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JAC Press Release, June 8, 2016

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

/ Published by VIRTHLI
Against Anti-Tribal Bills 

Press Release 
June 8, 2016

In light of the incidents of high-handedness and brutality exhibited by the Delhi Police as well as the Manipur Rifles personnel posted at Manipur Bhawan, Sardar Patel Marg, New Delhi, the Joint Action Committee Against Anti-Tribal Bills (JAC) had an emergency meeting with the Outer Manipur Tribals’ Forum (OMTF), an apex body of the Hmar Inpui, Mizo People Convention, Thadou Inpi, United Naga Council and Zomi Council this morning. The meeting jointly resolved to impose a 24-hour Total Shutdown on all tribal areas of Manipur starting from the midnight of June 8, 2016 in protest against the unprecedented use of excessive force against un-armed peaceful tribal protestors.

We humbly request all tribal people of Manipur to kindly observe the Shutdown to show our solidarity and support for our tribal brothers and sisters in Delhi. With these new developments, the daily sit-in protest at Salphate Pumbuk, Hiangtam Lamka that was earlier slated to begin on June 9, 2016 has been re-scheduled for a later date; details of the same shall be made known to the public soon.

The following shall be exempted from the Total Shutdown: medical services and emergencies, airport pickup and drop, electricity department (including prepaid recharge outlets), telecom service, water supply, ongoing school/college exams, pre-planned conferences/seminars and weddings. [Transcript by Virthli]

The peaceful protest outside the Manipur Bhawan took a violent turn last night after the Manipur Rifles personnel posted there started assaulting the protestors physically. This was followed by an unexpected ambush of lathi charge from the Delhi Police personnel without prior warning, in gross violation of the standard operating procedures, resulting in a number of tribal civilian casualties, with cuts and bruises from head to toe, without any differentiation being made between men and women protestors.
Many tribal women including four young mothers were indiscriminately thrashed, beaten, slapped, kicked and pulled by their hairs; two young women were even groped and molested by the Delhi Police! Many men were picked up and beaten by the Police even as they were leaving the protest area peacefully.
It is shocking to further receive news that Chanakyapuri Police Station had detained around 60 individuals including 21 women since last night, and more than 12 hours had passed since then. On what grounds can women be arrested after dark and held for a full night in a police station/custody is something that remains to be clarified at the earliest by the concerned authority. The injured were not spared either, as they were dragged back to police custody from the hospitals without giving them a much needed rest.

After the brutality and raw force exerted by the Manipur State Forces on tribal protestors resulted in the gruesome death of the nine Tribal Martyrs in Lamka last year, it is indeed disheartening to witness a similar senseless, vicious and discriminatory action on the part of the Delhi Police.

The JAC would like to question as to why democratic and peaceful protestors were dealt with such extreme violence while Chief Minister Ibobi Singh and his cohorts who openly confess their allegiance to CorCom, an umbrella of banned Meitei militant groups, were heavily guarded while they should have be arrested and booked under the appropriate law! Let not the Union government be swayed and misled by the dirty communal politics of Manipur; and let the tribals no longer be seen as second class citizens with lesser human rights or easy victims of filthy political violence perpetrated by larger communities in Manipur as well as the national capital, New Delhi. [Transcript by Virthli]

Our fight against the nexus between the communal Manipur Government, the proscribed Meitei militant groups and the Meitei civil society organizations continues; putting a united fight for our cause gains importance with each passing day. Hence, it is our humble request to the tribals of Manipur, both at home and elsewhere, to start preparing ourselves for any eventuality as we embark on a new phase of the Tribal Movement that has the potential to change our history forever.

Information and Publicity Department

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