Manipur Crisis – Updates from Aboriginal Activist Damon Corrie

Earlier this year through diligent research from Damon Corrie this Web-Magazine showed that India while objecting to the rule of Britain, itself imposed property liens on Manipur… To the point where one of their natives has now been detained simply for seeking to show they’re their own sovereign state. The following updates on this tragedy are courtesy Damon, so Mr Corrie if you please??

Demand for unconditional release of Jiten Yumna

The North East Peoples Initiatives has strongly condemned the arrest of Jiten Yumna, an environmental activist and office bearers of All Manipur United Clubs Organisation (AMUCO) on September 14, 2009 in Imphal. Dr. Sukhendu Debbarma, Convener in a press note lamented that crack down on human rights, peace and environmental activist in Manipur has come at a time when the government has utterly failed to contain its trigger-happy police and the security forces. The atmosphere of lawlessness of the police and the security forces took a worse turn with the killing of Chungkham Sanjit in an open market area of Imphal town on July 23 by the Manipur Police Commandos.

The release also stated that the shoot out also led to the killing of a passer-by, Rubina Devi. The Manipur government, instead of acting against its Commandos in an urgent manner, has tried to stifle voices of protests against the killing of Sanjit. Earlier, in August, five functionaries of Apunba Lup, the umbrella Forum of civil society organizations in Manipur were arrested under National Security Act by the Manipur government.

The encounter killing of Sanjit and the attempts of the Manipur government to silence voices of protests against the lawlessness of its police is highly deplorable. The state, increasingly, seems to be sliding into a lawlessness that benefits the police and the ruling elites in the state while putting ordinary people to untold misery, the Convener added.

Therefore, North East Peoples Initiatives has demanded immediate and unconditional release of Jiten and all the office bearers of AMUCO and an urgent an impartial inquiry into all other similar arrests and encounter killings in Manipur. The North East Peoples Initiatives also demand an immediate disbanding of the Manipur Police Commandos who have been given impunity in all the crimes they have committed against the people of Manipur.

Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which is the fountain head of the culture of impunity among the police and the security forces in the North-east, should be repealed immediately, the North East Peoples Initiatives further added.

But it is far more serious than this, human rights abuse to the extreme has been instituted according to Damon’s sources;-

Those of you who have the means to pressure the Government of India and her federal unit Manipur, kindly make efforts to highlight the case of Jiten Yumnam and his colleagues who have been imprisoned since September 14 last and tortured.

This is getting too far. I have a copy of a medical report confirming the torture of Jiten Yumna. Mr. Ram, another activist had forwarded this to a network after the report was received by Jiten’s wife from the “JN Hospital“, a major hospital in Imphal.

I am attaching the same. Some of you have already done much to spread the news about this sad development and intiated action too in your own capacities.

We are quite helpless as neighouring Naga acivists who operate in Manipur have also been advised to avoid emerging in the public. The nasty way in which the army and paramilitary forces deal with us is a thing that worries us.

This situation is not confined to Imphal alone. It is eveywhere in the North East of India.

Here is that copy of the medical report referred to in the note;-

The latest development has caused Industrial Action, since Jiten may not be seen again for some time;-

> A 60 hour general strike (starting midnight September 18 to 6 p.m. September 21) has been called off by the Working Committee of Apunba Lup to enable commemoration of major festivals of Meiteis and Muslims in Manipur.
> According to my sources, some of the arrested leaders have already been booked under National Security Act (NSA)while they fear Jiten Yumna could also be hauled in by this notorious Indian Legislation.
> NSA will mean at least a year in prison. There is opportunity to challenge the order in the Court but takes a long time. Jiten is going to miss a number of important engagements at home and abroad if there is a detension under NSA. He is already a confirmed victim of torture. We are all going to affected because we will find ONE VOICE LESSER in places which matter.
> Jiten and I are also part of the Asia Pacific Indigenous Youth Network as Co-ordinating Committee members and have been preparing to organise a Climate Change meeting for Indigenous Youth in October-November this year. We are extremely distressed because of what the State has done to our friends.
> Do continue to work towards putting pressure on the Government of India.

Despite protests, Jiten continues to be incarcerated, which is sad considering one of humanity’s greatest Freedom Fighters and Philosophers emerged from what has now reverted to the very tyranny it sought to remove;-

Today I received information that four out of eight detainees had been released. Unfortunately our friend Jiten continues to be in jail.

Some legal expert said he and the others may have been booked under the notorious National Security Act (NSA) and may be 3-4 months before a challange can be put up at the Guwahati High Court. The NSA can put a man behind bars for a year and can be extended to two years.

I know some of you have already worked and facilitated statements condemning the arrests. Please continue to put in your efforts to secure the release of these men.

Knowing Jiten for so many years, I can gauge the extent to which the Indian State is insecure because of the “exposures” and the wilful destruction of our very ability to survive as a peoples.

The land of Mahatma Gandhi is but a farce to us. India rules by fear, using peoples against peoples, giving guns to one group and providing logistical support to another.

One Response

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  1. I was in Guyana when I received the tip-off from a mutual friend of Jitten and myself about his arrest, since I was only in Georgetown for a few hours that day with about 30 minutes internet time – all I could do was alert the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues head and our Tribal Link head Mrs. Pamela Kraft – whilst copying to Ian Bourne – before I had to head back into the jungle.

    The news was a severe blow to me, Jitten was my roommate for almost one month in New York earlier this year – as we are both registered delegates at the UNPFII, Jitten read statements on 2 or 3 occasions and officials of the Indian state were noting all he had to say every time.

    We spoke at length every night about the struggle for freedom the Meitei and Naga peoples face under a brutal Indian military occupation, but Jitten was not a member of any armed group, he had just married and was a new father, and so he preferred to use the pen to fight the just fight.
    I remarked to him once "Brother – if they arrest, torture and kill the peaceful activists the same as they do the freedom fighters – one might as well join the armed resistance and at least be afforded the opportunity to retaliate!"…Jitten just laughed, I guess we never expected he would become a victim too.

    All I can do – being thousands of miles away – is to pray for his safety and speedy release, and continue to seek out souls like Ian Bourne – who are willing to help me alert the wider world as to the dirty secret war the government of India wages on once sovereign peoples it has no right whatsoever to subjugate….but one day India will get it's comeuppance…Rome ruled for almost a thousand years – yet in the end it went down in flames to utter ruin – never to rise again, sic semper tyranis (so end all tyrants)!


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