Naga: ‘Stop Shedding Innocent Blood’
Below is an article published by: The Morung Express
Hundreds of Naga women converged at Khuzama-Mao border on Saturday for a peace rally and to protest against the violence perpetuated on women and children by Manipur security forces. Organized by the Naga Mothers Association (NMA), the rally was held to extend solidarity to those were killed and injured in the May 6 rally at Mao gate, demanding lifting of 144 CrpC and vacating of Manipur commandoes from Mao gate.
The rallyists held placards, some of which read “We want solidarity,” “Stop shedding innocent blood,” “ We condemn shedding innocent blood, We want peace” and “Set us free.”
Former NMA president and advisor NMA Khesheli Chishi, in her speech stressed on the futility of killings and bloodshed. “Life is so precious and God’s greatest gift, life is not made of stone or wood, but without realizing that the Manipur police have shortened the lives of our children. Every mother gave birth to her children to make them someone in life, but they killed our children,” the NMA advisor said.
Questioning the Manipur government why Nagas cannot be at peace in their own home or sleep peacefully, she also reminded that the police are supposed to be peacekeepers. She also called upon the Manipur Police personnel to have second thought before carrying out orders if they have any respect for their mothers. Stating that for a mother, whether Manipuri or Naga, all are one and that the Manipuris in Nagaland are not restrained from anything, she added, “We treat the Manipuris in Nagaland as our brothers and sisters but we are treated as enemies in Manipur.”
Alluding to the Mothers’ Day, which falls on Sunday, Kheshili could not restrain her tears as she said, “Tomorrow is Mothers’ Day and what kind of gift have they (commandoes) presented us –the dead bodies of our sons.”
Calling upon Naga women folk to work together and learn to share what they have in common, she also said that Nagas are known for their bravery and so they should defend their rights. “As you celebrate Mothers’ Day with a heavy heart, we also share your sorrows and solidarity,” she said in a poignant ```` ```````condolence message to family members of the deceased.
NMA advisor Rosemary Dzuvichu in her keynote address said that the May 6 incident has brought tension and traumatized the Naga women. Expressing dismay over the act of Manipur police, she said that women and children are always victimized whenever there is any conflict. “We are against bloodshed and we want security and protection of our women and children,” Rosemary said. While conveying condolences to the family members of the deceased family and speedy recovery to the injured, she also conveyed a message to the Manipur government that “Naga women from both the state want peace.”
General Secretary, Tenyimi Women’s Organization Vilanuo appealed to the Manipur government not to disturb the prevailing peace and harmony. “When it is our appeal to our father at home not to create tensions and to maintain peace and harmony, the Manipur government has killed our children and kept the body with them, which is hurting more,” Vilanuo said. She called upon the Manipur Government to stop bloodshed and restore peace in the state.
Secretary General, Naga People for Human Rights (NPMHR), Dr N Venuh, who also addressed the rally, spoke about the “great role” that the Naga mothers have played to bring peace where the menfolk have failed to protect women. He said that the issue began with the banning of NSCN/GPRN general secretary Th Muivah’s proposed visit to his village.
“Who are they (Manipur government and police) to stop a person from visiting his home town? It’s time for us Naga people to unite and stand together.” Throwing a challenge to the Meiteis to use their wisdom and analyze how Nagas and Meiteis are to co-exist, Venuh added, “we want peace and we maintain peace, but you have ruined and killed our people.”He further called upon the Naga people to unite and bring peace in their land.
Extending solidarity to the rally called by the mothers, Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) president Mutsikhoyo Yhobu termed the Manipur Government as “Terrorist Government” and Manipur Rifles as “Satanic Rifles.” “The world must condemn the terrorist government, must condemn the satanic rifles,” the NSF president said. Reminding that there is no law that prohibits a person from entering his r her own homeland, Mutsikhoyo asked the Manipur government to clarify the reason for restricting Muviah’s entry into Manipur.
Conveying the federation’s condolence to the bereaved family, he also led the gathering to shout the slogan “We want Peace, We want unity.” General secretary of People’s Liberties, Andhra Pradesh, and president of Association for Working Women Welfare, Jaya Vindhyala along with two other members attended the rally.“We are expressing solidarity for this movement and also we are demanding Manipur Government to give safe passage to Muviah to his native place.”
Highlights of the programme included Bible reading and prayer by NMA vice president Sarah Nuh, special song (“Healing of our spirit) by Kids for Fame winner Ashuni Lerina.The gathering also sang “We shall overcome,” the same song which was sang by the Mao women in the May 6 rally, in unison, followed by a mass prayer. NMA president Abei-u Meru chaired the programme while NMA secretary Lochumbeni Humtsoe proposed vote of thanks.
There will be a candlelight service, organized by Naga Mother’s Association, NPMHR, NSF, for the displaced mothers and children at Khuzama at 4: 30 PM, The civil societies further appealed to all the members of the Naga society to be a part of the service and pray for the displaced people. The organizers have also requested the churches of Kohima to kindly make arrangements for transportation as a part of sacrifice.