A Paper smeared with Blood

It has almost become a ritual for the media in Manipur to cover maximum insurgency-related reports. In fact, there are no issues to cover in the region, which is infested with violence and corruption. Issues, in this sense, means those of development and other positive subject; it could be health, lifestyle, society or whatever. What we need is an alternative strategy to search for a solution, rather that losing ourselves in the vicious cycle of anarchy and underdevelopment ever since the completion of the British imperialism. 

In midst, I was surprised by the following reports on a leading newspaper, based in Imphal – for I feel, they are long-drawn-out for an 8-page daily. Here we go:   

PREPAK casualties increase in 'Op Summer Storm'

IMPHAL, Apr 15: With three more killed in the wee hours of April 14, the number of militants killed has gone up to 11 in the ongoing 'Op Summer Storm' to flush out militants from the Loktak area. While nine bodies have been already recovered and handed over to the police, the process is on to recover two more bodies caught in the phumdis, a release from the PIB defence wing has said.

It may be recalled that after receiving information on the presence of militant camps in the lake area, a well planned joint operation involving the Army and Manipur police, named  'Op Summer Storm' was launched on April 10 by the 57 Mountain Division, police commandos and Bishnupur police at Loktak lake, Chingmayi Pat, Nongmaikhong, Arong and Khordak. Till last reports, the joint team had destroyed five major camps of PREPAK at the Loktak lake. Out of the five, four camps were destroyed on April 12 and 13 while the fourth one was destroyed on April 14.

There have been four major encounters, the first being on April 12 morning in which militants tried to ambush the security forces but in the process were ambushed themselves and lost three of their cadres.

On April 13 morning, three more militants were eliminated around Nongmaikhong while they were trying to break the cordon and escape towards the Manipur river. There was yet another encounter on the same day at Khordak where two militants were killed while trying to escape. The fourth encounter was in the wee hours of April 14 in which three more militants were eliminated taking the tally to 11 militants killed thus far.

The release further said the troops were generally equipped lightly and therefore could ill afford to waste ammunition. Coupled with this was the issue of ensuring no collateral damage whatsoever.

The security men did not resort to speculative firing as they were sensitized about the possibility of women and children in the camp as also not to cause any harm to Sangai deer at the Keibul Lamjao sanctuary and adjoining areas of Loktak, the release said.

Only specific hideouts were surgically struck by the joint team of Army and police to ensure that no collateral damage was caused to the environment, it said.

It is for this reason alone that the wife and child of a militant caught in the hideout could be safely extricated on April 13. Forest officials were also denied entry into the lake area for their own safety, it added
However, after the operation, the forest department officials will be able to operate without fear and constant threat from the militants by preventing their entry into the park. The fishermen residing on the fringes would also feel free to venture into the open waters without constant threat from militants, the release said.

The success of 'Op Summer Storm' has yet again illustrated a total synergy between the state police and 57 Mtn Div. Apart from eliminating the 11 militants, the joint team recovered six AK-47/56 rifles, one lethod launcher, one 9mm German Mouser, one 9mm pistol, hand grenades, explosives, IEDs, and huge amount of ammunition and warlike stores, it added.

MPA claims killing 14 troops in Kamjong ambush

IMPHAL, Apr 15: In all 14 Assam Rifles soldiers were killed and more than 10 injured in two different but related ambush sites falling within the Ukhrul district, according to a press release by the senior publicity officer of the Manipur People's Army, MPA, the armed wing of the underground UNLF.

There is however no corroboration of the news from the Assam Rifles as yet.

The MPA release said fighters of its battalion No: 241, laid an ambush on a convoy of the Assam Rifles at 8 this morning at a place between Konkan and Kamjong villages, and routed the party thoroughly.

It said three lead vehicles of the convoy which were in the firing range of the MPA ambush were destroyed totally when they were hit directly by MPA fire and those in the vehicle would have all either died or been grievously injured.

It said upon being attacked the rear vehicles of the convoy began shelling what they thought were the MPA positions in the forested hills blindly, however no reports of casualties amongst the MPA fighters were available.

Fighting at this site continued intermittently till 10.30 am, it said. Later two helicopter gunship came to the rescue of the Assam Rifles troops and were busy evacuating their casualties, the release said.

The MPA anticipated reinforcement to be rushed by the Assam Rifles from its Nambisha camp, and laid another ambush between Nambisha and Phaikot, and in the second assault at 12.30pm, killed four personnel and injured many more.

The MPA release estimates that in the two successful assaults, a total of 14 soldiers were killed and 10 injured.

It said the MPA fighters are still in the area and more fighting are expected. The MPA has also sent in its reinforcement to meet all eventualities, it added.

RPF lashes out at state forces on Martyrs' Day

IMPHAL, Apr 15: The underground Revolutionary People's Front, RPF, has shown its gratitude to the people of the state for having observed April 13 as Martyrs' Day by offering floral tributes at the martyrs' memorial located at Cheiraoching in Imphal.

The RPF's secretary of publicity T Leishemba said in a statement that the enthusiastic support of the people was proof that the RPF's struggle was on the right course and it would be successful one day.

He praised the support given by people from all walks of life and of all ages  including those who provided various kinds of help in the making the event a success like the media, medical personnel, volunteers, contributors and other groups and organisations.

The government is not following any legitimate rules of warfare and passing out justice without trial, he said while condemning the various black laws being enforced in the state.

He further stated that the civil and the military forces were meting out frequent harassment to the public and rapes, looting, custodial deaths and torture were common happenings today in the state.

The security forces were even showing disrespect to the dead by destroying their memorial sites, as in the case of the Cheiraoching site, which was against the limits of civilised behaviour, he added.

KCP cautions state forces on 29th raising day

IMPHAL, April 15: The KCP in a press release signed by N Santosh Meitei, Working Committee. Gen. Secy. Group, said the party paid rich tribute to its departed leaders and cadres on the occasion of its 29th raising day on April 14 at different units of the party.

It main function at the KP headquarter began with a 2-minute silence in honour of all its members who made the supreme sacrifice.

It pledged that it would fight for the freedom so dearly held by the forefathers who on many occasions in history when Manipur's freedom was threatened fought and prepared to give up even their lives to save it.

Giving a brief history of the genesis of the current conflict, the release said Manipur's recent history can be said to have had three major cataclysmic chapters.

The first of these was the 7-years of devastation under following a Burmese conquest. Our freedom loving forefathers, both of the hills and plains, never gave up the struggle and ultimately freed their motherland from foreign yoke.

The second was the British aggression in 1891 in which Manipur was defeated and put under British subjugation. However, when British colonialism ended, Manipur, like so many other small states were left at liberty to self rule.

In the third event this brief freedom ended with the forceful merger of Manipur to the Indina Union in 1949.

Right from the beginning, in anticipation of a fight back, India placed many draconian laws, such as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, AFSPA, in Manipur, and using it brutalised the place.

A brave woman, Irom Chanu Sharmila has been on an epic hunger strike which has entered its 8th year for the repeal of the AFSPA, but all to no avail as India is unwilling to listen or treat her cause with sympathy, the release charged.

It said even the British were more considerate as they could be moved by a few days of hunger strike by Gandhi, but India remains cold and insensitive to the protest by Sharmila, it added.
Today the struggle is taking and ugly.

On one hand are impostors tarnishing the face of the revolution by making it their personal enrichment project.

On the other hand the Manipur Police is turning on the revolutionaries with a vengeance and giving the struggle a visage of fratricidal war. It said the police are even harassing the families of revolutionaries, and warned that the war could get extremely ugly if the revolutionaries also began harassing the families of the police commandos.

It called upon the police to return to their senses and realise that the war the revolutionaries is for the good of the land.

The release concluded with a prayer for the peace of soul of those who have sacrificed their lives in the struggle.

Source: The Imphal Free Press
Thursday, 16 April 2009




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