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By EMN Updated: May 24, 2016 9:16 pm

DIMAPUR, MAY 23 : THE All Naga Students’ Association Manipur (ANSAM) said it has been closely following the arbitrary impounding case of the passports of Naga Human Rights Activists Luingam Luithui and Peingamla Luithui which virtually exiled them since 1995. 
“We are aware that their petition continues to be heard and another important hearing is coming up on 25th May 2016, which we believe will be another step towards justice for them.” ANSAM President Seth Shatsang and General Secretary Alexander Hutten in a press note, recalled that Luithui has been one of the most inspiring figures of time in mobilizing organized struggle against militarization when state repression was brutal and heavy; and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in mainland India were still largely ignorant of state repression taking place in Independent India. 
“It was only the emergency period in India that revealed the experiences of state repression in many parts of India for the first time. Luingam Luithui, as a student activist, actively worked side by side with civil rights activists from mainland India for the rights of ordinary citizens during this period. Soon, for the first time, it also drew the attention of the mainland CSOs to the gross violation of human rights taking place in Naga areas.”

“Eventually, the ground was prepared and the Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) was formed in 1978 which anchored the civil rights movement in the Naga areas. This was the precursor to several path-breaking initiatives concerning the social and political movement of the Nagas in which Luithui was instrumental. He and his colleagues took several notable cases of military excesses to the Court of India for the first time making the “sovereign” act of the Indian army judiciable.”
“His commitment to human rights and justice extended beyond his own people. He played a crucial role in helping Late Laldenga, the leader of the Mizo National Front, and his family after he was arrested and detained on 6th July while in Delhi for peace talks with the Government of India (GOI) in 1979, including arranging his lawyer Swaraj Kaushal.” It said,” Starting civil society initiatives for Naga cause in India led to exploring the possibility of political solutions to the Indo-Naga issue instead of viewing the conflict as simply a ‘law and order’ problem.”
“Before he was exiled by the Indian state, he took the initiative of bringing into public discussions the issue of self-determination as basic human rights of all peoples and societies for a dignified existence. It was an effort to awake the conscience not just among the Nagas but also among others, including the Indian army and other military setup, to respect and accept self-determination as a Universal Rights and not to treat it as an Anti-National.”
He also played a crucial role in the formation of several mass-based platforms at the local, regional and international levels, including the International Alliance of the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forests and Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP). One of his very significant and important contributions at the international level was the recognition and existence accorded to indigenous peoples in Asia within the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations; the UN working definitions on Indigenous Peoples did not cover them at that time.
“Luithui, who started off as a student activist has been deeply inspiring for young student activists of ANSAM. He was available in the most difficult times when no civil authorities, including the police, could do anything about the military brutalities or to even provide medical aid or food to Naga villagers. Mr. Luithui is truly a person deeply committed to Universal Human Rights and Peace and Justice for all.” Further, the ANSAM expressed surprise at the issuance of the “Look Out Circular” (LOC) against his wife Peingamla Luithui in 2015 without giving any reasons or informing them.  “The fact that they have been away in Canada for the past two decades, the LOC has no bearing and basis and only goes to show the intention of GOI to continue to victimize and tarnish their image. This is unacceptable of any responsible government.”
The ANSAM categorically stated that it was not too late for the GoI to take a more responsible approach to the case of Luithui and his wife Peingamla. “It is time that the GoI demonstrate its duty towards individuals.It is responsible for and fully restore their citizenship and their right to freedom of movement.”

By EMN Updated: May 24, 2016 9:16:17 pm