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CPI MP Shri Binoy Viswam writes to the CM of Manipur regarding the suppression of democratic rights

Respected Shri N. Biren Singh ji, I write this letter to express my serious concern over the suppression of democratic rights and practices in the state of Manipur under your government. Manipur is grappling with violence for over two months now and the state-machinery is failing in upholding law-and-order in the state. Disturbing developments from Manipur have perturbed people all over the country and many sections have voiced their concerns while aspiring for peace and normalcy to prevail in the state. It extremely unfortunate that such democratic voices

are being suppressed by the government and even those offering assistance in peace- building are being targeted.

People of the country naturally feel disturbed looking at the loss of lives, property and the fractures in society that have surfaced violently over the past few months. Democratically minded people also wish to share the sufferings of the people of Manipur and contribute to restoration of normalcy in Manipur. Internet is unavailable for months and I have seen the pain of Manipuri people, as member of a joint CPI & CPI(M) delegation comprising of five Members of Parliament. Similarly, a fact-finding committee of the National Federation of Indian Women visited Manipur and interacted with victims of violence, displacement and arson. The delegation comprising of NFIW General Secretary Annie Raja, Nisha Sidhu and Adv. Deeksha Dwivedi also visited relief camps and made suggestions about improving the conditions of people who are staying there, especially women, children and the elderly. Through a grossly undemocratic act, members of the delegation were charged with

sedition, provocation with intent to cause riot, assertions prejudicial to national- integration and promoting enmity between different groups at Imphal police station. This

FIR is nothing but an attempt at suppressing democratic voices and curtailing criticism. Continuation of violence in the state is an indictment of the failure of state-government in maintaining harmony, and the FIR registered against NFIW activists is an undemocratic attempt to intimidate voices critical of the government over its handling of the crisis. Peace will be restored by taking all stakeholders in confidence, not through a crackdown on democratic voices. Therefore, I urge you to immediately rescind the fabricated charges against NFIW activists and stop suppression of democratic norms in Manipur.

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