Revolution in South Asia

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Manipur: United National Liberation Front Calls for Intensified Struggle on its 45th Anniversary

Posted by Ka Frank on November 26, 2009

This statement was posted on KanglaOnline.

UNLF calls for struggle intensification

The Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL, Nov 23: The central committee of the UNLF extended its greetings to the entire people of Manipur on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of the party. The press statement also contained the party`s annual statement for the year 2009. It said the current year recorded the maximum number of killings by the government ever since the annexation of Manipur on October 15, 1949.

Central and state forces together accounted for 700 innocent people killed during year alone it said.  “They have humiliated even media persons in trying to intimidate them against reporting the truth about the killings of innocent peoples thus infringing upon the `freedom of the Press`.” the UNLF annual report said.

It also claimed that “Under the colonial captive market economy, the prices of essential commodities have touched the sky pushing the common people, numbering above 80% of the population, to extreme hardships.” This has resulted in various kinds of crimes unheard of before in Manipur, it added.  On the other hand, it said several armed groups still continue their extortion frenzy resorting to reckless bombing and random firing for non compliance. “Taking advantage of this situation, a few gangs of state police commandos are also indulging in extortionist crimes.” It said.

It admitted revolutionary parties fighting for Manipur`s independence have so far failed to fight together against India and rally the masses under a common banner. Thus the present situation has pushed Manipur into a crucial period of transition which will decide the fate of the national liberation struggle itself, it said.  Thus the future of the liberation struggle now depends on the ability or inability of the revolutionary parties to do what they should do at this crucial juncture, it said.

It said the Indian state trampled upon the fundamental collective rights of the people of Manipur way back in 1949. Today India has trampled upon all aspects of individual rights as well, including the `right to life`, the statement said.

It further said government forces commit the crime of killing innocent peoples every day. Even as the people`s movement against the July 23 Khwai Keithel killings of innocent citizens is raging everywhere, the oppressive forces still continued to commit the crime in utter contempt of the voice of the people, it said.

“Maipuris fight Manipuris”

It said normally, the ugly crime of killing innocent peoples was carried out by Central forces. Now this dirty work has been passed on to police commandos under the supervision of the Indian army, it added.

The Indian government has realised invaluable strategy of pitching local forces against local dissent. The objective of this policy is to make `Manipuris fight Manipuris` so as to blur the national contradiction between Manipur and India which in turn would help consolidate their colonial rule in Manipur, it claimed.

“The puppet state government of Manipur led by Ibobi is implementing the Indian policy in letter and spirit by killing scores of hundreds of his own tribe. Now Ibobi`s State Force, not covered by AFSPA`s immunity, are doing the dirty job previously done by forces covered by the AFSPA”, it said.  [The AFSPA is the Armed Forces Special Protection Act of 1958 which has been used to suppress the national liberation movements in the Northeast and Kashmir.]

The policy makers in New Delhi think that this arrangement would keep them from blood stains thus reducing even the necessity of AFSPA, it said. “It will not be surprising, therefore, if AFSPA is ultimately withdrawn from the entire territory of Manipur” it further speculated.

However, this would not make any difference in Manipur`s status under India and the extreme sufferings of its people, it said. Therefore, notwithstanding AFSPA is repealed or withdrawn or remains, “we cannot but sustain our struggle until Indian colonial rule is overthrown”, it said.

It said the real enemy of the people`s movement against the puppet state government led by Ibobi for killing innocent peoples is Indian colonial rule pulling the strings from New Delhi, it said.  “The responsibility for the killing of 700 innocent peoples lies with Ibobi, the head of the puppet state government and his DGP. Therefore, in order to mete out appropriate punishment to them our own People`s Court should take up criminal proceedings against them along with those criminal commandos who actually carried out the killings” it said.

If this not done, it said instituting a `Commission of Inquiry` and conducting trial within the corrupt Indian legal system, which has never delivered to their own peoples, will tantamount to providing a `legal` escape door to the actual culprits and their mentors, it said. “So as to avoid fratricidal killings among us, we appeal to our brothers in the state force to stop killing innocent public” it appealed.

If the killings continue, the UNLF will be compelled to take appropriate action against such criminals in the state force who are guilty of committing homicide, it warned. “Manipur is one of the very few countries still waging a bloody liberation struggle even in this first decade of the 21st century,” it said.

The country suppressing the sovereign independence of small neighbouring countries using massive military force and committing gross human rights violations is India, it said.  The extreme form of state terrorism being employed by the Indian state in suppressing the popular movements of Manipur and other states of the region for their legitimate rights has made India the world`s No.1 Terrorist State, it claimed.

“The unrelenting movement of our people against this terrorist state in the garb of democracy is now known the world over, and someday the world community will come out in support of the movement` it further asserted adding the UNLF salutes the people for the valiant struggle for their `right to life`.

The essence of a legitimate movement of a group of people, of a class, of a society, of a nation, or, a country is the spirit of oneness against violations of their human rights and other interests, it said.  From this standpoint, the entire people of Manipur have become a part of the movement now waging war against the inhuman killings and torture of Indian colonial rule, it said.

“Because, not a single individual of Manipur does not endorse such killings, rather they are extremely agitated, angered and want revenge. Thus the bulk of the people of Manipur now stand against Indian colonial rule and want to be free from colonial bondage` it claimed.

“However, the popular sentiment that began to erupt in 2004 against the `divide and rule` policies and atrocities of Indian colonial rule is yet to take the character of an organised People`s Movement. The main reason for this weakness is the lack of principled unity among our civil society organisations and their inability to consolidate the people. Another basic weakness is the lack of sufficient leaders who are competent, courageous and known for integrity and personal sacrifice, and also the non participation in the movement of those considered to be competent. This lack of unity and strong collective leadership is visible in the present movement against the July 23 Khwai-Keithel killings”, the UNLF statement said.

“For example, some constituent-member organisations of the Apunba Lup are not with the Lup in the present movement; rather, they have taken a different stand on the issue. This does not go well with the common people. Apunba Lup has not informed the people how this rift came about and whether any effort to resolve the problem was initiated or not” it said.

Contradictions among student groups

“Another weakness observable is the opposite stands taken by groups of student organisations on the issue of class boycott, it said. Instead of exploring together a via media that does not weaken the movement on the one hand and does not disrupt academic activities of the students entirely, the opposing groups resorted to a verbal duel through the media” it lamented.

“This has created division not only within the student community but also among the guardians and teachers as well which ultimately weakened the strength of our society” it claimed.

“The contradiction that arose as a result of one student group taking the stand of not withdrawing the boycott without achieving some specific objectives of the movement, while another group demanding withdrawal of class boycott outright from the viewpoint of making education a `free zone` deserves a fair discussion among concerned citizens. The student groups need to understand together that among the various issues and problems confronting a society or a country at any given point of time, one of them stands out as the principal contradiction which determines the characteristics of the overall situation.

That the principal issue confronting the people of Manipur today is what is generally referred to as the `conflict situation` is agreed by one and all. That is, the Manipur-India Conflict arising from the forcible annexation of Manipur by India is the principal issue in Manipur today. As such, other secondary issues and problems cannot be treated separately or in isolation from the principal issue” it said.

“This deserves careful study by our student groups. It is a fact all the academic activities of our students today are being conducted within the environment of the `conflict situation`. Therefore, it would be unrealistic to carve out education as a `free zone` undisturbed by the consequences of the war between the two sides of the conflict.” It said.

It claimed that “because our national liberation struggle will become intensified and the Indian government will also take counter measures by deploying more military force. The Indian Air Force will be used to pour down innumerable bombs on the Manipur valley. Our universities/colleges/schools will not be discriminated as free zones. What stand our students should take if our students become victims of such bombings?” it asked.

Therefore, in the context of the existing conflict situation, `making education a free zone` has to be in relative terms, it simply cannot be treated as an absolute category, it said.  “The simple reason is that students and academic institutions are inseparable parts of the society at large. What is imperative for the student organisations is to collectively explore an arrangement whereby academic activities could be carried on within the conflict situation and at the same time take part in the struggle to save our society.

In this regard, the participation of the entire Palestinian people,  not only the old and young, men and women, boys and girls, but also small kids using catapults  in the confrontation against Israeli Army for an independent Palestine is worthy of emulation. If our people`s movement is also built up to such a dimension, no power on earth will be able to suppress it” it said.

“The Manipur-India Conflict being the principal issue should be the issue to be given top priority for resolving by the collective strength and wisdom of our entire people. But the problem is, the primary condition  internal unity of Manipur – required for the resolving the conflict is not yet complete. In the context of Manipur, the unity should be achieved at two levels, these are (i) unity of revolutionary organisations; and (ii) unity of ethnic groups. However, the need of the hour is the working unity of our revolutionary organisations. If there is unity among revolutionary organisations, significant progress towards achieving ethnic unity and resolving various other social issues could be made” it said.

The statement said that from this perspective, “the UNLF warmly welcomes the firm stand of the RPF on unity among revolutionary parties as adopted by the 2nd Congress of the party. We hope that this development will lead to reactivation of the MPLF. We also hope that PREPAK, another constituent-member of the MPLF, would resolve their internal problems at the earliest so as to take their due part in the reactivation of the MPLF.”

It further said, “the unfortunate and unprecedented incident within the fraternal KYKL resulting in the loss of precious life, including a senior officer, shocked the UNLF painfully. Whatsoever justified the reasons may be, the UNLF condemns the act of outright resort to rebellion and killings bypassing the constitutional provision for resolving internal problems. We hope that the KYKL will emerge even stronger from the temporary setback and take a major role in forging unity among revolutionary parties of Manipur and the region as well.”  It said in the present reality there is no other way but to fight together against India and this is understood by one and all. The UNLF conviction and stand on unity remains firm as ever, it said.

“The second condition, the external one, for the victory of our liberation struggle is the sharpening of India`s internal contradictions to the extent of disintegration of its strength. This will come to pass when those contradictions inherent in the formation of the Indian Union and other social contradictions sharpening to a boiling point. The UNLF expressed this possible scenario as a hypothesis several years ago. In fact, this internal phenomenon of India is coming into sharp focus,” it said. 

“Today`s India is no longer the India of Nehru and Indira Gandhi. Today`s India is competing with China on the road to become the world`s largest economy. India is also a leading country in Information Technology. In space technology, India has closed in the gap with the USA and Russia and has already entered the privilege club of nuclear powers. In missile technology, India has built Ballistic and Cruise Missiles on its own thereby perfecting the delivery system of their nuclear weapons, and the Indian Army still enjoys the status of being the third largest army in the world. All these factors have made India look powerful” it said.

“However, despite the phenomenal expansion of their economy, despite the advancement in space technology, despite having the third largest army in the world, despite having a stockpile of nuclear weapons, unmistakable symptoms of internal disintegration is emerging. During the Nehru era, the Congress Party wielded monopoly of state power throughout India. But with the decline of the Congress Party as result of fragmentation and lack of competent leadership, the monopoly of state power is no longer in their hands” it said.

“Though the Congress Party have improved their position in the last parliamentary elections and formed an alliance government in the centre, other parties have captured power in several states of India where the Congress Party has been completely isolated. This shows that with the emergence of regional power centres, New Delhi is no longer the exclusive power centre of India. This is in fact the phenomenon of disintegration of the existing structure of India which is claimed to be a federal union, but in essence a unitary structure` it said.

“As the process has already started rolling, the central government will have to concede more autonomy to the states. Even some states may like to become independent while maintaining a nominal relationship with India. In their bid to grab political power, political parties in India, particularly the Congress Party, resorted to debased horse-trading involving hundreds of crores of rupees. This political horse-trading has forfeited whatever moral authority the Central Government had in the past and now not a single party in India has the moral authority to rule India as a whole” it said.

Making common cause with the CPI (Maoist)

Giving a picture of internal dissent in India, it said “the `Naxalite Movement` that began in 1967 led by the then Communist Party of India (ML) had undergone a tortuous path of factions and groupings before reuniting ultimately as the CPI (Maoist). Now the Maoists have consolidated their mass base in seven States of mainland India which will cover about 25% of the Indian landmass. With the rapid expansion of the capitalist economy of India during the past 42 years, class contradictions have sharpened to the level of breaking out a social revolution. Thus it would not be far fetched to observe that the Maoist revolution has taken firm roots among the exploited classes of India which has grown beyond the suppressive power of the feudal-bourgeois Indian state” it said.

“The Maoist revolution being based on the exploited peasantry and the proletariat has the force of 75% of the Indian population. So when just about 35% out of the 75% join the revolution actively and spread into the urban areas, the complexion of the Indian revolution will acquire a qualitative change. And when the chronic social division of caste contradiction in Indian society is transformed into class contradiction, when all the exploited classes who have been deprived of their share of economic development join the revolution led by the CPI(Maoist), distinct conditions for the success of the Indian revolution will emerge” it said.

“Thus, the sharpening of internal contradictions weakening India`s inner strength and the emergence of the CPI (Maoist), which recognise the sovereignty of Manipur, as a powerful revolutionary force in India are favourable factors for the liberations struggles of Manipur and the entire Region as a whole” it claimed.

“Therefore, the difference in specific conditions and objectives notwithstanding, the UNLF believes that there is a common interest in the fight against the Indian state by the CPI (Maoist) and the liberation struggles of Manipur and the Region. Guided by this perspective, the UNLF shall actively pursue a policy of mutual help and support with the Indian revolution through the CPI (Maoist),” it said.

“The frictions in India-China relations coming out in the open recently are favourable situation for us. The introduction of a new system of issuing Chinese visa as a separate document, not attached to the passport which is the normal practice, to Kashmir is holding Indian passport is an unmistakable message of not recognising Kashmir as a part of India. And when a Chief Minister of `Arunachal Pradesh` applied for Chinese visa, the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi told him that he does not require a visa to visit China, implying thereby that Arunachal Pradesh is Chinese territory. The issue of territory was the main reason behind the India-China War of 1962.

Now also China has not changed its position on the issue of territory. Arunachal Pradesh was North Eastern Frontier Agency (NEFA) when its administration was looked after by India`s Ministry of External Affairs. This means that initially NEFA was not a part of the Indian Union. Thus, India-China relations could become quite strained on the issue of Arunachal Pradesh, Dalai Lama (that is Tibet) and Kashmir. The publication of an article in the website of a Chinese think tank suggesting that China, if willing, could break-up India into 20 fragments was not just a passing remark. It was actually a strategic move on the part of China” it said. 

“On the other spectrum, even if India has managed to maintain normal relations with the governments of Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan excepting, the common peoples of these countries are anti-Indian to the hilt. They are against India`s big-brother attitude and condemn the inhuman military repression of our liberation struggles. They have sympathy for our people, which is an invaluable source of encouragement. The benefit of this sympathy will become more visible in due course of time. Because, the government of a country is subject to change from time to time, but the peoples are not” it said. “Thus, the overall environment of our liberation struggle has not become, as is generally perceived, unfavourable to our liberation struggle,” it said.

“Employing mainly Manipuri people in `counter insurgency operations` and make them fight against the revolutionary parties, in short `Vietnamisation` adopted long ago by the US in Vietnam, is the current strategy of India`s colonial rule” it said.  “Other components of this strategy is the intimidation of the common people against giving help and support to the revolutionary parties, that is to isolate these parties from the people, and create a situation of bloodshed among the revolutionary parties. The present modus operandi is killing of innocent peoples in fake encounters falsely labelling them as `insurgents` or their supporters, and extorting big amount of money if the target happens to be cash rich. These acts are being carried out by some gangs of State Police Commando and IRB” it said.

“The new local agencies raised recently as part of the said Indian strategy are the SPO/VDF [Special Police Officers/Village Defence Force]. The UNLF also knows well that compelling circumstances of the colonial economy will push many unemployed youth to join the SPO/VDF just for the monthly salary of Rs. 3,000/-. This is also an aspect of the struggle for existence under colonial rule. So, it would be hasty to conclude that all the SPO/VDF personnel are anti liberation struggle.

So far as the struggle for existence goes, the UNLF would emphasise that it is a struggle to be fought collectively against the existing colonial system. The question is  are jobs like SPO/VDF created by the Indian government through the puppet state government sufficient enough to sustain our society? Where is the place for the 4 lakh above educated unemployed youth? Certainly the SPO/VDFs will get Rs.3000/- monthly, but what would be the future of their families if something happens to them? We should ponder over these questions?” it said.

The statement said “in this regard, the UNLF would appeal to our brothers in the SPO/VDF not to act as enemies against the revolutionary parties; the UNLF also will not take them as enemies. Struggle for existence is a collective struggle for all of us. We would reiterate that the liberation struggle itself is a struggle for existence of our society as a whole. To the extent the SPO/VDF personnel allow themselves to be used in `counter insurgency activities`, that much they are helping the puppet state government in killing innocent peoples. It is time to unmask the real character of the puppet Chief Minister, Ministers and high raking police officers giving orders to kill innocent peoples on the one hand and accumulating big amount of money from underhand dealings on the other.”

“A few years ago, the UNLF initiated the campaigns of `Self Reliance on Food` and empowerment of struggling housewives. Today several experts have also joined the campaign of `Self Reliance on Food` along with the huge number of farmers. Now the campaign has started giving positive results. The unprecedented campaign for empowerment of our struggling housewives has also spread to every nook and corner. It has now acquired the character of a movement for uplifting our grassroots economy. We believe that these campaigns will produce visible results in a few years time” it said.

“The UNLF declared in the beginning of 2005 that the Manipur-India Conflict should be resolved according to the wishes of our people through a plebiscite conducted by the United Nations. This is the fundamental collective right of our people recognised by International Law. The proposal for plebiscite has been endorsed by a large section of our population including many intellectuals and experts” it said.

“However, plebiscite is something India will never accept as a means for resolving the conflict. It is therefore imperative to build up a strong mass movement in order to compel India to accepting the reality and efforts will be necessary to utilise the force of the movement to bring international pressure on India. Above all, the revolutionary parties should intensify the armed struggle against India to the maximum limit” it said.

“Under the circumstances, so long as the issue of plebiscite remains unsettled, the UNLF will all the more intensify armed struggle and will make all the necessary preparations with the help and support of our people,” it said.

The statement also on the occasion of the 45th Anniversary of the UNLF, the UNLF Central Committee extended revolutionary greetings to the leadership and members of the fraternal parties of Manipur. It also extended the same wishes to the fraternal Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO), National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-K), Tripura People`s Democratic Front (TPDF) and United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA). It further greeted the Kashmiri people and wished them success in the struggle for liberation.

The UNLF Central Committee also extended warm revolutionary greetings “with Red Salute to the Central Committee, Cadres and members of the CPI(Maoist)” and wished victory to the Indian Revolution.

While extending our heartiest greetings to “international sympathisers and supporters, the UNLF Central Committee also wished its sense of indebtedness for their kind help and support, and also to all the international NGOs for standing by our people in the struggle for the right to national self determination. The UNLF and the people of Manipur will ever be grateful to all of them” it said.

“On the occasion of the 45th Anniversary of the UNLF, the UNLF Central Committee offers Revolutionary Salute to all the martyrs of our liberation struggle and also to all the common people who have been killed in relation to the struggle. We also sincerely share the sorrow and sufferings of the bereaved families” it said.

The UNLF Central Committee also extends revolutionary greetings to those who have become handicapped as result of torture by government forces and also to all the revolutionary comrades now being imprisoned in Indian jails, it said. It also thanked all well-wishers participating in today`s 45th anniversary functions of the UNLF and also to all compatriots who have stood by the UNLF all along, the statement said.

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