Rally cries for protecting child’s rightsImphal, January 23: After a public meeting held at Hapta Kangjeibung in protest against denial of due rights to the children of Manipur as a fallout of the atrocities being committed by the security forces under the shadow of AFSPA for the last many years, child rights activists and concerned citizens from all the districts
of the State took out a rally here today.Representatives of the NGOs based outside Manipur also participated in the public meeting as well as the rally organised under the aegis of Manipur Alliance for Child Rights. Rally staged to protect child’s rights in the backdrop of AFSPA at Imphal. Flagged off by Chairperson of Manipur Human Rights Commission WA Shishak from Hapta Kangjeibung, the rally passed through New Checkon, Nongmeibung and Andro Parking before converging again at the starting point.
During the rally, the participants shouted slogans for removal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act and protection of the rights of the children. They also carried placards with slogans like ‘Say no to guns’, ‘Protect child’s rights’, ‘We want peace’, ‘Ensure and secure the future of children’, ‘Protect innocent civilians’, ‘Review AFSPA’, ‘Save women and child’, ‘Stop gun culture in Manipur’, ‘Enforce humanitarian law in conflict area as in Manipur’, ‘Protect Manipur from lawlessness’, ‘Save Manipur’s society’, etc.After the rally, a memorandum detailing three demands based on the resolutions adopted during the meeting was also submitted to the CM in charge.The meeting proceeded with Chairman of MHRC WA Shishak taking the chair as chief guest and president of NAFRE Peoples’ Movement Udauy Singh as functional president.Secretary of Centre for Social Development U Nobokishore; convenor of Voice for Child Rights, Orissa Abul Kalam Azad; Telotama Das of NAFRE Peoples Movement, NEC; Convenor of CREJ, Jharkhand Kumar Chand Madi; Rajeev Runjen of Bihar Lok Adhikar Manch; advisor of All Manipur United Clubs’ Organisation Dr Dhanabir Laishram; president of All Manipur Students’ Union Khamba Laishram; convenor of Manipur Alliance for Child Rights Montu Ahanthem; president of Kuki Mothers’ Association Rose Mangsi; executive director of Human Rights Alert Loitongbam Babloo; editor of Aza, local news paper in Tangkhul dialect Valley Rose; president of Universal Mothers’ Organisation Sorojini; president of United Manipuri Muslim Development Organisation Sitara Begum; secretary of Nupi Samaj Ramani and Irom Singhajit, elder brother of Irom Chanu Sharmila were also presented at the occasion as guests of honour.Giving the key note address, Montu Ahanthem observed although all the people in Manipur are suffering from the impact of AFSPA either directly or indirectly, children are the most vulnerable and worst sufferers.Moreover, unlike adult members of the society, children do not have no power and the platform to raise their voice nor the existing laws could protect them from such injustice.On one hand, the number of destitute children whose mothers or fathers have been killed by the security forces with immunity granted under AFSPA has been on the rise while on the other hand there are many children who have either fallen victims or maimed for life.So removal of AFSPA is essential to ensure a secure environment for the children to grow and nurture their dreams.Based on the resolutions adopted during the meeting, a three-demand memorandum was forwarded to the Chief Minister after the rally.The demands include immediate withdrawal of AFSPA from Manipur, taking up necessary measures for initiative peace talks with the various armed organisations operating in the State and setting up a Children’s Commission to look after the problems of the young citizens of the State.