‘High Court accepts PIL to protect village defence volunteers’

Imphal: High Court of Manipur has accepted a PIL lodged to safeguard of the village defence volunteers who took up arms to defend from Kuki militants’ attack.

Political analyst, Chongthem Bijoy said this on Wednesday during a press conference at his Imphal residence.

Bijoy was chief spokesperson of BJP Manipur Pradesh.

The PIL was lodged by two advocates Keisham Kishan Singh and N. Tejpriya against the Union of India through ministry of Home Affairs.

Village defence volunteers and youths residing in the peripheral areas of Manipur took up arms to protect themselves from attacks as the state and central forces failed to protect the villagers.

They are not anti-social, criminal or insurgents. The government should acknowledge the volunteers and provide a blanket from arresting them, Bijoy said.

During the initial period of the Manipur crisis, state and central forces were unable to protect the villagers residing in the peripheral areas of Manipur. As the villagers residing in the peripheral have no choice to defend their lives and their property, they had to snatch arms and weapons from several police stations. Since then village defence volunteers have been defending themselves from the sporadic attacks of Kuki militants at the foot-hills and peripheral areas, he remarked.

He said the village volunteers are defending Manipur, which is a part of India, against external aggression. However. They are threatened that they might be arrested after the election if they do not cast for a particular candidate.

To protect the territorial boundary of Manipur many village defence volunteers including women have sacrificed their lives and the state government has been remaining silent to end the crisis, he added.

The government should not arrest any village volunteers and post facto FIRs cannot be lodged against any village defence volunteers, because they are using their constitutional rights, ‘Right to Defend and Right to Life’, he said.

Bijoy said at the end of the crisis the government should rehabilitate the village defence volunteers, and absorb them in the state or central force. The government should provide a huge financial package for the displaced people and village defence volunteers who have wasted over 11 months defending India from external aggression, he added.

He appeals the High Court to allow the media for live coverage on the particular hearing so that people across the state can be aware of the development taken to safeguard the village defence volunteers.

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