Call for Endorsements: Appeal Letter re Militarization of Ukhrul (Manipur, NE India)

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    Dear friends,

    Ukhrul (Manipur, India) has been under heavy militarization since the 13th of July 2014 following the killing of Mr. Ngalangzar Malue, an Autonomous District Council member of Ukhrul District by unidentified gunmen on the 12th of July at around 11:30 a.m. at Finch Corner, about 22 kms away from Ukhrul District Headquarter.

    Civil society Organizations (CSOs) immediately conducted on-the-spot investigation followed by collective assessment of the situation to take pre-emptive measures in case of any potentiality for social unrest following the incident. It was found that no threat to public unrest exists, and this was subsequently communicated to all organisation that the situation is under control and.

    However, on 13th July 2014 the Government of Manipur sent hundreds of Manipur Police Commando (MPC) and Indian Reserved Battalion (IRB) to Ukhrul District Headquarters and arrested eight cadres of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) and also imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (S. 144 CrPC); a law intended to provide for an emergency i.e. when there is a major violence or where there is an apprehension of a serious disturbance of the public tranquillity in the Constitution. Under such circumstances, the Magistrate is required to deliberate upon and decide the rights of the parties before acting and can be imposed only after providing material facts that clearly supports the decision. The law prohibits free movement and the assembly of more than 5 people.

    The imposition of S. 144 CrPC has suspended the freedom of movement and association of the public for more than a month and is causing harm to the social, economic and mental health of the people in and around Ukhrul District Headquarters. Through peaceful demonstrations, protests, rally and numerous memorandum the public has challenged the government to provide the material facts required by law for the imposition of S.144 CrPC.

    The action taken by the Government of Manipur (GoM) is totally uncalled for and it amounts to penalizing the innocent civilians for a crime they have not committed. The public has been coming out openly against the actions and tension has been mounting. Relief to the sufferings of innocent civilians is not at sight, the government is instead sending in more state armed forces to the district.

    The Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) appeals to you all for your support and solidarity for the protection of the fundamental rights and freedoms of the people of Ukhrul, Manipur, India.

    The Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) and Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) request you to take a few minutes and endorse the petition to the Home Minister of India by providing your name, country and your organisation on or before August 20. Please send your endorsements to Richard at Richard@aippnet.org and/or Ningreichon at ningreichon@gmail.com.

    We have also attached the sequence of events, which will be enclosed as an annex to this petition.


    Time Line Ukhrul under siege by Manipur State Forces 
    Date Event Response
    12/07/14 Mr. Ngalangzar Malue, ADC member was shot to death by unidentified gunmen at Finch Corner at around 11:30 a.m. which is about 22 kms away from Ukhrul Headquarter.
    • Tangkhul Naga Zingsho Longphang (Tangkhul Eastern Area Hoho) officials made a spot visit to Finch Corner.
    • Emergency meeting of all Tangkhul civil society organizations led by Tangkhul Naga Long (Tangkhul Hoho, TNL) was held to review the situation.
     13/07/14 Pre-dawn military operation was conducted at Ukhrul by GoM whereby 8 NSCN cadres were arrested and properties/documents were confiscated from their public liaison office.

    About 6 battalions of heavily armed Indian Reserve Battalion and Manipur Police Commando (Manipur state forces) were deployed in Ukhrul and S.144 CrPc was promulgated by the Deputy Commissioner (DC) Ukhrul.

    • TNL apprised the District Administration through a letter, to withdraw the promulgated 144 CrPc. Later, the District Administration committed to the mass-based organizations that no frisking and house-to-house raid by state forces would be allowed to take place.
    • Impromptu sit-in-protest took place at Dungrei Junction in Ukhrul.
    • Civil society organizations decided to launch protests through civic actions to pressurize the authorities concerned.
    • Joining the people’s reaction against the State Government’s unwarranted move, All Naga Students Association Manipur (ANSAM) issued a press release denouncing the act of imposing S.144 CrPc.
     14/07/14  More state forces sent to Ukhrul town.
    • A joint memorandum of TNL & other civil society organization was submitted to Governor of Manipur through DC of Ukhrul for restoration of normalcy. Poster campaign against the militarization of Ukhrul was organized by Tangkhul Katamnao Saklong (TKS)
    • Emergency Public Meeting held at TNL hall and collective public mobilization initiative was undertaken for civic action.
     15/07/14
    • Public mobilization against violence and militarization started by the civil society organizations.
     16/07/14
    • Naga Women Union(NWU), the apex women organization of 16 Naga tribes in Manipur, condemns the killing of Ngalangzar and calls for the end to militarization of Ukhrul.
    • In protest against militarization of Ukhrul town by GoM, United Naga Council (UNC), the apex organization of all the Naga tribes in Manipur, called 24 hrs Total Bandh in all Naga inhabited areas of Manipur.
    17/07/14
    • A delegation of Naga Peoples Front (NPF) led by its President, Soso Lorho and other functionaries made a spot visit to Ukhrul to assess situation and recommended that the Legislators and party functionaries should also address the issue politically at the higher level.
    • A public consultation meet was organized by TNL with all Tangkhul mass based organization and officials of the Naga Hoho, UNC, ANSAM, NWU. The meeting discussed on the implication of militarization of Ukhrul headquarters and the impact on the ongoing Indo-Naga Peace talk. It was decided that the issue in nature is not confined to Ukhrul alone but has a larger implication on the Nagas as a whole and the matter be dealt collectively under the banner of Naga Hoho and UNC.
     18/07/14
    • UNC submitted a memorandum to Hon’ble Prime Minister of India apprising him of the warlike situation in Ukhrul and sought his immediate intervention.
    • Tangkhul Scholars Association condemns the killing of Ngalangzar
     19/07/14
    • NPMHR condemns the killing of Ngalangzar
    • Peaceful sit-in-protests were held by womenfolk under the leadership of Tangkhul Shanao Long (TSL) in different localities of Ukhrul Headquarter.
    • Students started wearing black ribbons as a sign of protest against the militarization and actions of the GoM.
     20/07/14
    • An-hour public curfew between 12:30 and 1:30 PM was started daily by the public in the town.
     21/07/14
    • Students protested through a myriad of stickers and banners during a campaign against militarization organized by the TKS.
     22/07/14
    • Sit-in protest organized again by women wearing black wrap around worn during funerals as a mark of protest.
     24/07/14
    • UNC called for a 48 hrs bandh on all vehicular movements on National Highway (NH) 2, NH 37 and NH 150 from midnight of 24/ 07/ 2014.

     

    • Tangkhul social organizations staged a peaceful sit-in protest
    25/07/14
    • A note by the TNL secretariat office which was endorsed by Tangkhul Naga Wungnao Long, TSL, TKS, Tangkhul Mayar Ngala Long (TMNL) condemning the killing of Ngalangzar was sent out again.
    • The village chief of Hungpung and Hunphun (Ukhrul) submitted a joint memorandum to the DC of Ukhrul demanding the lifting of the S. 144 CrPC from the town.
     26/07/14
    • The 8 NSCN-IM cadres who were picked by State police personnel were produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) court in Imphal East district remanded to police custody for 10 more days.
     30/07/14
    • “Prayer for Just Peace” was organized under the aegis of the Ukhrul Inter Churches Forum with support from Tangkhul CSOs which was stopped by the Manipur state forces by setting up checkpoints all across the town and preventing people to attend the prayer programme. Despite all the obstructions and some scuffle between the public and armed forces the programme was held.
    01/08/14
    • Total shut down of Ukhrul district. UNC begins imposing a 10 days ban on all construction work of national projects in Naga areas (Trans Asian Railways, Power Grid, National Hydroelectric Power Corporation)
     02/08/14  UNC Presidents’ Council Meet
    • The Council condemned the GoM on the present situation at Ukhrul through a press note.
     03/08/14  Fasting Prayer program
    • Inter Churches Forum organized fasting and prayer program in all churches for normalization of the situation, and for strengthening the Indo-Naga Peace Talk.
     09/08/14
    • People came out in large number to protest, however state armed forces stopped the public from gathering and hence the people continued their protests through sit-in protests in more than 20 places in Ukhrul. People from the neighbouring villages and also the Member of Legislative Assembly from Chandel, ST. Victor Nunghlung joined the protest.
     10/08/14
    • UNC called for non participation in the Independence Day celebration on 15 August to be held under the aegis of Government of Manipur
     15/08/14
    • TNL called for a total shutdown of Ukhrul on August 15(Independence Day) as part of its agitation against the Government of Manipur’s indifference to the prevailing situation in the district headquarters