With cases of inhumane acts of violence rising in the state, United NGOs Mission Manipur (UNMM) has expressed worry over the looming bleak future of Manipur and appealed to all concerned to put an end to violence that violates human rights.
In a bid to address the issues of violence, UNMM organised a workshop on ‘Questioning the future of Manipur and UN International Humanitarian Law’ at Sangai Hall, Hotel Imphal on Wednesday.
Speaking on the occasion, UNMM Secretary Urikhinbam Nabakishore contended that war crimes such as killing, shooting civilians, women and children have been witnessed in the state for several decades. In the late 20th century and early 21st century, people in Manipur experienced the systematic extrajudicial execution of civilians under AFSPA. The situation has slightly improved in 2015-2020, he said.
In the later part of 2021 and early 2022, the people also encountered incidents of violence which caused 7 persons to lose their lives and many to be injured. There were about 69 cases of violence recorded during the pre-poll, poll and post-poll of the recently concluded 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly elections.
Noting that the incidents of violence and crimes occurred despite tall claims by the government that law and order situation has been improved and peace instilled, he questioned whether violence is the future of Manipur.
He also appealed to the people to cooperate in identifying those who are responsible for supplying arms to the civilians to carry out organised crimes.
He further recounted cases of extrajudicial execution committed by state police, Assam Rifles, Army, CRPF and BSF under AFSPA and questioned whether such crimes should not come under the purview of Genocide Convention.
Human Rights Alert executive director Babloo Loitongbam stressed on the need for education in shaping the future of Manipur. He said that the changing phenomenon of acquiring education through various mediums has changed the life of every citizen with the emergence of various technologies and software that connects people to people.
“Social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp or Twitter, among others have become a way to connect people and this too has been controlled by those in power,” Babloo said.
He also emphasised the importance of studying the past to decide the future.
Editor of Imphal Times Rinku Khumukcham said that democracy is nothing more than conducting elections and waiting for elections for the next term. He said that there are records of suppressing the people of Northeast India by enforcing various draconian laws like AFSPA and acts connected with sedition.
“We must raise our voice to protect ourselves, no one will come to help us and we have to stand together for our rights rather than expecting anything from others,” Rinku said.
He maintained that the two national highways are free from bandhs and blockades nowadays but replaced by extortions.
UNMM has urged all authorities concerned to protect the lives of the people and immediately stop threat, harassment and intimidation in Manipur. It also urged authorities to collect all the arms proliferating in the community in the hands of civilians and dispose of them in front of the public.
It also demanded the authorities to register FIR against security forces including Manipur police involved in crimes committed against civilians as a matter of priority and to set up a special committee to work on the reformation of police from the human right perspective under the framework of UN and international law.