Sunday, May 9, 2010

Naga moms rally at Manipur border - On Mothers’ Day eve, women condole deaths and condemn firing at Mao; rights group lends voic

Khuzama (Nagaland), May 8: On the eve of Mothers’ Day, thousands of mothers from Nagaland gathered near Mao checkgate today to mourn the death of two Naga students and express solidarity with the women and children who were injured during the May 6 firing by Manipur police in Mao town in Senapati district. The solidarity rally, which was organised by Naga Mothers’ Association and supported by many Naga organisations, condemned the atrocities of Manipur police and denounced the violent activities of communities in Manipur Valley. It called for a halt to bloodshed and building peace among all communities. Members of Amnesty International who attended the rally condemned the atrocities of Manipur security forces on children and women and the use of brute force to contain people’s rights. Rosemary Dzivichu, an advisor to Naga Mothers’ Association, reiterated the association’s slogan “shed no more blood” while addressing the gathering. She said in any conflict women and children were the victims and called for a complete halt to violence against them. Khesheli Chishi, a former president of and now advisor to the association, said Nagas did not want violence. She blamed the neighbouring communities of harbouring and fomenting violence in the region. “We don’t want killing,” she said, adding that Naga mothers understood that life was precious. She said as the world prepared to celebrate Mothers’ Day tomorrow, Naga mothers were mourning the deaths of and injury to their children. The bodies of the two students are still lying in police custody as people in and around Mao town have fled and curfew is enforced in the area. Many of the injured are in hospi- tal. She condemned the action of Manipur police, which had rendered hundreds homeless as they had to flee to Nagaland to escape the security forces. “We treat Meiteis as our brothers and sisters and as one family. We want Nagas and Meiteis to live together,” she said, adding that Meiteis considered Nagas as their enemies. “Why are you so much against us when we want to live in peace?” she asked. However, at the same time, she stressed that Nagas would not compromise on their rights. They would remain one wherever they were and no force could disintegrate them. Venuh, the convenor of Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights, said women had contributed a lot as the Nagas journeyed through a political upheaval but the men had failed to protect them from the atrocities committed by Indian security forces. He apologised to Naga women for the troubles they had faced. Referring to the Manipur government’s decision not to allow NSCN (I-M) general secretary Th. Muivah to enter Manipur, he said, “Who are they to stop one from going to his village?” Muivah had planned to visit his native village, Somdal, in Ukhrul district on May 3 and then on May 6. He, however, deferred it once on the Centre’s request and then on the Naga organisations’ plea that he postpone his trip till a more congenial atmosphere prevailed. Venuh said Nagas had been suppressed for too long and whatever violence had taken place in Naga society was mostly unleashed by the state. “We want to live in peace. Whether Meitei people want to live in peace as good neighbours is their choice.” He called upon the Nagas to work for peace and unity. The president of Naga Students’ Federation, Mutsikoye Chakhesang, termed the Okram Ibobi Singh government as a “terrorist government” and called upon the Nagas to remain united to face any challenge from people who did not want peace..

Mao Gate incident, anti-ADC poll protests plunges Manipur into crisis

The state is beginning to face various forms of hardships following the tense situation prevailing in the state due to the prolonged economic blockade called by the All Naga Students Union of Manipur, ANSAM and All Tribal Students’ Union of Manipur on both the National Highways of the state including the NH-39 and NH-53 in connection with the state government decision to hold the ADC election in spite of strong oppositions from tribal bodies. The recent incident occurred at Mao has also led to complete road blockade along the route of NH-39 by agitators further making the most important highway of the state virtually inaccessible. Amidst the scarcity of various essential items in the state, fast depleting of Oxygen stock has led hospital to suspend providing crucial services to patients while exhaustion of petroleum products has forced transports organizations to suspend bus services in the state. With the fast depletion of stock of Oxygen in various hospital of the state due to the blockade at both the National Highways of the state, the hospitals has decided to suspend to provide various crucial service to the patients, Addressing media persons, the CMD of Shija Hospital which is the biggest private hospital and the only hospital where highly critical cases are being referred from other hospital, observed that the hospital is not in a position to take in new emergency patients requiring Intensive Care Unit and general anesthesia due to limited reserved Oxygen. The current Oxygen reserve of the hospital will be used exclusively for the currently admitted ICU patients and may reportedly last for only two weeks. Citing that the present grave political and social situation might not be settled in another 10 days, the CMD Dr. Palin further requested patient parties of ICU patients to find alternative treatment elsewhere. Unfortunately, other hospitals in the state including the RIMS, JN hospitals and other private hospitals are reportedly facing similar problems. The CMD also disclosed that the hospital might be closed down entirely as fuel in the hospital is running low hampering smooth functioning of hospital while the hospital has also stopped its ambulance service. The blockade at both the national highways which is considered the lifeline of the state is also severely impacting the transport service as the fuel stock in the service is about to run out of stock. Apart from closing of petrol pumps, fuel are also fast running out at black markets while few black marketers are doing brisk business with selling of petrol at a price of Rs 140 to Rs 160 per liter and HSD or Diesel for Rs 85 to Rs 100. In the present situation, the All Manipur Bus Owners Association has observed that the Association is compelled to suspend all bus services from May 10 in the state if the state government does not take up some immediate positive necessary arrangement in the interest of public passengers within May 9. Addressing a press meet, representatives of the Association also appeal to both the agitators on National Highway and state government to reach to an amicable solution considering the inconvenience of the people. The representatives of the Association has also reportedly sent memorandum to the chief minister and concerned minister in this regard. It may be mention that the Shija hospital is the largest consumer of medical gases and the hospital has been treating highly critical patients like head injuries, strokes, poly trauma, GI bleeding while 70% of the mass causalities like ISCKON bomb blast and Ragailong bomb blast were treated at the hospital. The closure of the hospital might prove to be a serious setback to the state. On the other hand, the suspension of bus service as resolved by the All Manipur Bus Owners Association will severely affect the transportation of passenger in the state.

Nagas take to protest in Delhi, Northeast against unprovoked firing at Mao Gate; Ibobi role condemned

Two days after he deferred Manipur visit, NSCN-IM general secretary T Muivah has managed to rake up what the Manipur government has been fearing, the Naga integration issue. There are widespread protests in various parts of the northeast, and also in Delhi from various Naga organizations against the unprovoked firing on innocent and democratic procession at Mao Gate. The Nagas have demanded justice into the Mao Gate incident. Manipur government has given a walk over to NSCN-IM leadership by killing three Nagas in Mao Gate on Thursday. The killing has given teeth to the NSCN to raise their demand for unification of Naga dominated areas of Manipur, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and parts of Myanmar. Notably, Manipur’s Ukhrul and Senapati districts have been a matter of dispute between NSCN-IM and Manipur government over a decade after the militant outfit included the two districts in the map of Greater Nagalim. The unification of Naga dominated areas was one of the core issues of the NSCN-IM in the peace talks with Delhi. NSCN-IM general secretary T Muivah’s decision to visit his ancestral Somdal village in Ukhrul district was also an attempt to claim over the land of the two districts. However, he had to defer his visit at the intervention of Delhi at the eleventh hour. But the Mao Gate incident will be a flush point for the outfit as many Naga individuals and organizations joined in protest against Manipur government for the killing. There are protests in Nagalnd, Meghalaya and Assam against police action on innocent Nagas in Mao Gate. In the capital city Guwahati also, the Naga Students Union Guwahati took out a silent procession to register their protest. Although Muivah had to defer his visit, Manipur government will be in trouble for the Mao Gate incident as many organizations are mobilizing opinion against it. The NSUG which led Saturday’s silent procession demanded justice into the killing. Leaders of the student body felt every citizen has the right to go to any part of the country. They also criticized Manipur government for disallowing Muivah’s visit which had been approved by Delhi. The protesters had to confine their procession at Dispur after the police and the district administration obstructed them from proceeding to Manipur Bhavan. The student body has also susbmitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh through Kamrup Metro DC Pratik Hajela seeking justice into the killing. The NSUG also submitted another memorandum to Manipur chief minister O. Ibobi singh through resident commissioner in Guwahati demanding a probe into it. Saturday’s protest shows that the NSCN-IM leadership was able to create a mass opinion against Okram Ibobi Singh government in Manipur for the Mao Gate incident.

Naga students protest firing, demand PR in Manipur

Protesting the unprovoked firing on supporters of NSCN-IM general secretary T Muivah at Mao, hundreds of Naga students in Shillong today demanded a judicial probe into the incident and imposition of President’s Rule in Manipur where the “security machinery has failed utterly.” People from the Naga community under the banner of Naga Students Union Shillong held a sit-in protest at Nagaland House here shouting slogans against Manipur government’s “highhandedness”. The unprovoked firing that leads to the killing of Naga people at Mao is unconstitutional and an act of highhandedness and the culprits should be brought to book and a judicial probe instituted into the incident demanded the Naga community people in Shillong. They also demanded a neutral force should be brought in the Senapati district of ManipurAlleging atrocities on Naga residents by security forces in Senapati district, Xavier claimed that seven Naga people were killed in the firing two days back and over hundred were injured. Present on the occasion Prof. Prasenjit Biswas of North easter hill university said Muivah cannot be barred from returning to his homeland, the peace talk with the centre is going on well. The protesters displayed placards decrying the unprovoked firing by the Manipur Commandos and termed them Killing Machines. The supporters strongly denounced the role of the Ibobi government. In a memorandum to the President of India Pratibha Patil, the Naga students stated that political gimmick played by the Ibobi government over Muivah’s visit is the root cause of the prevailing turmoil. Nagas in Manipur are no longer secure as the government has failed to discharge its constitutional obligation. The union has demanded President’s Rule in Manipur.

Manipur Bhawans placed under strict security, after attack in Delhi

Fearing backlash in Assam, the Manipur Bhavan in Guwahati was placed under strict security a day after the Nagas attacked the Delhi based Manipur Bhavan as a fall–out of Mao gate killing. Manipur Bhawan located at Rajgarh Road in Guwahati is wearing a deserted look. Authorities and employees have fled the building and closed down the shutters fearing attack by Naga agitators, similar to the Manipur Bhawan in New Delhi. In fact, situation would have been similar had not police stopped the Naga rally at Dispur. The Naga Students Union Guwahati unit had planned its rally upto the Manipur Bhawan to protest the unprovoked firing at the Mao Gate which killed at least three people. The NSUG had planned to submit a memorandum to Manipur Chief minister O Ibobi Singh through the resident commissioner. Even as the procession was obstructed at Dispur, a delegation of the student body was allowed to submit its memorandum to the resident commissioner. Meanwhile the city police have tightened security arrangements in the Manipur Bhavan fearing attacks by Nagas as a backlash of Mao Gate incident. Additional security personnel have been deployed at the Bhavan. Armed security personnel have also been placed at Rajgarh Road to thwart any attempt to storm into the Bhawan. Although police have ruled out Delhi like situation in Guwahati, they are not willing to take chances. Notably, the office of the resident commissioner was closed on the second Saturday of the month. However, other functioning at the Bhavan was also affected due to panic.