Sunday, June 4, 2023

Manipuri Students’ Federation renews vow to campaign against AFSPA


Manipuri Students’ Federation (MSF) on Tuesday reaffirmed its stand to continue its struggle for the repeal of the controversial Armed Forces (Special) Powers Act (AFSPA) as the students’ pressure group observed Students’ Martyrdom Day today.
MSF has been observing the day each year to remember anti-AFSPA crusader, Pebam Chittaranjan, who self-immolated to protest against the draconian law on August 15, 2004, when the country was celebrating Independence Day.
He succumbed to injury the following day (August 16) after 80 percent of his body was burnt.
Floral tributes were offered at the memorial site of the anti-AFSPA crusader in Bishnupur Bazar where he committed the self-immolation and at his birthplace in Imphal West.
Like each year, the observance of the 18th death anniversary began with a mass silent rally carried out on the streets in Imphal with hundreds of students from various schools and colleges.
The rally started from Pebam’s birthplace at Kwakeithel in Imphal West and culminated at THAU ground in Imphal where the main commemoration function was held.
Leaders of civil society organizations and human right activists, including acting chairperson of the Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC), attended the function.
MSF president Kh Bidyasagar, speaking on the occasion, renewed the student body’s vow and said that they will continue its campaigns against AFSPA until the black law is completely repealed
He asserted that even after 75 years of independence, people of state were yet to taste the true taste of independence under the AFSPA.
He said that the then Congress government had removed the Act from Imphal Municipal Corporation (IMC) areas and the BJP government had further removed the black law from nine more police stations in the valley areas.
However, the Act is still enforced in major parts of the hills and valleys of the state and people are still living with fear under the draconian law,” he said.
“The people of the state will not be able to lead a peaceful life so long as there is AFSPA,” he said.
When there was no right to live, there would be no meaning of independence, he added.
He demanded that all black laws must be repealed and there should be no oppression of any forms and imperialism should stop.
Earlier, students and people from various sections of the society turned up at the memorial site of the Pebam Chitaranjan in Imphal’s Kwakeithel and offered floral tributes.
District units of the MSF also remembered the anti-AFSPA crusader at their level.
Bishnupur district unit of MSF,with other district branch of student bodies, observed the day at the district headquarters where Pebam self-immolated at Bishnupur Bazar.


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