Sacrifice of a Student Leader Intensifies Agitation

Chittaranjan's ultimate sacrifice

Chittaranjan burning himself in protest against AFSPA at Bishnupur on August 15, 2004. He succumbed to injuries at RIMS Hospital on August 16, 2004. (Photo: Manipur Today)

Pebam Chittaranjan turned a new chapter in the history of the Manipuri people's struggle for right to life when he lit himself as a human torch denouncing the black laws on August 15 at Bishnupur. He succumbed to burn injuries at the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences Hospital at Imphal on August 16.

In a daring protest against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Pebam Chittaranjan Mangang, advisor of Manipuri Students Federation attempted self-immolation at Bishnupur on August 15.

He was the son of P. Subol of Kwakeithel Takhel Leikai, Imphal presently residing at Bishnupur. On the fateful day, he joined the people's protest at Bishnupur area demanding removal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act from the entire state. At about 10 a.m., Chittaranjan gave a written message to his colleagues and then sprinkled himself with inflammable materials.

After torching himself, Chittaranjan ran from the CI College complex to the office of the Deputy Commissioner, Bishnupur, about one and half kilometers from the college complex. At that instance, Manipur police stopped him and doused the fire from his body. He was rushed immediately to the Bishnupur Health Centre for first aid treatment. Later on, he succumbed to burn injuries at Regional Institute of Medical Sciences Hospital on August 16 at 3:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, 32 social organizations called an indefinite general strike in Manipur with immediate effect until last rites of Chittaranjan are performed. The organizations also demanded elected legislatures of Manipur Legislative Assembly to resign within five days for failing to fulfill the people's aspiration of removal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act from the state.

The situation remains tense in Imphal, Bishnupur and other areas as the news of Chittaranjan's death are spread. Bishnupur district remains under indefinite curfew. But large number of people came out in the street, defying the curfew to protest against the black laws.

Chittaranjan also served as coordinator and advisor for 3 student bodies — All Manipur Students' Union, Bishnupur Unit, Manipuri Students Federation, Bishnupur Unit and Democratic Students Alliance of Manipur, Bishnupur Local Council.

Free English translation of his last written message to his countrymen are reproduced here:

At the very outset I bow my head to our beloved people and to you mother Manipur who has given birth to both hills and plains, who is in iron chains and bearing the pains of separating with her children, to give me the courage to die with my head held high for your future and for the sake of generations of our people to come in the future.

This day August the 13th is the day on which our heroes were hanged to death. They fought the powerful British Empire. Although they knew they were fighting a losing battle they fought it without taking any step backward. Thus they had shown our courage and our love for motherland to the world. We still feel proud to be descendants of these heroes. But now, since we have been taken over by India, and ever since we have been put under the magic spell of the so called Indian Democracy the people have been facing different forms of oppression. Even before statehood status was given to Manipur, India had imposed black laws and killed and tortured many of our people in the hills. Now, dissatisfied with this they have again imposed the same AFSPA in 1979-80 in the valley and inaugurated another chapter of torture, killing, rape and other forms of human rights violations. Meira Paibis came to be born to fight these atrocities and human rights violations and many human rights organizations came to be born e.g. COHR, Human Rights Alert, TIPS etc. Helplessness of all these bodies in the face of gross violations of human rights exemplifies the existence of a colonial rule.

The Manipur State Human Rights Commission established by the Government of Manipur is itself a mockery now.

During the Yaoshang Festival 13 people were picked up from different places and at different times in full view of the public by the Indian army. But they were all killed given a false pretext of encounter. This is the highest stage of state sponsored terrorism and it has sent a shock wave throughout Manipur. Not only this, many including bread-earners who are feeding many hungry mouths have been killed at the rate of 2 or 5 or 7 at a time in the interior areas of the Sadar Hills. Death of Pastor Jamkholet Khongsai and Thangjam Chanu Manorama are the two latest examples of people being killed after torture and rape. They were killed because if alive they could have revealed the whole thing to the world.

Before it is too late people should teach a lesson to those public leaders who are passing time licking the feet of Indian leaders in Delhi.

I have a final word to say. That is, to save myself from being killed under these black laws I feel it appropriate to voice full throatily against the black laws to be heard by this world and kill myself. I have embraced death as the right choice for me and after deep thinking I have decided to kill myself as a burning human torch and leave this world ahead of you all. My friends with whom I worked together, mothers and sisters, my lady friends and friends with whom I have come together since my childhood days, please do not take me otherwise, for I have not made my decision known to you all.

Most importantly, my mother who has made me see this light of the day and my father, I pray to both of you. In this life I will not be able to pay back your labour of love and care. If 'next life' does really exist I may be able to serve you there in a free and independent society. My brother, sister and all my relatives, please do not feel unhappy. Hundreds will come to follow me.


For my final decision of selfless sacrifice the responsibility should be Manipur Government and Govt. of India respectively.

Pebam Chittaranjan Mangang

s/o P. Subol Mangang P. Ongbi Sorojini Devi of Sega Rd. Takhel Leikai

Presently staying at Khaidem (Bpr-8) Thiyam Leikai

c/o Kh. Loken Singh and Rajen Singh

Bpr Post Office Complex

Presently I serve as an advisor of M.S.F. Bpr Dist. Committee/Asst. Org & Public relation Secy. UCOBID

Coordinator & Advisor in charge of AMSU, MSF & DESAM BDC

Freedom can not be achieved without bloodshed.


P.Ch. Mangang