20th Great June Uprising Day observed low-key amid pandemic
Chairman of observance committee Ph Nando Luwang although the three words “without territorial limits” were omitted officially from the ‘Bangkok Declaration’ ceasefire agreement made between NSCN-IM and the Centre, there is an apprehension that the agreement is unofficially followed in Manipur.
Against the backdrop of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, the 20th Great June Uprising Day, Unity day was observed on Friday at Kekrupat, Imphal by maintaining strict SOPs, with few numbers of people turning up as most of the local bodies observed the day at their respective areas to avoid mass gathering.
Speaking to the media, chairman of observance committee Ph Nando Luwang who is also the president of AMUCO said, although the three words “without territorial limits” were omitted officially from the ‘Bangkok Declaration’ ceasefire agreement made between NSCN-IM and the Central government, there is an apprehension that the agreement is unofficially followed in Manipur.
Due to these reasons, various civil bodies have been demanding not to include anything that may affect the interests of the state in the ceasefire extension, he added.
The ceasefire agreement was signed between NSCN-IM and the central government on June 14, 2001 at Bangkok. In the agreement, a point with the words “without territorial limit” was mentioned, though the word Manipur was not mentioned in the agreement, He said. The people were already aware of the hidden agenda that the agreement will affect the territorial boundary and integrity of Manipur, said Nando.
On the same day, AMUCO called a press conference and announced for a 66-hour general strike across the state, starting from the midnight of June 15 till evening of June 18 of 2001, demanding to omit the three words “without territorial limit” from the ceasefire agreement. Nando said, on the last day of the general strike, a mammoth crowd of protestors came out on the streets and during the protest, 13 protestors were killed by the security forces. Later, another 11 protestors were also martyred, raising the same demands on the following days, he added.
Ever since, the day is being annually observed on the 18th of June at Kekrupat to show solidarity to the martyred souls. The day is observed not just for the sake of observing a calendar programme but with an objective to show that each ethnic community is still actively protecting the integrity of Manipur, said Nando.
In 2001, the Central government used NSCN-IM as a tool to challenge the integrity of Manipur and at present, it is using some other militant groups as tools to break the territorial integrity of Manipur by creating divisive policies, he added.
On the day of observing the ‘Unity day’, each ethnic community should pledge to protect the territorial integrity of Manipur instead of getting influence from the outside force.
Vice chairman of the observance committee and president of UCM Sunil Karam cautioned the state government to take necessary prior steps in the interest of Manipur against any decision of the central government. If the state fails to protect territorial integrity of Manipur, then the state government may face similar consequences like the central government had faced earlier, he said.
The central government should not play divisive policies among the ethnic communities of Manipur, he further said, adding no undue advantages should be given to a particular community but development should be given equally so that each ethnic community of Manipur can benefit and grow together, said Sunil.
To protect the territorial integrity of Manipur, worst forms of incidents could take place in the near future as compared to the incident of June 18, 2001, he added.
To protect the integrity of Manipur, each community needs to stay strong by cooperating with each other irrespective of hills and valleys, Sunil asserted.
The observation was jointly organised by United Committee Manipur (UCM) and All Manipur United Club Organisation (AMUCO) under Observance Committee, The 20th Great June Uprising, Unity Day, 2021.
As the chairman of the observance committee Nando Luwang had earlier announced, the programme started at 9 am at Kekrupat. Unlike the previous years, only the members of the observance committee, the family members of the June 18 martyrs and some civil body leaders were seen taking part at the event.
The observance committee members, family members of the martyrs and others offered floral tributes to the martyrs at Kekrupat, Imphal.
Wife of chief minister Hiyainu Devi; MLA Karam Shyam; MLA N Indrajit and L Susindro Meitei alias Yaima were seen paying floral tributes to the martyrs at Kekrupat.