The United Committee Manipur (UCM) and All Manipur Clubs’ Organisation (AMUCO) on Monday observed ‘unity day’ commemorating the people’s uprising of June 18, 2001 and re-affirmed stand to stand united against any threat to Manipur’s territorial integrity.
On this day, eighteen people were killed in police crackdown on protestors who went on rampage and burned the Manipur Assembly, Chief Minister’s office and other government offices, in protest against the against the extension of ceasefire beyond territorial limits between the NSCN-IM and Government India, also known as Bangkok Declaration.
The day is observed as unity day in Manipur annually under the aegis of UCM and AMUCO the two major civil bodies of Manipur. Thousands of people paid floral tribute at the unity park, Imphal where the victims of the June uprising were cremated.
The tribute began with a traditional salute by a Thang-ta group. Families and relatives of the deceased June agitators came to the memorial site to pay floral tribute. Many leaders of different communities attended the function including delegates and representatives from neighbouring states like Tripura, Karbi Anglong and Hojai district of Assam.
A public meeting was also held after the tribute wherein the mammoth gathering reaffirmed their stand united and protect the integrity of Manipur.
“This day is very significant that people of Manipur stands united against divisive policy of the government of India to disintegrate Manipur as witnessed on this day in 2001,” said Sunil Karam, chairman, organising committee of the unity day. He cautioned that the solution to appease a single community should not hurt the sentiments of other communities or states.
Devan Ph., vice-chairman of the organising committee said, “People of Manipur today recall the day when people uproar against the ceasefire agreement between the government of India and the NSCN-IM that quoted ‘without territorial limit’ which extended the ceasefire from Nagaland upto Manipur. 18 of them died for the cause of integrity.”
The ill-fated incident was ignited because of the government of India’s attitude of inferiority towards the people of Manipur, alleged Devan.
“While people are having strong apprehension of threat to the state’s integrity the Prime Minister, Home Minister and interlocutor R.N. Ravi are coming out with different statements at different points of time on the possible outcome of the ongoing peace talk between the NSCN-IM and GOI”, he said.
Asking to stop playing with the sentiments of the Manipur people, Devan said Union government should be held responsible for anything unwanted situation arises out divisive plot of the central leaders. All business establishments in Imphal remained closed including private institution, schools and colleges owing to the unity day observance.