Friday, September 07, 2007

MANIPUR




by Lc. Jinine
Email: lcjinine@yahoo.co.in, uniedwel@yahoo.com
Mobile: +91 9856161032

Although Manipur is infamous for an inhuman military law called the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 and gross human rights violations under it, this small hilly land of 22,327 square kilometers in the Indo-Burma Region is internationally known for her gift, the game of polo to the world.

Manipur is also recognized for her rich arts and culture, and sports in the Indian sub continent. She has been a controversial part of India since there signed an accord known as Merger Agreement between King of Manipur, Bodh Chandra and Government of India on 21 September 1949. The Armed Opposition Groups, who are fighting for Manipuri liberation against India, claim the accord was an annexation. The valley area that covers 2,239 square kilometers is the populous center point of Manipur.

The people of Manipuri are ethnically and culturally distinct from the people of mainland India and more akin to the people in South East Asia. Its total population including about 1million illegal migrants calculates about 2.5 million. The majority of the Manipuris i.e. about 70% lives in the rural areas engaging in small-scale paddy and other farming.

If we draw a present map of Manipur, one of the most populous marks on that map will be of the stations of Indian army and paramilitary forces. On each and every hillock in the valley of Manipur there are posts stations of military. Most of the government of bungalows, tourist homes, and even primary health centers and schools are converted into army camps. Most frequent vehicles seen on the streets and roads are of the military heavy armor. The frisking check points on national and state highways, inter village roads and in the interior villages are the common scene.

For the last few decades, Human rights situation in Manipur has been a deep concern. Government of India sends a large number of military forces to Manipur imposing an exclusive military legislation called Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958. Here are about 350 military stations for curbing the Armed Opposition Groups (AOGs). It is estimated there is one army man for every 15 Manipuri. Reportedly the Chief Minister of Manipur, Mr Okram Ibobi said 8,000 civilians and 12,000 members of Government Forces and AOGs had been killed till 2005 since the armed resistance began in 1970s. Manipuris are undergoing gross human rights violations under such a cycle of violence.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PROBLEM
Violations

The structural violence emerging out of the creation of social structures and institutions that deprive people of Manipur of their rights in terms of safety, respect, participation, identity, culture, religious values and economic resources is considered to be a widest base for existing violence and problems of today. This is marked by controversial merger agreement, imposition of ASFPA, poor governance, captive market, influx migrants, cultural invasion, etc.

The Hindunisation process which started in the early 1700s with burning down of the indigenous holy books ( known as Puya Meithaba) and imposition of the new culture and religion had shaped different social structures and institutions predominated by caste system and untouchability. It causes a rift getting its widest gape between holy Hindus of Manipur Valley and outcaste hills people.

The controversial Merger of Manipur with India in 1949 is also generally blamed for providing breeding ground for poor governance and cycle of corruption. And the Indian Government’s the imposition of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 is sealing off the right to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the people of Manipur.

Such structural violence had activated secondary violence of human rights , enter ethnic conflict, worst level of corruption and small armed groups indulge in killing, kidnapping, extortion, etc. Thus the problem is rattling along a cycle of violence.

Over the last 40 years in attempt to eliminate armed opposition groups, government military forces have been committing gross human rights violations; small massacre ( see figure 3) , other extrajudicial execution (see figure 4), enforced disappearance (see figure 5), rape (see figure 6), torture, human shield, arson, plunder, forced labor and internal displaced, etc. And one frequent happening is that Government Forces killed the members of the of armed opposition groups after rendered hors de combat with the common excuses that killed in the retaliation, when attempted to escape and self defense.

The general nightmare for Manipuris is – in the nightfall or much early in the morning three or four olive green vehicles with Jeeps and even with civil Vans roar in the locality, stop somewhere away the house, the security personnel coming in the vehicles break the doors and windows, whisk away someone’s son or someone’s newly married husband. Very next morning bullet ridden body found, State claims killed in an encounter. Sometimes such incidents are carried out even in the broad daylight in front of many local eyewitnesses.

THE CONFLICT

Background

After Anglo Manipur war of 1891 Manipur lost its freedom of princely state to the British Empire. They left Manipur in 1947 and she restored its independent then. After 56 years of British colonial squeeze, suddenly on 21 September 1949 violating the Manipur State Constitution 1947 and ignoring Manipur State Assembly 1948, it is said India annexed Manipur.

The mass conversion of indigenous culture, religion, script and way of life into Indian Homogenization, the dependent economic, influx migration and more importantly so called annexation are the reality works triggering the factors of leveling an angry generation among the new community of the youths who were born in the post World War II. In course of time this generation veered into the armed opposition groups fighting for the restoration of the deprived independence and identity. Thus with the objective of liberating Manipur from the Indian colonial rule, the United National Liberation Front (UNLF) was established in the year 1964, November 24. Other groups were also formed in the following years; People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in 1978, People Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK) in 1977, National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) on 31 January 1980 which was divided into NSCN – IM (MUIVAH) and NSCN-K (KHAPLANG) on 30 April 1988, Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) in April 1980, and Kanglei Yawon Kanna Lup (KYKL) in January 1994.

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