| Barbershops down shutters in Imphal on Thursday. Picture by UB Photos |
Imphal, Feb. 13: The Manipuri Association North East India joined hands with North East Students Organisation (Neso) to protest racial discrimination against people of the region, as non-Manipuri barbers downed shutters here for the same cause.
The association was formed in September last year by Manipuris from different states of the Northeast to work towards their common interests.
Manipuri artistes and retired government officials from the region are members of this association.
“We will join tomorrow’s demonstration organised by Neso in front of Raj Bhavan in Guwahati. After that, a joint team of the two organisations will go to Delhi to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other central leaders to express our strong resentment over the attacks on our children,” said Potsangbam Sonamani, the president of the Manipuri association.
Sonamani, a former senior superintendent of police, Nagaland, said Manipur’s merger with India was not a choice of the people of the state. “Manipuris and the people of the region want that the northeasterners should be treated like other Indians,” he said.
“We are not demanding anything extraordinary. We can’t bear this discriminatory attitude any longer. We demand a rightful place in Indian society,” Sonamani told reporters here today.
“We should look closely at the cases. There is a pattern. If the attacks continue, it will pose a serious threat to the unity and integrity of India,” Y. Mahendra, a retired educationist and adviser to the Manipuri association, said.
The association also urged the Okram Ibobi Singh government to convene a special session of the Assembly to express its concern over the attacks.
In a related development, barbershops owned by people from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Bengal and other parts of the country remained closed today to protest against the New Delhi attacks.
“People from the Northeast are also Indians and they are not foreigners. What has been happening in New Delhi is not good. Such incidents have sullied the image of the country,” Roshan Kumar Thakur, the secretary of the Manipur Barbers Association, said.
More than 50 barbershops in and around Imphal run by non-Manipuris remained shut throughout the day today.