Natl Convention on ‘abduction’ of RK Meghen held
Imphal, November 04: A one-day National Convention on ‘Legal and Political Implications of the Abduction of R.K Sanayaima alias RK Meghen” was organized today in Imphal jointly by Centre for Organization Research and Education (CORE), Human Rights Alert (HRA), Human Rights Initiative (HRI) and Threatened Indigenous Peoples’ Society (TIPS).
United National Liberation Front (UNLF) chairman R.K Meghen alias Sanayaima was reportedly arrested jointly by Bangladesh and Indian intelligence personnel in Dhaka on September 29 but till date the whereabouts of the underground leader is not known.
Regarding today’s programme,the main objective was to draw the attention of international communities, both government and non government, in petitioning New Delhi and Dhaka on honouring the provisions of international humanitarian law, international human rights law and domestic legislation in dealing with cases of rights abuse.
In a keynote address, the speakers delineated the “blatant violation of universal human rights” by India and Bangladesh in dealing with Sanayaima aka RK Meghen and the consequent denial and silence of his whereabouts. Self determination is everyone’s right in a democracy and if RK Meghen is arrested by government authority, he ought to be produced before the court of law within a reasonable time after his reported arrest.
Henry, Director of Peoples Words, Tamil Nadu and Executive member of Asian Forum for Human Rights said that even though in Manipur an issue of insider (Manipuri) and outsider (Mayang/mainland Indians) persists, there is considerable support generated amongst the Mayangs on the issue of Manipur and its peoples’ struggle against the draconian AFSPA 1958 and that the struggle will continue as long as the spirit of Sharmila lives on.
He went on to say that the right to self determination is provided by the condition of international human rights despite the fact that the Indian Government acts oblivious of such provisions. Not only in Manipur but people from different parts of the world fight for the right to self determination which is a fundamental right in a democracy. Sanayaima is a fighter for the cause of Manipur. He is a human rights defender and a revolutionary leader who has sacrificed to save Manipur from the clutches of Indian military law of AFSPA 1958.
Henry said he must be saved from arbitrary and systematic disappearance because the Indian government is signatory to the International Convention of Enforced Disappearance. Henry sounded that, National Human Rights Commission must initiate the process of finding the whereabouts of Sanayaima.
He also appealed to the Home Minister P.Chidambaram, Defence minister AK Anthony, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to repeal AFSPA. In November 26 the core group of international human rights will convene a meeting wherein the issue of Manipur will be raised and a message to this effect will be sent out, he assured.
Kaka D Iralu, an activist from Nagaland ruing the discrimination against the North East people said, “We are also human beings and citizens of India and we must have equal rights as the rest of the country. Why are we treated as being wild, we also have right to live as dignified human beings.”
He called on the people of Manipur in good faith saying, “We must fight jointly and in one voice against the Act. We are neighbors and can not afford to remain indifferent to each others’ needs because our issues are similar in nature which is a fight to repeal AFSPA and a right to self determination.”
Speaking on the issue of the enforced disappearance of Sanayaima, Dr Bimol Akoijam from Jawaharlal Nehru University stressed on two points. That Indian Government must clarify to the people of Manipur if it treats RK Sanayaima as a citizen of India . The people of Manipur must raise its voice in support of the right to self determination and for Sanayaima, and against the culture of enforced disappearance practiced so often by the state’s agencies. We must not remain silent spectators, rather we must raise our voice against injustice.
Babloo Loitangbam of Human Rights Alert said that the disappearance of RK Meghen is not just a legal issue but a political one as well. This is the kind of issue which might impress us to believe what the political class in Delhi thinks of Manipur and will decide the future relations between Manipur and India .
Kh Mani, an advocate, said that the issue of Sanayaima has a hue of colonial democracy which has generated a panic situation. In such a situation, the government of India must initiate a political dialogue with UNLF without any preconditions.