Imphal, the 8thJuly 2018.
Joint Tribal Student Bodies demand action against KSO activists and Addl SP over intimidation and assault of tribal students in Churachandpur.
The Joint Tribal Student Bodies, Manipur issue this media statement to register our discontent with the harmful activities of Churachandpur police and Kuki Students’ Organisation (KSO) militants during the indefinite bandh called for recruitment of MIL (tribal languages) teachers and restoration of normalcy in Manipur University.
We strongly condemn the physical assault of the president of TSA Kangvai block, ThangminlunHaokip, at his home at Ukhagate, Churachandpur without any reason on the morning of 6 July by some youths who came in a gypsy and claimed to be activists of the KSO. Seven peaceful protesters were also detained by Churachandpur police in their custody overnight on 6 July. On the same morning, a group of KSO militants, possibly armed, led by one Letminlen (Facebook name Shell Ngawl), information secretary of KSO Churachandpur, drove around Kangvai area in a white gypsy in search of the protesters and to attack them – Shell Ngawl bragged about their activities in social media).
While the police action may have been a precautionary measure as claimed by them, we strongly condemn the police for not detaining KSO militants who were chasing and trying to harm peaceful student protestors. More than 20 KSO militants stormed Churachandpur police station to attack the peaceful student protesters who were detained in the police custody. The students had to stay overnight in the police station as the KSO militants waylaid them.
We strongly condemn the police inaction in allowing or abetting KSO militants to attack peaceful protesters and TSA leader/s, and not taking any action against the violent KSO activists or vigilante. We wonder what connections the police have with the KSO militants to cause harm to protesters. Were the KSO activists in Churachandpur authoritatively deployed by the state government to maintain law and order and attack peaceful protesters?
During the bandh, the Addl SP of Churachandpur, LunkhomangKhongsai, called up a TSA leader and talked in offensive language while scornfully telling TSA to stop the bandh as it was not effective in Churachandpur. If the bandh was not effective in Churachandpur why the Addl SP and his men were so concerned about it that they detained the peaceful protesters while allowing or instigating KSO militants to attack the non-violent tribal student protesters. The bandh was casually relaxed in Churachandpur to avoid physical confrontation with the opposing violent student group, but unfortunately the police took advantage of this to belittle us.
The bandh was strong in other parts of hill areas of the state and there was not a single incident of police detention, violence or confrontation from any quarter, but why violence and harm was perpetrated against the peaceful protesters in Churachandpur where, as the district Addl SP described, was not effective?
While we understand that under some circumstances the police may need to take some precautionary measures to prevent protesters from causing public inconvenience, we would like to question why the same police led by the Addl SP acted like a team with the violent KSO volunteers to harm the peaceful protesters. Where is the police duty of care towards the peaceful protesters? What motivated the Addl SP to act like that needs explaining by the authority and the Addl SP himself.
The chief minister, who is also the home minister, also must take responsibility for the incidents. Why are some students detained or arrested when they have not committed any crime, but not some others who protested and stormed the gate of the chief ministers’ office and also imposed indefinite bandh in Manipur University, which has been paralysed for more than a month by some student organisations demanding the removal of the vice chancellor? Is the state government instigating students to agitate in Manipur University while detaining peaceful tribal students who were only demanding restoration of normalcy in the university and recruitment of tribal MIL teachers?
In seeking justice, we demand that the police immediately register an FIR and arrest all the KSO leaders and members and all others involved in the incidents of intimidation and assault of the peaceful tribal student leaders in Churachandpur on 6 July. We also demand that the district Addl SP and any other policemen involved in the incidents be penalised with appropriate actions for abetting crime and violence and for their failure to act judiciously and demonstrate duty of care. If our demands are not met effectively on or before 10 July, we will resume our agitation in an intensified manner.
Thadou Students’ Association
Rongmei Naga Students’ Organization
North East India
Liangmei Naga KatimaiRuangdi
Assam Manipur Nagaland