Imphal-based women org lambasts Govt for lack of 'free and fair' polls

Newmai News Network
Imphal | April 21

A powerful women based organisation in Imphal lambasted the government for not ensuring 'free and fair' election in the first phase of the Lok Sabha held on April 19.

A chaotic scene erupted at Khwairamband Keithel in the heart of Imphal, the main business hub of Manipur, after the police attempted to foil a press conference planned by the women vendors on Sunday.

The press conference was to be hosted by the Khwairamband Ima Keithel Coordinating Committee. However, it was stalled by a police team who arrived minutes ahead of the press conference.

The women vendors, who protested against the action of the police, had a heated argument with the police, resulting in the eruption of the chaotic scene. With reinforcement, the police took control of the situation after a brief struggle.

Talking to the reporters while the women vendors were still confronting with the police, convener Laishram Mema of Khwairamband Ima Keithel Coordinating Committee questioned if there is still democracy in Manipur.

The convener of the organisation strongly criticised the way the election for the Inner Manipur Parliamentary constituency was conducted on April 19 while asking if it was conducted in a free and fair manner. "What was the motive behind giving free hands to the armed youths to disturb the poll process and why the armed security personnel guarding the polling stations remained mute spectators?" she asked.

Mema said sensing a large-scale violence, the Committee had earlier urged the government to postpone the poll in Manipur.
However, sidelining the voices of the committee as well as other organisations, the government conducted the election forcibly as a result of which armed youths indulged in violence activities and even women were assaulted physically, she pointed out.

Alleging that the security forces guarding the polling station did nothing to stop the armed youths from booth capturing and firing inside the premises of the polling station, she questioned the purpose of the armed security personnel deployed at the polling stations.