Protesters killed by security forces in Ukhrul Town, Manipur
The rally was part of a series of simultaneous mass rallies held on the same day at the headquarters of the four Naga dominated districts of Tamenglong, Senapati, Ukhrul and Chandel. The demonstrations were organized to push the Government of India to finally come up with an acceptable settlement of the Indo-Naga issue. The rallies also protested against the militarization of Naga areas, in particular Ukhrul district, by the Manipur State government following the killing of a member and former Vice-Chairman of the Ukhrul Autonomous District Council.
A day before the rally, on August 29, the Ukhrul district administration had announced that rallies and sit-in protests were “prohibited” as a result of the imposition of Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (S.144 CrPC) since July 13.
The rally began peacefully with prayers in eight different areas of Ukhrul town followed by speeches of Naga leaders of various organisations. When a large number of people tried to reach the Tangkhul Naga Long ground, the large open space in the center of the town where people had converged to protest the militarization of Ukhrul town, and tried to overcome barricades, the State security forces responded by firing tear gas and rubber bullets, keeping up the firing for almost two hours.
According to eye witnesses one of the five passing cars of the Manipur police fired live bullets directly at the protesters without provocation. Several rally participants were wounded, two of them fatally and one remains in critical condition in a hospital in Imphal. The district administration allegedly did not provide any help to the injured.
Some teenagers were seen throwing stones after the security forces had resorted to firing and two Maruti Gypsy jeeps of the police were torched by the protesters and other vehicles were damaged.
On August 31, the Manipur State government announced that it would provide financial compensation for the victims of the police firing. Naga civil society organisations condemned the brutal response by the security forces and accused the Manipur government of communalism, and the Naga Peoples' Front (NPF) Manipur State demanded the immediate imposition of President’s Rule in Manipur since the Manipur government failed to maintain peace and order.
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