Protest self-immolation in Manipur
A thirty two-year-old youth Pebam Chittaranjan Mangang, opened yet another new chapter in the ongoing public agitation demanding total lifting of the contentious Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, from the state by burning himself to death.
Chittaranjan, who hails from Kwakeithel Takhel Leikai, Imphal west residing presently at the house of his uncle at Khaidem, Thiyam Leikai, Bishenpur died today after a self immolation bid at Bishenpur bazar on August 15, the deadline set by the public for complete removal of the Act from the state. "My treasured life has been sacrificed today as a human torch for the atrocities committed against the Manipuri people by the Armed Forces", Chittaranjan said in a four page hand written suicide note. He mentioned the excesses committed at Sadar hills, the 13 killings during the Yaoshang festivities, and demanded justice for the custodial killings of pastor Jamkholet Khongsai and Thangjam Manorama. Further, the state government and the Centre should be held responsible for his death, he wrote. Chittaranjan also wrote the slogans, "Go Back Indian Army, Remove Black Law From North East, Indian Democracy Is For Mouth Only Not For Practice, Unity Is Our Strength, Struggle Unitedly, Not Separately, Punish The Culprit of Pastor Jamkholet Khongsai & Miss Th Manorama Chanu."
The state administration though aware of such a threat of suicide, made little preparation to stop the act as only four to five unarmed home guard personnel were detailed at the spot. It may be noted that Chittaranjan, son of P Kunjo alias Subol, retired subedar of Manipur Rifles was an advisor of the MSF, Bishenpur district committee, assistant organisation and public relation secretary, UCOBID and co-ordinator in-charge of AMSU, MSF and DESAM, BDC. The victim sustained 85 per cent burn injuries and had been hospitalised at RIMS but succumbed to his injuries this evening at around 3 at the hospital´s ICU. A case had been registered by Bishenpur and Lamphel police for suicide. People who rushed to RIMS on hearing the news of Chittaranjan´s death were barred from entry by the police.
Meanwhile, indefinite curfew was clamped in Bishenpur Municipal areas since yesterday after the self-immolation bid by Chittaranjan to check public outbursts, according to reports. The Bishenpur district police has also requested the state home department to send one company of security forces to the district immediately. The reports also stated that the existing police personnel in the district will not be able to handle the situation. Elsewhere, One Laitonjam Sanatomba, 24, son of late Gourachandbi who had threatened self immolation on August 2 demanding total lifting of AFSPA has been arrested by the police today from his residence. It may be noted that Sanatomba declared that he will commit self immolation if the state government failed to give a firm commitment for total lifting of the Act from the state by August 15.