INDIA: Urgent Appeal On Arrest Of Indigenous Human Rights Defenders By Manipur Police And Indefinite Closure Of Educational Institutions Of Manipur By The Government Of Manipur

Thursday 18 September 2014

Date: 13 September 2014

Type: Appeal for Endorsement

Source: PCFS Listserve

Keywords: Human Rights, Manipur

URGENT APPEAL ON ARREST OF INDIGENOUS HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS BY MANIPUR POLICE AND INDEFINITE CLOSURE OF EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS OF MANIPUR BY THE GOVERNMENT OF MANIPUR

INCIDENT: Arbitrary Arrest and Detention of Human Rights defenders for demanding policy to protect indigenous peoples and land from unabated infusion of non indigenous population in Manipur.

IDENTIFICATION OF VICTIMS:

Mr. Phulindro Konsam (54), Convenor, Committee on Human Rights (COHR), Manipur Ms. Ph Sakhi, President, AMKIL, Ms. Th Ramani, General Secretary, Nupi Samaj, Ms. Longjam Memchoubi, President, Poirei Leimarol Meira Paibi Apunba Manipur Ms. L Gyaneshori, General Secretary, AMKIL, Ms. Ch Janaki, Vice-president, Nupi Samaj Ms. RK Guni, Executive Member,.Poirei Leimarol Meira Paibi Apunba Manipur Ms. Khumukcham (n) Naosekpam (o) Rashesori Devi (55), Moirangthem Angamba (34), Johnson Nongmaithem (29), Sumanta Monoharmayum (23), Elangbam Bijendra Meitei (22), Longjam Abothe Meitei (24), Md Sajad Buya (19), Sarangthem William Milton (25), Okram (n) Khomdram (o) Gunabati , Hijam Ibema Devi (42) Nameirakpam Ibemcha (55) Sarangthem Manjit (27), Pukhrambam Arjun (45), Oinam Premjit (37), Yengkokpam Langamba (36), Soubam Rajendra (50) Wahengbam Sunil (28)

IDENTIFICATION OF PERPETRATOR: Manipur Police, Government of Manipur DATE OF INCIDENT: 8th, 11th and 12th September 2014 SOURCE OF INFORMATION: Committee on Human Rights, Manipur & Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur Bheigyabati Leikai Singjamei Imphal Manipur India 795001 e-add: manipurcohr@gmail.com

EVENT DESCRIPTION: Mr. Phulindro Konsam, a resident of Singjamei Bheigyabati Leikai, Imphal, Manipur and Convenor, Committee on Human Rights (COHR), a conglomerate of human rights organizations in Manipur was arrested by the Manipur Police on 8 September 2014 from Nongmeibung Nambam Chuthek, Imphal, Manipur from the office of the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS). He was arrested along with 11 other youth and community leaders, including women, belonging to several students’ and women’s organizations of Manipur, who had been undertaking series of campaigns, advocacies to formulate a policy to control and regulate the infusion of non indigenous populations in Manipur. No arrest memo was issued by the Manipur police while arresting the human rights defenders. The arrest of Mr. Phulindro Konsam was led by personnel of the Imphal West and East Police commandoes and the Additional SP, Imphal West, Manipur Traffic Police.

The reasons for their arrest were only made known to them the next day when they were produced before the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Imphal East District on 9th September, 2014. All of them were charged under Section 368/326/384/34 of the Indian Penal Code. The charges pertain to wrongful detainment of persons, causing and abetting to cause grievous injury, extortion etc. Mr. Phulindro Konsam and the rest of the student leaders continues to be detained at the Sajiwa Jail, Manipur after CJM, Imphal East remanded them to fifteen days judicial custody on 9 September. Earlier, the Porompat Police Station had registered a suo-motto case report that some Manipuris and non-Manipuris were detained by the members of JCILPS and assaulted them by using weapons and also extorted huge amount of money from them.

The arrest of Mr. Phulindro and the students and women’s leaders is part of the Manipur Government’s ongoing crackdown and suppression of all voices for protection of indigenous peoples’ human rights in Manipur. Five more student and community leaders were also arrested by the Manipur Police on 11 September 2014 and charged under FIR Number 81 (9) 2014 of Irilbung Police Station under Section 457 (Lurking at house, trespass to commit offence), 436 (Mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house), 427/34 IPC and 149/120-B IPC. They were also charged of being involved in the arson of SDC and PHC buildings located at Bashikhong. Further, on 12th September, twenty members of Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System, many of them elderly women leaders of several women’s organizations, were also arrested by Manipur Police. The Manipur police continue to conduct raids and search operations to arrest the leaders of several human rights, women and students organizations in Manipur.

All schools, colleges and educational institutions of Manipur are closed down indefinitely by the Government of Manipur since the arrests of human rights defenders commencing from 10 September, to prevent any protest by student community against the illegal arrest detention of community leaders.

The arrest of human rights defenders constitute a serious human rights violations and deprivation of their right to life and liberty, right to freedom of expression and association, as outlined in provisions of the Constitution of India and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The arbitrary detention of Mr. Phulindro and other women and student human rights defenders also constitutes a violation and disrespect of the specific recommendations by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Ms. Margaret Sagakya during her visit to Guwahati, North East India in February 2011 to protect human rights defenders and to adhere to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Human Rights Defenders, 1998. The arrest of women leaders is a clear violation of the provisions of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The indefinite closure of the schools and colleges of Manipur by the Government of Manipur on 10 September also violated the right to education of children and students of Manipur to free and compulsory education, as guaranteed under 21(A) of constitution of India, and provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1990.

The Committee on Human Rights has long been taking an active role in addressing the state sponsored terrorism and human rights violations in Manipur perpetrated by Indian Army and the Manipur Police, facilitated by series of draconian and emergency laws, including the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967, the National Security Act, 1980, the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

The Committee on Human Rights has long been taking an active role in demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958, an act that confers sweeping powers to the Indian armed forces of India to shoot and kill on mere suspicion and which also provided them with legal immunity. The controversial AFSPA, 1958 is widely abused in Manipur and several human rights bodies of the United Nations had recommended for its repeal.

Background: Infusion of non indigenous populations has long been considered as a larger political strategy of the Government of India to dilute and weaken the indigenous peoples’ movement for right to self determination of Manipur. There has been prolonged movement by indigenous communities of Manipur to protect indigenous peoples land and territories from uncontrolled and unabated infusion of non indigenous populations and unabated militarization under the notorious Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958. Indigenous peoples are already rendered minority in Manipur and there’s wide apprehension that non indigenous populations will completely overran indigenous peoples land, their local economy and their means of survival in coming decades.

Indigenous peoples of Manipur are further worried that with the opening of India’s economy and its border to International Free Trade Agreements, such as the India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement of 2009 and Indo-Myanmar border trade agreement of 1994 and the pursuance of India’s Look East policies, series of large scale infrastructure projects will lead to unabated influx of non indigenous populations from outside Manipur. The mega dams to be build over Rivers of Manipur under the Manipur Hydro Power Policy 2012 will further led to infusion of non indigenous population in Manipur.

Massive infrastructure development projects implemented in Manipur under India’s neoliberal economic policies, such as Look East Policy, including construction of big dams, such as Mapithel Dam, Chakpi Dam, Tipaimukh Dam, Loktak HEP project, oil and gas exploration, mining, the construction of Trans Asian Highway and Railway etc ended up in permanent settlement of non indigenous populations in Manipur, to man and to secure such facilities. Non indigenous populations from mainland part of India and also from nearby countries such as Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar, seeking refuge in India due to economic and political conflicts and for economic opportunities, are also implanted in Manipur without local peoples’ consultation and consent. The extensive militarization to subdue indigenous peoples’ movement for right to self determination led to increase of non indigenous population in Manipur.

The Joint Action Committee on Inner Line Permit System has been demanding for the formulation of appropriate policy to ensure the protection of indigenous peoples of Manipur over their land, territories and resources. There’s prolonged demand for full implementation of all provisions of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007 to ensure their right to free, prior and informed consent over their land and to respect, recognize their right to self determination over their land.

The armed conflict afflicted Manipur is notorious for human rights violations. The Manipur Police along with the Indian Army extensively deployed in Manipur continues to unleash reign of terror in Manipur by indulging in series of fake encounter or extra judicial executions till very recently. Two people were shot dead in Ukhrul Town by the Manipur Police commandoes in early September 2014 for demands to demilitarize their land. The Supreme Court commissioned Santosh Hedge Commissioned had already confirmed the prevalence of fake encounter killings in Manipur by the Manipur police very recently.

DEMANDS: The Committee on Human Rights and the Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur would like to draw your kind attention to:

1) Unconditional release of Mr. Phulindro Konsam and other Human Rights Defenders arrested by the Manipur Police on 8th, 11th and 12th September 2014 and drop all false charges against them.

2) Protect the rights of all human rights defenders of Manipur and implement the UN Declaration on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, 1998

3) Revoke September 10, 2014 notification to close down all education institutions in Manipur,

4) End all forms of deliberate infusion of non indigenous populations in Manipur and fully implement the provisions of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007.

5) Implement the recommendations of the 1st and 2nd cycle Universal Periodic Review of India at the UN Human Rights Council.

PLEASE SEND YOUR APPEAL TO THE FOLLOWING RESPONSIBLE AUTHORITIES OF THE GOVERNEMNT OF INDIA:

A) Honorable Prime Minister South Block, Raisina Hill, New Delhi-110011 Phone +91-11-23012312/+91-11-23012312 Fax +91-11-23019545/23016857

B. Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg New Delhi 110001, India Fax: + 91 11 2338 4863 Email: chairnhrc@nic.in C. Mr. Okram Ibobi Singh Chief Minister of Manipur New Secretariat Building Bapupara, Imphal 795001, Manipur, India INDIAFax + 91 385 2451398 Email: cmmani@hub.nic.in D. Governor of Manipur Raj Bhawan, Imphal 795001, India Fax: +913852441812 Email: govmani@hub.nic.in E. Mr. Shahid Ahmad, DGP Manipur Babupara, Imphal 795001, India Fax: +91 385 2451 100 Email: dgp-mnp@hub.nic.in

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