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NNWN / Guwahati, New Delhi, 2015-09-09

Even as tribal students associations of Assam’s Kabri Anglong district demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention in the prevailing situation in Manipur, Amnesty International India has sought the Manipur government to probe into allegations of human rights in the state.

The students bodies said that three controversial bills being passed in the Manipur assembly were anti tribals, the international group demanded the state government probe into abuses related to protests in the state in the past few months, including the excessive use of police force. The Karbi Students`Association, the Rengma Naga Students` Union, the Hmar Students` Union, the Kuki Students` Union, the Students` and Youth Council, and the Khasi Students` Union have appealed to the prime minister to look into the problems faced by their fellow tribal indigenous people in Manipur.

At least nine people were  killed and 20 seriously injured after violence  erupted last week following the Manipur government`s adoption of three landmark bills - Protection of Manipur People Bill 2015, Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Bill 2015, and Manipur Shops and Establishment Bill 2015.The bills were unanimously passed in the assembly on August 31 after the ruling Congress signed an agreement with the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) on August 25 to enact three laws to protect the interests of the indigenous people. The JCILPS had been spearheading a month-long agitation, demanding an inner line permit system in the state similar to ones in force in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland. Meanwhile, Amnesty international india  Executive Director  Aakar Patel said, “Authorities in Manipur must demonstrate their commitment to human rights and the rule of law. They must ensure that they respect the right to freedom of expression and peaceful protest while maintaining public order and safety.”  “Incidents of violence and vandalism by protestors also need to be effectively investigated, and those suspected of human rights abuses brought to trial.”“Excessive police force cannot be an answer to violent protests. The police must distinguish between persons engaging in violence and peaceful demonstrators or bystanders. Firearms should be used only as a last resort when less extreme means have failed, and intentional lethal force should be used only when strictly unavoidable to protect life,” said Aakar Patel.“The government must also engage with civil society groups more actively to create a space for dialogue”, he added.