Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

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Manipuri scientists in Chandrayan-3 Team: (from left) Ningthoujam Raghu, Y Bishal and Noel Mathiulungbo Chawang

3 Manipuri Scientists in Chandrayaan-3 Team; UNC Warns Kuki Bodies; CM Biren Meets Amit Shah; Governor Summons Manipur Assembly on Aug 29; Permanent Houses for Displaced at Original Places, Says CM Biren

3 Manipuri Scientists in Chandrayaan-3 Team

Amidst the news of violent conflict between Kuki-Zomi militants and Meiteis, good news is that there are Manipuri scientists in the Chandrayan-3 team.

India’s achievement in space research and exploration has been on a remarkable rise ever since the country first launched Chandrayaan-1 back in October 2008 under the Chandrayaan lunar mission.

On August 23, India added to its hallmark achievements in global space research and exploration by becoming the first country to soft-land an unmanned space module (Chandrayaan-3) on the lunar South Pole.

People across the country broke out in celebration when news about the successful lunar landing was announced. Joining the celebration, people in the Northeast also expressed their happiness online by tweeting and posting about the involvement of several ISRO scientists from the North Eastern region in the Chandrayaan-3 mission.

One among such who was directly involved with the mission is Ningthoujam Raghu from the strife-torn Manipur who currently serves as the deputy director in the Directorate of Technology and Innovation, ISRO headquarter, Bangalore.

Raghu, who hails from Thanga Oinam Leikai, has been with ISRO for nearly 18 years and has worked in all the Chandrayaan lunar missions. He worked as the project manager for Lander Craft and Rover in Chandrayaan-3.

Other Manipuris who also serve in the different departments of ISRO include James Leichombam and Leichombam Praneshori who work as officers in different non-technical departments of ISRO.

Another Manipuri, a Liangmai, Noel Mathiulungbo Chawang who is working as Scientist-C was also part of the team, reports said.

Another Manipuri, a Meitei Y Bishal Singha from Silchar was a team member of the Thermal Control Team in the Chandrayaan-3 mission.

UNC Warns Kuki Bodies

The United Naga Council (UNC) has rubbished and dismissed the various campaigns, statements and memoranda of the “Kuki-Zo peoples”. The Naga body also tells the “Kuki-Zo peoples” through this a media statement that the “Nagas will not remain mute over the issue”.

The UNC in a statement said the “blatant lies, lop-sided history and fabricated information contained in every statement and memorandum of the Kuki-Zo community tantamount to distortion of Naga history and insult to the Naga people”.

In the statement, the UNC said, “While the Nagas have better sense of hardship, distress etc. borne by the Kuki-Zo peoples as a consequence of the present ethnic conflict, it has become all the more inevitable for the Nagas to register our opposition to the issues raised and incorporated in their memorandum submitted to different authorities as it is posing a big threat to the very existence and inalienable rights of the Nagas particularly in the state of Manipur”.

The UNC also said it has been putting all possible efforts to end the ongoing ethnic conflict between the warring communities Kuki-Zo and Meiteis through dialogue but unfortunately things are not turning positive as expected.

The UNC further said the Nagas are also taken aback by the “blatant lies, lop-sided history and fabricated information contained in every statement and memorandum issued by the Kuki-Zo community which is tantamount to distortion of Naga history and insult to the Naga people”.

With regard to land, the Nagas’ opposition to the creation of new districts in 2016 remains alive as unfinished issue, the UNC asserted. Of the districts, ones carved out from Senapati and Chandel districts are the “handiwork” of the Congress government’s Kuki appeasement policy carried out in the name of administrative convenience, the UNC also said.

Hence, the demand of a separate administration by the Kuki-Zo community which incorporates the so-called new two districts is necessarily opposed, the UNC added. The Nagas’ stand on the opposition remains unchanged, it added.

CM Biren Meets Amit Shah

Union Home Minister Amit Shah has assured the high-level delegation from Manipur led by Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren that rehabilitation and peace restoration process to go on simultaneously.

Nongthombam Biren, who met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in the late hours on Thursday (August 24) in the capital, said he has been assured that the Centre will back the efforts of the state to “settle the displaced persons”, reports said.

“I met Amit Shah ji and he has said both the rehabilitation and peace restoration process should go simultaneously. He has assured us of all assistance from the Centre. We apprised him of the current situation and how things are much better, especially after the speech by PM Modi and Amit Shah ji in Parliament,” he added.

Chief Minister Biren said work is in progress to rehabilitate those displaced, including people whose houses were burnt during the violence.

Reports said the Chief Minister also apprised the Union Home Minister about the steps taken to bring back normalcy in the northeastern state.

Present political situation in Manipur was also discussed at the meeting, the sources added.

A few state ministers, besides the Speaker of the Manipur Legislative Assembly Thokchom Satyabrata and State President of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) A Sharda, were also present at the meeting with the Union Home Minister along with the Chief Minister. The Ministers who accompanied the Chief Minister are RD & PR Minister Y Khemchand, Works Minister K Govindas, Education Minister Th Basantakumar and Health Minister Dr S Ranjan.

“We have already constructed temporary housing for those affected, Rs 149 crore was approved for constructing 3,000 pre-fabricated housing units and 400 families have been provided these units.”

While the Manipur government intends to rebuild all houses burnt during the violence, the initial target is to deliver approximately 1,000.

Reports said Chief Minister Biren requested the Union home minister to provide Rs 150-200 crore for rehabilitating those whose houses were burnt.

The Home Ministry on the other hand said 50 more companies of the CRPF are being sent to Manipur to strengthen buffer zones between the hills and the valley and provide security to the CBI team probing multiple FIRs related to violence in the state.

To put an end to “illegal migration” from neighbouring Myanmar, CM Biren said he has sought more central forces to complete the fencing of the 398-km porous international border.

He added that the State will also be asking for an extension of the central government’s 30 September deadline to complete the process of recording the biometrics of illegal migrants lodged at a detention centre in Imphal.

In a drive conducted by the Manipur government in April, over 2,800 illegal migrants from Myanmar were found to be residing in the state.

Governor Summons Manipur Assembly on August 29

Manipur Governor Anusuiya Uikey has summoned the 4th Session of the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly to meet at 11 am, August 29, 2023 in the Assembly Hall, Imphal.

The state Cabinet on Monday (August 21) took a decision to convene the much-awaited Manipur Legislative Assembly monsoon session on August 29 and conveyed the same to the Governor on Monday night for approval, to avoid a constitutional crisis.

Earlier, the State Cabinet had, on August 4, recommended to Manipur Governor for summoning the 4th session of 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly on August 21. However, no session of the Assembly was held on Monday.

In a notification dated August 21, 2023, K Meghajit Singh, Secretary, Manipur Legislative Assembly intimated summoning of the assembly session by the Governor.

The Governor’s order stated: “In exercise of the power conferred by Clause (1) of Article 174 of the Constitution of India, I, Anusuiya Uikey, Governor of Manipur, hereby summon the 4th session of the twelfth Manipur Legislative Assembly to meet at 11.00 am on Tuesday, the 29th August, 2023 in the Assembly Hall, Imphal.”

It may be mentioned that, various political parties including Manipur Pradesh Congress Party and different CSOs have been pressing the Governor to summon a special session of the State Assembly in order to discuss the present crisis that has been continuing since May 3.

The Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) had even announced an indefinite social boycott of the state government and its activities for allegedly defying the people’s resolutions taken on the July 29 rally against “narco-terrorism”, especially of convening a special assembly session within August 5.

‘Special Or Emergency Session’, Asks Manipur Congress

The Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) has questioned the nature of the Manipur Legislative Assembly summoned by Governor on August 29 as to whether it is a special or emergency session.

Speaking to media-persons, MPCC President Keisham Meghachandra said, the Governor’s initial refusal to accept the cabinet’s recommendation to summon the Assembly session on August 21 has triggered a recommendation for a second time, now scheduled for August 29, reports said.

Meghachandra noted that due to the short notice, this session would be classified either as a special or emergency session.

Meghachandra further explained that unlike a regular session requiring a 15-day notice, the short notice for this emergency session deprives MLAs and ministers of their full rights.

He criticised the Governor’s rejection of the cabinet’s proposal, stating it undermined democratic principles. He also expressed concerns that emergency sessions lack the framework for productive discussions, resulting in unofficial and rule-bending questions.

Furthermore, Meghachandra highlighted that emergency sessions curtail the ability of MLAs to effectively raise concerns on the floor of the assembly.

Permanent Houses For Displaced Families At Original Place, Says CM Biren

Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren has once again reiterated that permanent houses for displaced families would be constructed at original places by the state government.

Chief Minister Biren announced this during the inauguration and handing over of temporary shelter homes for displaced families at a solemn function held at Sajiwa Jail Complex, Imphal East on August 23.

The shelter homes were constructed under the Scheme for Providing Temporary Shelter to Displaced Families for 3,000 shelter units.

Speaking on the occasion, CM Biren maintained that rehabilitation of persons displaced due to the ongoing unrest in the state is the utmost priority of the government. As such, prefabricated shelter homes which have been constructed near Sajiwa Jail are being handed over for relocation of 400 displaced families as the first phase, he added.

The Chief Minister recalled that many innocent people from both hill and valley regions had been taking shelter at different relief camps following the unfortunate incident that happened on May 3 this year. For relocating these displaced people, temporary shelter homes are being constructed at different locations, he informed.

CM Biren further informed that the temporary shelter homes are being constructed at a total cost of around Rs. 149 crore, of which an amount of Rs 101 crore had already been disbursed from the Prime Minister’s Office through the Union Home Minister. Stating prefabricated houses are being constructed to rehabilitate displaced people temporarily, he informed that permanent houses would also be constructed at their original places in the meantime and a survey has been started for the same, reports added.

CPI Delegation Calls on Manipur Governor Anusuiya Uikey

A political delegation of CPI led by its General Secretary and Ex-Rajya Sabha (MP), D Raja, along with six others called on Governor of Manipur Anusuiya Uikey at Raj Bhavan on August 23 evening and apprised her of the present situation of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) staying in various relief camps.

According to a release from the Raj Bhavan, D Raja, while informing the Governor, said his team visited different relief camps in Imphal, Moirang and Churachandpur where most of the IDPs want peace and normalcy to be restored at the earliest. He said some of the IDPs, mainly children and women, required urgent medical facilities. The issue of possessions of arms and ammunition in both hills and valley districts have also been raised to the Governor by the delegation, the Raj Bhavan said, adding that the Governor told the delegation that dialogue is the only solution and any form of violence will delay the peace process.

The Governor, while appreciating their goodwill gesture, informed the team that she personally met Central leaders and urged them to find ways to end the conflict at the earliest possible time, the Raj Bhavan release said.

The Governor also informed the team that a CBI team has been constituted to probe cases against women and the Supreme Court has also constituted a committee of three former women judges to oversee humanitarian measures.

ATUM Condemns

Aimol Tribe Union Manipur (ATUM) on August 21 condemned the “illegitimate claim” of certain individuals maintaining that Aimols are not an indigenous community of Manipur and further advised people of the state not to take the word of self-styled Aimol Tribe Union leader Akhel Aimol as the word of the entire Aimol community.

“Akhel Aimol used to be the vice president of Kuki Inpi Manipur and his authority in the Aimol Union is non-existent. Therefore, we advise people not to take his word as the final say of the entire Aimol community,” ATUM stated.

The ATUM expressed suspicion that self-styled Aimol leader was intentionally trying to drag the small and peaceful community into the violent mix.

Speaking to media at Manipur Press Club, Majorkhul, ATUM president S Munthuireng strongly decried and expressed discontentment over the illegitimate assertion of one L Munindro who stated that Aimols are not an indigenous community of Manipur on a local media platform.

“The Aimols are part and parcel to the historical landscape of the Manipuri kingdom. Their services and aid for the kingdom of Manipur are well documented in the ‘Royal Chronicles’ (Cheitharol Kumpaba),” he said.

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