Imphal: Campus Front of India (CFI), Manipur State, organized a one-day seminar on the theme, “Repeal AFSPA, 1958 and Save Irom Chanu Sharmila,” on 15th Sept. 2011, as a part of the nation-wide campaign on “stand up for civil rights” launched by CFI, the students’ wing of Popular Front of India (PFI) from Sept. 12 to Sept. 19, 2011.
The seminar, organized at Lilong Higher Secondary Madrasa Auditorium, Lilong Bazar, was graced by the following speakers: AK Janaki, Convenor, and S. Momon Leima, Co-Convenor of Sharmila Kanba Lup; Ng. Nongyai, former member, Manipur Human Rights Commission; Dr. Syed Ahmed, Lecturer of Lilong Haoreibi College; Md. Ramijuddin Ajaz, Advocate Guwahati High Court, Imphal Branch, and Md. Rafiuddin, President of CFI, Manipur State.
A speaker speaking at the seminarThe speakers at the function discussed the myriad problems that the state is facing at present. Many of the speakers spoke on the struggles of Irom Sharmila, who has been on hunger-strike for more than 10 years, demanding repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), 1958 from the state.
Representatives of Sharmila Kanba Lup, AK Janaki and S. Momon Leima expressed their dismay that the people in mainland India and the Central Government are indifferent to the cause that Sharmila has been fighting for since Nov. 2000, demanding the repeal of AFSPA, 1958. They also appealed to the people to fully acknowledge and support the sacrifices made for the coming generations by Sharmila. Commenting on the recent news on the private life of Sharmila that appeared in the national paper, The Telegraph, AK Janaki said that that there has been attempts to sabotage the movement of Sharmila. The daily newspaper has been banned in Manipur for an indefinite period by civil society organisations under the aegis of the umbrella organization, Apunba Lup. The inhuman AFSPA should be immediately repealed from the state, Janaki added. Ng. Nongyai spoke about the instances of human rights violations that have been occurring in Manipur since the imposition of the AFSPA.
The audience at the seminarMd. Ramijuddin Ajaz dealt at length on the high level of corruption prevailing in Manipur and informed the audience on the Right to Information Act in his speech. The Act is an important mechanism for the common people to check corruption in the state, Ajaz added.
Dr. Syed Ahmed spoke about the development of ethnic polarization and the tensions among the various ethnic groups – Meiteis, Nagas, Kukis and Muslims – in the state in the last few years. He analyzed the socio-economic and historical factors for the development. He emphasized that the development of ethnic consciousness and polarization in the state are to a great extent rooted in the imbalance pace of development and the unequal distribution of opportunities and resources among the ethnic groups. He also highlighted the socio-economic and educational conditions of the Muslims in Manipur.
Md. Rafiuddin informed the audience on the activities of CFI and the reasons for the launching of the Manipur unit. He said that the front will address and try to fulfill the needs of the Muslim students in the state.
Sit-in protest by members of PFI Manipur statePFI, Manipur State, came into being in March 8, 2009, and it is based at Lilong. It was soon followed by the opening of the state units of its students’ wing, CFI and political wing, Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI). CFI, Manipur State, was launched during the students’ convention at Lilong in April 2010. Since then these units have been engaging in various activities for the socio-economic and educational upliftment of the Muslims. The units have also been also lending its support to the cause of civil rights movement in the state.
PFI, Manipur unit, has been engaging in promoting the educational standard of the Muslims in Manipur since its inception. One of the most outstanding programmes undertaken by the PFI Manipur unit was the School Chalo campaign as a part of the nation-wide campaign. The campaign, organized in the Muslim concentrated areas of Manipur for 30-days, was undertaken in the month of May-June 2009. As a part of the campaign prizes, books, uniforms, and admission fees were distributed to the Muslim students from poor families of Thoubal and Imphal East districts.
As a part of the nation-wide save public education campaign CFI, Manipur State, observed National Education Day (Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s birthday) on Nov.11, 2010 at Lilong Haoreibi College Auditorium, and discussed the challenges faced by the Muslim students in the state.
PFI Manipur state distributing scholarships to Muslim studentsRecently, on 11th Sept. 2011 PFI, Manipur State, distributed scholarships to Muslim students at a programme held at Lilong Haoreibi College Auditorium. The programme was attended by many Muslim social activists.
PFI, Manipur State, joined the nation-wide campaign for reservation policy for the Muslims in Feb.-March 2010. Like in other campaigns launched in different parts of the country, PFI, Manipur State, also held poster campaign, bike-rally and public meetings during the months. A conference was also organized at Majorkhul Community Hall at Imphal on 14th March, 2010.
Banner for the bike-rally organized by PFI, Manipur state
Bike-rally organized by PFI, Manipur stateAt the conference many prominent speakers, including the then PFI Vice-President, A Sayeed, demanded the implementation of the recommendations of Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission particularly the implementation of 10% reservation for Muslims out of 15% reservation for minorities in job recruitment and admission in educational institutions.