Imphal: People from different sections of Manipur on Saturday paid tribute to the martyrs who sacrificed their lives on June 18, 2001 for the cause of Manipur integrity.
This day is observed as the Great June Uprising, Unity Day every year to commemorate the 2001 uprising and reaffirm the resolution to safeguard the territorial integrity of the state.
On June 18, 2001, people in the valley went on a rampage, protesting against the extension of the NSCN (Isak-Muivah) ceasefire without any territorial limit. Eighteen protesters died in the firing by security guards as a mob burnt the Assembly building, chief minister’s office, other government establishments and ministers’ quarters.
Rain could not stop people in paying floral tribute to the great souls at Kekrupat where the martyrs were cremated.
The observation was jointly organised by United Committee Manipur (UCM) and All Manipur United Club Organisation (AMUCO).
Chairman of the organising committee, Joychandra Konthoujam told reporters that in order to observe the day fully state government should announce June 18 as state holiday.
He said central government has been trying to destroy the territorial integrity and boundary of Manipur with various policies. The effort of central government will be useless as people of Manipur are always united. He appealed the people of Manipur to remain united to save Manipur.
Vice-chairman of the observation committee, Ph. Nando Luwang said some insurgency are influencing the people of some communities attempting to break the territorial integrity and boundary of Manipur. Those insurgent groups should immediately stop influencing people for the vested interest of some particular communities. “The demand for separate lands to disintegrate Manipur by influencing some particular communities should be stopped immediately,”
Turning up of large number of people amid incessant rain shows that people from various ethnic communities are united, he said. June 18 is not just an annual observation but it is a sign showing that people have the stance to face any issue unitedly against any force who wants to destroy the territorial integrity of Manipur, he added.
Various communities including Manipuri diaspora came to Kekrupat to pay tribute to the memorial site.
People from various communities, members of civil society organisations, student bodies, local clubs and individuals were seen coming to participate the observation and to pay floral tribute on the tombs of the 18 martyrs.
The tribute began with a traditional salute by a Thang-ta group.
A public meeting was held at the Kekrupat memorial complex ground with people resolving to protect the state’s territory.
MP Rajya Sabha, Leishemba Sanajaoba, MLA K Ibomcha, MLA Thangjam Arunkumar, former MLA, Nahakpam Indrajit, MLA K. Meghachandra, state president Bharatiya Janata Party A. Sharda Devi and others were seen on paying floral tribute to the martyrs.
Very few employees were seen in government departments, private institutions and business establishments. Petrol pumps were seen open while Khwairamband markets, shops were remained shut down in support of the observation.
Huge traffic congestions took place in Imphal city due to the traffic diversion announced by the state government in connection with the June18 observation.
A blood donation camp was also held at Kekrupat as part of the day’s programme.