Manipur Tribals March In Delhi Against Land Bills, Demand Justice For 9 Dead
100 days of protests
NEW DELHI: A 100 days of agitation in Manipur was brought t0 Delhi with a march by tribal student organisations seeking justice for the nine ‘martyrs’ killed in protests against the three controversial land bills passed by the state Assembly.
Over a 1000 tribals in Manipur marched in Delhi against the Bills, in a “coffin rally” for the nine killed in police firing on protesters in the state.Chanting slogans and calling for justice to the ‘9 martyrs’ who are lying unburied at Churachandpur hospital morgue, the protesters called for withdrawal of the three Bills passed on August 31 by the Manipur State Assembly and demand for a separate administration for tribal areas in Manipur.
Speaking to The Citizen, Romeo Himar, Convenor of Manipur Tribal forum Delhi said, “ We will not back out from our agitation till the time the government is not reverting the bills passed by the state assembly. We want a solution in the matter. Whether that will come from withdrawing the bills or something else, that is for the government to think. We will be on the streets till our demands are met. The death of nine Manipuri tribal people will not go in waste”.
Significantly , December 9 marks the 100th day since the uprising against the three Bills, where nine tribal protesters were killed (six of them by firing by the State security forces) in Churachandpur on August 31 and September 1, 2015 and subsequent consistent protest for its withdrawal.
Under the umbrella of Manipur Tribals Forum, Delhi on December 9th, a march was held with nine coffin boxes to draw the attention of the government towards the discontent among the people. All tribe based student bodies, tribe based philanthropic organisations and welfare bodies, traditional bodies based in Delhi took part in the rally.
On the other side, at the state level, the Joint Action Committee(JAC) is continuing with the agitation. The JAC has kept the body of the nine Manipuri people who have died while protesting, the committee has decided to cremate only if the government gives written assurance that the demands will be met.
The nine ‘martyrs’, as the Delhi forum and JAC is addressing the dead, continue to lie unburied even after 100 days in a makeshift mortuary in Churachandpur. As a show of sympathy and solidarity, to mourn the nine ‘martyrs’ and to support the demands, the Manipur Tribals’ Forum Delhi (MTFD) has been on an indefinite sit in demonstration at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi since November 4, 2015.
“But we ( tribals) will no longer be silent,” said Mangchinkhup, the convenor of the JAC in Manipur. “With a pledge to defend our rights, we demand that the Government of India should take concrete steps to ensure that the three ‘anti-tribal’ Bills are withdrawn in their entirety” he added.
A mass prayer in commemoration of the 100 days of the tribal movement against the three ‘Anti-Tribal Bills’ passed by the Manipur State Assembly on August 31 was held at the Lamka public ground on Wednesday participated by leaders of the JAC Churachandpur, JPO, different women organisations and leaders from Hmar, Zomi, Kuki.During the mass prayer, homage was paid to the nine tribal martyrs whose bodies lay preserved in the Churachandpur District Hospital Morgue.
Unfortunately the over three month long agitation in Manipur has not elicited a response of any consequence from the central government or the so called national political parties.