A militant meeting was held in the Cummins Auditorium of Patrakar Bhavan, in Pune to salute the heroic people of Manipur who have challenged the might of Indian State and defied their orders since July 11th.
Lok Raj Sangathan, Pune organized this important, the first of its kind meeting in pune, since the massive protest began after the news of brutal rape and custodial killing of T. Manorama Devi broke out in the open. Dr. LP Singh was the main speaker. Dr. LP Singh is the Founder chairman of the Committee on Human Rights (COHR) in Manipur as well as the Founder chairman of the NorthEast Coordingation Committee on Human Rights (NECOHR) and also currently the Adviser to Apunba Lup, a coalition of 32 groups in Manipur, leading the struggle against the repression of Indian State.
Dr. LP Singh in his brief address described the history of Manipur nation, in particular the fact that Manipur was a sovereign democratic republic in its own right before it was annexed by Indian State and reduced to a union territory. It was granted statehood in 1972 and it has been under the AFSPA since 1980. He informed the audience that all the atrocities of the Indian army has been documented by COHR and other groups and those interested can go through them. His main purpose to go to different India cities, is to let his brothers and sisters know how Manipuris have been suffering under this draconian law. He appealed to all to organize meetings, protest and put public pressure on the Central government to repeal this law so that nobody anywhere on earth can be tortured, humiliated and murdered as Manipuris have been since 1980. He also explained how in the worst traditions of colonial rule, the Indian state has tried to divide Manipuris by organizing various factional fights on the basis of religion, community or nationalities Kuki/Naga/Meities. The latest Manorama Devi incident has brought all the fighting forces together again and this time Manipuris are not going to give in. They shall fight till this law is repealed. He also castigated those political parties including some who call themselves communists and defend this law under the name of defending the national security and the unity and integrity of India. “Do you want only the Manipuri land and exterminate all living beings there?” he asked the central government. He also emphasized that struggle for democratic rights in different parts of India, such as Narmada Bachao Andolan, against POTA, against hunger, against communal massacres organized by the Indian state are all part of one struggle.
Earlier, Dr Pradip the convener LRS, Pune extended a warm welcome to all those present, in particular Dr. LP Singh who very kindly agreed to come to Pune and address the meeting. Briefly enumerating the facts since the premeditated rape and murder of T. Manorama Devi by Assam Rifles, he hailed the heroic struggle of Manipuris against the continuing state repression there under the draconian black law called Armed Forces Special Powers Act. Tracing the history of this act to The armed Forces (Special Powers) Ordinance of 1942 promulgated by the then Viceroy of India to crush the Quit India Movement Pradip read out a few excerpts from the various acts namely, The Assam Disturbed Areas Act, 1955 passed by the Assam State Assembly, The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 enacted by the Parliament of the Independent India and the Armed Forces (J&K) Special Powers Act, 1980. The most dangerous clause common to all these fascist laws is the unlimited protection guaranteed to the members of the armed forces acting under this law. They can do whatever they want and they cannot be prosecuted in any court of law except with the explicit prior sanction of the central government. “ Lok Raj Sangathan has organized such meetings and actions in different parts of India including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and other cities to make the people conscious of what is the struggle in Manipur all about and express solidarity with it.
A movie on the ongoing struggle of the brave Manipuri people against the state terrorism of the Indian state was screened. The vivid video clippings of the brutal assault and humiliation of Manipuri people by the Indian army, shocked all those present. Some people literally wept seeing the graphic images.
There were several interventions from the floor and all were unanimous in their determination to build a movement to repeal this black law immediately. Representatives from Manipuri Students Association described how various parts of the act violate the basic human rights of the people. Shyam supported the just struggle of the Manipuri people and promised to support all such initiatives so that much bigger actions can be organized. We have all chosen to be Indians. Nobody should take us for granted. If this law is not repealed, Manipur will be another Kashmir, he said. Comrade Kerkar of LNP congratulated LRS for this excellent initiative and invited all those present to join together to take this message to various parts of Pune districts through trade unions and other organizations. The militant spirit of all those present culminated in the unanimous vote for the resolution calling on the central government to repeal Armed Forces Special Powers Act and punish the guilty.