicing dissent and demanding the removal of Assam Rifles from Manipur.
“Maheshwar has been voicing the sufferings of the Manipuri people and airing out the shared collective sentiments of the people on various national platforms. If the IGAR is intentionally targeting him for doing so, the common folks of Manipur will not remain silent,” she said.
She maintained that the legal notice was an attempt to forcefully silence and intimidate the people of Manipur.
“The central paramilitary troops were deployed in the foothills to prevent the violence between the two communities but instead, they are busy spectating the bloodshed. Are they mere puppets or human beings; Who are they safeguarding by remaining silent,’ she asked.
On the other hand, she lambasted the state authorities for remaining tongue-tied in resolving the issue and claimed that they had done nothing to please the Manipuri people.
They visit Delhi within a matter of minutes to please their political masters but they cannot usher peace and relief for the people even after four months, she added.
She mentioned that Maheshwar Thounaojam had been filling in the incumbent authorities’ position by voicing the horrific sufferings in Manipur and drawing the attention of the entire nation to the state.
“It is pitiful that the Assam Rifles is targeting Maheshwar for such bold actions while making friends with armed Kuki miscreants and meddling with state police investigations,” she said.
She alleged that the Assam Rifles in their long history in Manipur were involved in numerous heinous crimes that had been swept under the carpet and maintained that the present biased operational tactics of Assam Rifles would cement the suspicion and hate for them.
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Condemning the Assam Rifles' legal notice against RPI (Athawale) national secretary Maheshwar Thounaojam, womenfolk of Singjamei also joined the mass protest carried out in various areas across the state on Saturday.
Speaking to media during the protest organised by Singjamei Chirom Leikai Nupi Lamjing Lup at the locality’s entrance, member of Singjamei Chirom Leikai Nupi Lamjing Lup, Chirom Ongbi Sakhitombi, said that the RPI leader has been at the forefront, meeting leaders, debunking the lies and making efforts to resolve the ongoing conflict. She warned that no actions can be taken against Maheshwar and asserted that the Manipuri mothers are in his support.
A similar sit-in was also organised by Leimaron Apunba Lup Singjamei Chingamakhong Chongtham Leikai, where many womenfolk of the locality participated in the protest.
Speaking to media on the sidelines, advisor of Leimaron Apunba Lup Singjamei Chingamakhong Chongtham Leikai, N Somola Devi condemned the legal notice served by Assam Rifles to Maheshwar Thounaojam.
Somola Devi demanded removal of the Assam Rifles from Manipur and maintained that the legal notice to the RPI leader is a grave insult to the entire people of Manipur.
She expressed concern over the escalating violence and further urged the state government to consider the sufferings of the people and end the ongoing conflict at the earliest. Various placards that read ‘Withdraw legal notice by AR against Maheshwar’, ‘No partiality among the communities’ etc. were displayed during the protest.