Last Updated on February 17, 2023 by SPN Editor
Demanding the authorities concerned to put an end to the construction of “security” border fencing along the Indo-Myanmar border until the existing dispute is settled amicably, hundreds of protesters mobilized by the United Committee Manipur (UCM) attempted to storm the Chief Minister’s Bungalow here on Tuesday. However, police tactfully foiled the protest from further escalation.
Representatives of UCM had earlier met Chief Minister N Biren and MoS Dr RK Ranjan and apprised them of the issue. The two leaders also assured to bring a solution regarding their demand. RK Ranjan had earlier assured to verify the border dispute by October 2021 but no positive action has been taken yet, the UCM President lamented cautioning that such a lackadaisical attitude of the CM and the Union Minister will amount to rubbing salt on the wound.
The United Committee Manipur (UCM) said it was prompted to launch the protest after the government failed to come out with a public statement on the disputed border fencing by June 20 as demanded by the committee.
Several protesters including students and women in large numbers gathered at Kangla Western Gate at around 2 PM with placards in hand. They attempted to take out a rally towards the Chief Minister’s Bungalow in a bid to apprise the Chief Minister of their demand. However, a large number of State Police rushed to the spot and prevented the protesters from further proceeding, leading to a strong confrontation between the police and the protestors for a while.
The protest carried out by the UCM in front of Kangla Western Gate was participated by hundreds of volunteers from like-minded organisations, Meira Paibis, including volunteers of two students’ bodies namely All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU) and Kangleipak Students’ Association (KSA).
Owing to police interruption, the protesters staged their protest demonstration shouting slogans “Long live Manipur”, “Stop construction of border fencing immediately” “No border fencing without proper survey demarcation”, “Keep your words Union Minister Dr. RK Ranjan Singh” etc.
UCM President Konthoujam Joychandra while talking to reporters on the sidelines of the protest urged Chief Minister N Biren and MoS for External Affairs & Education Dr RK Ranjan to man up and keep their promise.
UCM was formed in 2001 for the protection of State’s integrity and the committee is still fearless to lay down life for the cause of protecting our land. If the government wants agitation, we will do it. Many are ready to sacrifice lives, Joychandra said, cautioning that the government should not invite another June 18 incident.
He also threatened to launch a series of agitations in the coming days again if the State Government and Union Minister Dr. RK Ranjan Singh fail to come out with a clear-cut clarification about the disputed border fencing issue and send a letter to the Central Government at the earliest.
He said that the size of Manipur’s land once gifted by our forefathers is huge but has now gradually decreased day by day. He contended that many boundary pillars have been erected along the Indo-Myanmar border without conducting proper demarcation.
He conveyed that a team of UCM recently visited the sites where border pillars are erected and found many border pillars being erected inside Manipur’s territory, losing the State’s land to Myanmar by 1 Km, 2, Km, 3 Km and 5 Km at various points.
He said that in the past UCM and the government had an understanding not to construct boundary fencing until the dispute is resolved. However, the government clandestinely constructed the border fencing, which is very unfortunate, he claimed.
He pointed out that the Kabow Valley, which once belonged to Manipur was given to Myanmar by India in exchange of Andaman & Nicobar Island which is a big loss for the people of the State. He said that giving away Kabow Valley and other parts of Manipur to Myanmar may not be a loss for India but it is a great loss for Manipur.
CM Biren and MoS RK Ranjan should understand the crooked policy of India and work tactfully in the interest of the State. The duo should man up and keep their words. People will agitate if the government wants to do so, he reiterated, adding that today’s protest is just a beginning.