A year later, Churachandpur’s dead remain in a morgue, awaiting justice

By Amit Kumar, TwoCircles.net

Churachandpur/Delhi: Can the mood of a district of Manipur be replicated in the capital of the country? Maybe not, especially given the fact that Churachandpur-located at a distance of around 3,000 kms from Delhi-barely finds any mention in national politics. But for a few hundred, gathered at the ever-crowded Jantar Mantar, Wednesday evening was a time to show, and express, their solidarity to the nine people who were killed in police firing exactly a year ago, during the anti-tribal stir that rocked Manipur.

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Women's rally churachandpur
Women’s rally churachandpur

With placards, posters, and candles, the protesters, brought together by Manipur Tribal Forum-Delhi, remembered the innocents who lost their lives on that fateful day, as they protested against what they called ‘anti-tribal’ bills. The police opened fire without warning, and the youngest of the martyrs was only 10 years old. As candles were lit, and a few teared up, the MTF reiterated the demands that the Hill districts of Manipur have been making ever since the three controversial bills were passed in the Manipur Assembly.

“The nine tribal martyrs who lost their lives fighting against the anti-tribal bills are still lying unburied, awaiting justice. The State Government has not allowed even the filing of FIR despite orders from the High Court. MTFD appeals to the conscience of the Government of India and in order to give justice to the tribal martyrs, immediately accede to the long-standing demand of extension of Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India in the Hill Districts of Outer Manipur,” the MTFD said.

churachandpur college

More importantly, in a demand that is likely to only increase CM Ibobi Singh’s headache, the MTFD urged the Indian government to seriously consider the aspirations of the Hill districts seeking total separation from the state of Manipur. “The conduct of the Manipur Government as well as the valley people has, time and again, proven that the hill and the valley people cannot coexist under one administrative unit. Therefore, total separation of hill and valley people/areas is the only lasting and permanent solution to the problem of hill-valley divides,” the MTFD said.


In Churachandpur, the mood was slightly different: the town of Lamka, the district headquarters of Churachandpur, barely goes through a day without remembering the nine dead. Posters calling for action against police, and remembering the nine dead, dot the town’s walls, including the wall of the police station. According to Rose Ngaihte, a teacher residing in Churachandpur, the protests are a proof that the locals are not in any mood to forgive the state government or even their own tribal leaders who let them down. “More than 3,000 people gathered in Churachandpur College to mark a year of the police firings, and it is clear that although there has been little progress when it comes to ensuring justice in the matter, we are not going to bow down,” she told Twocircles.net.


The three Bills: The Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (Seventh) Amendment Bill 2015 (MLRLR Bill 2015), The Protection of Manipur People Bill, 2015 and The Manipur Shops and Establishments Act (Second) Amendment Bill 2015, are being presented by the Government of Manipur as a ‘solution’ to long pending demand for implementation of Inner Line Permit system by the Meitei organisations to protect them from the high rate of influx of outsiders.


The Inner Line Permit is a special permit required to enter certain restricted areas in the country, and currently such a system exists in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram. The Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) has been spearheading the movement for legislation to “protect the indigenous population from migrants.”

But in Churachanpur, Tamenglong, Senapati, Chandel and Ukhrul–the five hill districts of Manipur–there has been a strong movement against the three bills, spearheaded by Joint Action Committee against Anti-Tribal Bills.