| People pay floral tributes to martyrs at Kekrupat in Imphal on Wednesday. Picture by UB Photos |
Imphal, June 18: The Manipur government and citizens’ organisations reaffirmed their stand on protection of Manipur’s territorial integrity on Great June Uprising, Unity Day today.
The United Committee, Manipur (UCM), and the All Manipur United Clubs’ Organisation (Amuco) observed Great June Uprising, Unity Day on June 18 every year to commemorate people’s uprising on this day in 2001 against declaration of the NSCN (I-M)’s ceasefire without any territorial limit by the then NDA government at the Centre.
Police crackdown on protesters, who went on burning the state Assembly building, chief minister’s office building and other government buildings, killed 18 people.
The main highlights of the day’s programme were paying floral tributes by members of all communities to the memorial site of the 18 people killed and holding a public convention at Kekrupat here to reaffirm the pledge. A blood donation camp was also organised by two citizens’ organisations to mark the day.
The June Uprising was triggered by the apprehension that Delhi might disintegrate Manipur while solving the problem of the NSCN (I-M).
Deputy chief minister Gaikhangam, ministers and MLAs were among those who paid floral tributes to the “martyrs”. Congress MP Thokchom Meinya Singh also paid floral tributes.
“Today is a historic day. The day reminds us of the need to stand united. The Manipur government’s stand is very clear — nobody can disturb the unity and integrity of Manipur,” Gaikhangam, who is also the home minister, said after paying floral tributes.
Leaders, who addressed the meeting, cautioned people that the threat to Manipur’s integrity still exists as the United Naga Council (UNC) has been demanding an alternative administrative arran-gement and the NSCN (I-M) demand for integration of Nagas. Kukis are also demanding creation of a Kuki state out of Manipur’s territory.
“We cannot accept the alternative arrangement demand of the UNC or the demand for a Kuki state. The threat to Manipur’s integrity still exists. We will resist all attempts to disintegrate Manipur,” convener of the observation committee, T. Gandhi, said in his keynote address.
Amuco president Y. Mani and UCM president Y. Nabachandra reaffirmed the stand and said unity is the only common future of all communities in the state.
“We observe the day to strengthen our stand that we will sacrifice more blood if any move is made against the interest of Manipur,” Nabachandra said.
Manipuris settled in other parts of the Northeast, including Assam, attended the programme. Many Manipuris who settled in Bangladesh and Myanmar could not reach Imphal following a 48-hour strike called by the United Naga Council (UNC) in all-Naga inhabited areas of Manipur.
The UNC has called the strike beginning Monday midnight against the Okram Ibobi Singh government’s decision to establish village development committees in the hills.
Most shops here remained shut during the programme.