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KANGPOKPI | Aug 8 : Responding to calls of Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM) to observe a shutdown to protest the Framework Agreement signed between the NSCN(IM) and Government of India, all Kuki dominated areas in Sadar Hills, Kangpokpi district came to a standstill today from 6:00 am affecting normal life in the entire district. The KIM bandh was also to press for justice against what it calls the Kuki genocide perpetrated by the NSCN(IM) in the 1990s.
Similar responses to the KIM bandh have also been reported in all other Kuki dominated areas of Manipur disrupting traffic flow and normal functioning of business establishments, educational institutions and government institutions.
As many as four vehicles including one Activa scooter, two Maruti Swift Dzire cars and one Ford iKon car were damaged by bandh supporters along National Highway-2 (Imphal-Dimapur) road at Gamgiphai in Kangpokpi district.
Bandh supporters were seen blocking National Highway-2 at Gamgiphai, Sapormeina and Taphou Kuki villages, bordering Kangpokpi and Senapati districts. The supporters include a vast number of men, women and youth of the respective areas, and some of them were seen burning tyres along the national highway.
In Saikul, volunteers blocked Imphal-Saikul road at Champhai village. They were also seen burning tyres along the road. Women volunteers were also seen pulling out benches and sitting along the road the whole day. No untoward incidents have been reported till the filing of this report.
Unlike other bandhs called in the district, Kuki Inpi’s total shutdown completely secluded the entire district from all walks of life. All educational institutions in Kuki dominated areas in the district declared holiday for three days owing to the bandh after bandh. Business establishments remained completely shut down for the day while government institutions also remained closed.
Exempted services like medical, media fraternity and others were also strictly monitored by the bandh volunteers’ along the national highway.
Speaking to media persons at Gamgiphai, Lamminlun Singsit, general secretary of Kuki Inpi Kangpokpi District said that responding to a clarion call of KIM, the Kuki people in Kangpokpi district under the aegis of Kuki Inpi Kangpokpi District fully endorsed the 24 hours total shutdown. “We will support and endorse any further movement of the Kuki Inpi Manipur in its movement to achieve the much needed attention of the centre and state Government to fulfil its demands,” he added.
He also made an appeal to both the Centre and state governments to fulfil the demands of Kuki Inpi in the larger interest of long lasting peaceful co-existence and understanding.
Meanwhile, KIM vehemently condemned the alleged irresponsible and arrogant behaviour of deputy commissioner of Churachandpur and demanded the authority concerned to remove him from the district at the earliest.
The press release issued by KIM Information and Publicity Department stated that the Kuki Inpi Manipur is offended and appalled by the irresponsible and arrogant behaviour shown by the incumbent DC of Churachandpur district, Shyam Lal Poonia on the day of general strike called by the KIM.
It also said that the 24-hour total shutdown has been imposed as a mark of protest against the inordinate delay and denial of justice by successive governments at the Centre and the state to more than 900 innocent Kuki civilians who were slaughtered, 360 villages that were destroyed and more than 1 lakh who were rendered homeless and displaced in the Kuki Genocide perpetrated by the NSCM-IM in the early 1990s.
“Let it be known to all concerned, that the Kukis have been denied justice for 25 years now”, it asserted.
It also alleged that Shyam Lal Poonia, in scant regard to the feeling and sensitivity of the Kukis, had stubbornly decided to go ahead with the social activities like cleanliness drive of all government departments in the district on the very day of general strike called by KIM.
It further said that it is extremely unlikely that Shyam Lal Poonia was in the dark about the proposed general strike by KIM, when every media outlets (both print and electronic) in the state had reported about it. The callous attitude displayed by the DC reflects his biasness, exposes his true character and the utter disregard of the victims of the Kuki Genocide in particular and the Kukis in general.
“The imprudent behaviour of Churachandpur DC is not only an act of defiance upon the leadership of KIM but also a show of contempt upon the Kukis as a whole, which is downright unacceptable,” it said.
While strongly demanding the authority concerned to remove Shyam Lal Poonia from Churachandpur district at the earliest without any further ado in the larger interest of all, KIM alleged that such an inept officer lacks the qualities and the acumen required to administer a district like Churachandpur.
Meanwhile, IFP’s Churachandpur correspondent added that the total shutdown called by KIM was effective in and around Tuibong and Kangvai areas of Tiddim road where no vehicles were seen plying and very few people came out in the areas.
There has been no major untoward incident reported in Churachandpur till the filing of this report except for some commotions near Light House points, however police personnel took care of the situation.
The KSO Churachandpur yesterday expressed its full support to KIM’s total shutdown calling for all likeminded organisations in the district to cooperate and assist them.
In Moreh, the 24 hours bandh called by KIM against the Central government largely affected the border town.
From the early morning onwards, different Kuki civil bodies, student organisations and Kuki women folks came out on the streets and started blocking the road.
National Highway 102 passing through Moreh market was blocked and tyres were burnt on other roadways passing through the town. On the other hand, the officials who were returning back after taking part in the opening ceremony of International border between Myanmar and India were stopped by the bandh supporters who protested against the officials.
The officials made requests to the bandh supporters to let them pass. However, being unable to come to terms with the protesters, the officials had to turn back their vehicles. They are presently staying at the Integrated Check Post (ICP), Moreh. During the bandh, pharmacies, school, colleges, government offices and banks were shut down. Namphalong market at Myanmar side also remained closed and streets bore a deserted look.