Newmai News Network
IMPHAL, March 18
Homage was today paid to the nine 'tribal martyrs' as the Joint Action Committee (JAC) Against Anti-Tribal Bills observed the 200th day of unabated agitation against three ILP related Bills.
A 15-hour parallel total bandhs in Churachandpur district and all Naga-dominated areas of Manipur called by the JAC and United Naga Council (UNC) since last midnight affected life. The strikes were organized to mark the lasting stir against the controversial Bills.
A mass prayer was held at YPA Hall, Lamka Ground as a mark of respect to the killed nine protesters followed by releasing of 200 flying lanterns by the gathering during the function.
A gun salute was also accorded to the "martyred" protesters who were killed during violent confrontations with security forces in Churachandpur on August 31 and September 1last year.
The district administration earlier issued warning to the JAC not to perform the 'customary gun salute' but it went ahead with its plan despite the instruction.The committee contended that there was nothing unlawful in the tribal practice of paying tribute to the 'tribal martyrs'. It said the traditional gun salute was the highest form of respect shown to the departed tribal leaders.
A public meeting at the Lamka Ground held as part of the event vowed to continue the ongoing movement and condemned the Manipur government for allegedly not heeding to the demand of the tribal people who want withdrawal of the Bills.
The tribal people have said the ILP Bills passed by the state assembly on August 31, 2015 are destructive to their interests and hence they should be cancelled.
Manipur government's insistence on safeguarding the interests of all indigenous groups of the state has refused to withdraw the Bills saying they (tribal people) need to point out the facts in the contents of the Bills to support their arguments.
The JAC has refused to claim the nine bodies now lying in the Churachandpur District Hospital after they were killed in the large-scale violence that erupted following the passing of the Bills aimed at regulating the influx of migrants into the state by the Manipur Assembly.
The Bills were passed by the assembly after the government faced a sustained mass movement in the valley spearheaded by the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) in the valley.
A Class 12 student was killed in police action here during the agitation that lasted for about three months throwing life out of gear particularly in the valley districts.