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NFIW Manipur fact-finding: 1300 activists call FIR against top women leaders vindictive

By Our Representative 

As many as 1,300 women, concerned citizens and human rights organisations have said that they are "shocked" at the move by the Manipur police over "criminalisation of the National Federation of India Women (NFIW)" team, which recently released a fact-finding report on violence in the State.
A statment issued by them states, "The FIR lodged at the Imphal police station on the 8th of July, 2023, against the members of the fact-finding team -- Annie Raja, general secretary of the NFIW, and Nisha Sidhu of NFIW, as also an independent advocate who accompanied them -- shows the vindictive nature of the State and the police, who do not want the truth to be known to the world."
Asserting that "right to know is protected by our Constitutional right as enshrined in Article 19 of the Indian Constitution", and insisting that the FIR, registered on the basis of an application by one L Liben Singh under sections 121- A /124 /153 /153-A / 153-B / 499 / 504 / 505(2) / 34 of the IPC, is a violation of this "fundamental right", the statement demands "immediate closure of the FIR and initiation of action against the police who indulged in this malicious act of registering FIR against the fact-finding team."
The statement says, "It is important to note that this was the first citizens fact-finding team, which was an all-women’s team, to Manipur. They went to hear the distress of women and report objectively their stories of violence, loss, displacement, deaths."
It adds, "This effort is being criminalised via the allegation of the complainant that they have hurt the sentiments of the Meira Paibi women and defamed the State government by calling the violence “state sponsored violence”. 
All that the report insists is to build peace building measures between the two communities, including disarming population
The signatories state, "We defend the right of the NFIW team in conducting this fact-finding report, which included a process of hearing individual testimonies of the affected people, in Delhi as well as in Manipur, by visiting the homes of the affected and through visiting the privately run relief camps (no camps are being run by the Government, the government is only providing rice and pulse) and meeting the district collector and others."
The statement underlines, "NFIW team’s conclusion is not misplaced that the violence and loss of lives show the failure of due diligence by the state. The violence which has continued for over two months has reportedly resulted in the deaths of more than 150 people from both Kuki Zo and the Meitei communities, destroyed approximately 300 churches and displaced more than 70,000 people who are now forced to live in camps and seek shelter with relatives in Manipur and outside the state."
Supporting the NFIW team demand for the resignation of the Chief Minister for "this gross failure to protect lives", the signatories say, all that the report insists is to build "peace building measures between the two communities, ...including disarming the population, establishment of proper relief camps and rehabilitation of those displaced to ensure justice, peace and safeguarding of Constitutional rights."
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Click here for signatories

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