Nagalim: Women Take a Stand Against Militarization
Below is an article published by The Morung Express:
Naga women in Manipur are not ready to let Manipur government ‘militarize’ the hill districts without a fight. The Naga Women’s Union of Manipur has assured that it is ready to take to a series of “programs” to resist the decision of Manipur cabinet to deploy more security forces to the state’s hill districts.
The Naga Women’s Union of Manipur held an emergency executive meeting on July 13 to deliberate on the “deteriorating situation” impacted from the increased militarization in Manipur. The meeting was attended by representatives of all its 16 tribal units. “Women have suffered too long from militarization and till today all of us are experiencing untold hardships. In Manipur, militarization has cost us many human lives and the continuing uncertainty and anxiety has led us to work for demilitarization and women like Sharmila who is on hunger strike since 2001, for the repeal of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. 1958 is sacrificing her life,” the union said.
The members denounced Manipur state cabinet’s decision to deploy Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) and police commandos in the hill areas. The “sinister ploy” of the Manipur government “to further curb the constitutionally given fundamental freedom of the hill people,” is noted. “…our land is already heavily militarized,” the union said in a statement received here today.
The union questioned the wisdom of Manipur government for the fact that the overwhelming presence of military personnel in the land will only increase the people’s misery. “While recalling the bitter past experiences of the people resulting from the conduct of IRB, we strongly condemn the step taken by the Government of Manipur of enhancing military entrenchment in our land. We urge the Government of Manipur to immediately stop its policy of engaging in a systematic and prolonged discrimination and deprivation plan toward the hill people. We do want a truly democratic and peaceful society where our Human Rights are not violated. We never ask for more military presents,” the statement said.
NWUM also questioned the intention of the Hill Area Committee (HAC) and its failure to intervene in this matter. The role of HAC is to safeguard the interest of the hill people but “we are surprised at the inability of HAC to represent and assert the sentiment and voice of the hill people,” the union said. The union has demanded that the cabinet decision should be immediately revoked. In the event of the government failing to do so, the women will initiate series of “programs” to protest it, the union stated.