People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 42

October 20, 2013







People Facing Secessionist Threats, Ordeals


                                                          Kamal Chowdhury


IF only anybody visits Imphal, the capital town of Manipur, a state  of north-east India, (s)he will find all the government offices and establishments, shops, markets and other commercial activities, vehicular traffic --- everything coming to a close by 5.30 to 6.30 pm. In fact, it is like an undeclared curfew situation in Imphal and other towns of the state from 6 pm to 6 am. This is not by any government order, but because of the fear from the extremists and terrorists that normal life comes to standstill every evening. In Manipur, one of the culturally advanced states in the country, people is today ruled, practically, by the secessionist armed extremists.


The people of Manipur are thus facing this ordeal of daily twelve hours long closure of all outdoor activities since the early nineties of the last century. So much so that it is very difficult to hospitalise even an ailing person, including pregnant women, after the evening falls. Nobody would find any medicine because all pharmacies too get closed every evening.




According to police records, there are as many as 38 extremist outfits operating in Manipur, including 14 belonging to the Meitei community. Killing or injuring people, extortion of huge money, frequently issuing calls of bandhs and hartals are now a regular feature in the state. It is now the general rule in the state that many citizens regularly give a certain percentage of money as monthly subscription to the extremist groups. These include the state and central government employees and officers including police officers, shopkeepers, contractors, private companies, lawyers, doctors, teachers, etc. Extremist groups also keep a tab on how many patients a doctor treats in a month, and they collect from her or him a part of the fees. Even donations made to the chief minister’s relief fund are ‘taxed’ by the extremist groups.


For the extremist groups, elections to the state assembly and parliament too are sources of earning huge money. Over the years these groups have got emboldened because of the reality, which is now an open secret, that the Congress party and some other political parties use extremist groups to win the elections in exchange for huge funds. Not only that, some extremist groups also lend money to political parties and charge high rates of interest.


Some local contractors also use the armed of extremist groups cadres to capture contract works. They have been used as hired killers as well. In the month of September, cadres of one extremist group hurled grenades upon a labour shed in Imphal and killed nine innocent workers who were brought from outside the state by a big construction company. According to some knowledgeable people, the intention behind this killing of labourers was to drive out the company from the state so that a local contractor could get the job. In the first week of October, a similar type of grenade attack was launched upon a railway construction company’s labour shed near Jiribam.




Recently, almost all the extremist groups belonging to the Meitei community raised the demand of re-imposition of inner line permit system for both Indians and foreigners. As per their diktat, the ruling Congress party got a resolution passed in the state assembly, urging upon the central government to reintroduce the inner line permit system. In the mid-nineties, one may note, the government of India had withdrawn the inner line permit system (ILPS) from Tripura, Meghalaya and Manipur. The fresh demand of Meitei extremist groups for reintroduction of the ILPS is actually directed against the poor labourers who have come from Bihar and UP and are engaged mainly in headload carrying and other such manual jobs. Raising of the demand of reintroduction of ILPS and grenade attacks in the labour sheds of migrant workers have created severe panic amongst them and the poor labourers started leaving Manipur.


Undeclared press censorship has also been imposed all over the state. The rule is that all the press releases issued by the so called underground groups are published in the local dailies in prominent places. Newspapers are also barred from publishing news which may go against the underground groups. Frequently, these underground groups also impose a ban on publishing, distributing and selling of newspapers. The state government’s role is just of an onlooker.


Kidnapping of teenaged boys and girls is a regular feature in the state. Various underground groups kidnap students, both male and female, while they go to or return from schools or colleges. These groups forcibly enrol these boys and girls as new recruits and train them in arms and explosives in their hideout across the international border. As nobody is willing to join these underground groups, the latter are nowadays using the method of kidnapping to recruit new cadres. Underground groups have also directed all political parties not to float any student organisation in the state. Many people have sent their children to other states of the country for studies and also to find jobs --- just to save them from the clutches of underground elements.


Due to continuous extremist activities in the state, citizens cannot freely exercise their democratic rights. As democratic institutions cannot function properly, corruption has engulfed the state at all levels. Prices of essential commodities are much higher in comparison to other north-eastern states. Frequent road blockades also create untold miseries for the common people of Manipur.




Manipur, once a peaceful state, became a state run by terrorist underground groups gradually as the so called ‘Drive Out Foreigners’ movement started in most of the states of the north-east in 1979, as designed by the notorious American imperialist intelligence agency CIA. To get the north-eastern India ceded from the Indian Union, the CIA started executing ‘Operation Brahmaputra’ in these states by raising the ‘Drive Out Foreigners’ slogan and starting a movement. This did attract a section of the students and youth who were frustrated due to extreme poverty and unemployment following the continuous neglect by the successive central governments run by the Congress party.


The CIA, along with Pakistani intelligence agency ISI, floated many terrorist outfits in different states of the north-east and imparted them arms and explosive training by using Bangladesh as their safe hideout. As dictated by CIA-ISI Meitei, Kuki and Naga underground groups raised the demand of a ‘Free State’ of Manipur. Of late, underground groups have shifted some of their base camps from Bangladesh to Myanmar. They are still getting all-out support from the CIA and ISI.


On the other hand, the Congress party ruling at the centre and in the state is not fighting extremism sincerely; rather it has been taking their help to win elections. In the absence of a serious political initiative by the central and state governments to bring the misguided youth back to the democratic process, extremist activities are continuing unabated in the state of Manipur, which is only prolonging the ordeals the people of the state are facing.