As many as 36 cadres of the Chin-Kuki Liberation Army (CKLA) and a cadre of PREPAK (Pro) surrendered and laid down their arms before Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on April 21 at a homecoming ceremony held at the Banquet Hall of the 1st Battalion Manipur Rifles. It was organized by the Home Department, Government of Manipur.
The arms and ammunition surrendered by the cadres were four AK series rifles, one .22 rifles, one 303 rifle, one single barrel, one carbine, four pistols, two hand grenades, and 540 assorted ammunitions.
Addressing the homecoming ceremony as chief guest, Chief Minister Biren welcomed all the surrendered cadres on their joining the mainstream, adding that today’s homecoming ceremony was one of the largest in terms of number of cadres surrendered, since the formation of BJP Government 2.0.
The Chief Minister stated that development could be brought only when peace prevails and it is through people’s support in the last 6 years that the State has been able to progress towards development.
Chief Minister Biren appealed to the public to refrain from bandh and blockades and rather come up with their grievances, so that amicable solutions could be brought out. He further appealed to the public to join hands and work together for a better and developed Manipur, reports added.
It may be mentioned that rehabilitation benefits given to the surrendered cadres include a one-time financial grant of Rs 4 lakh to each surrendered cadre, which is to be kept in a bank account in their names as a fixed deposit for a period of three years under the Revised Scheme for Surrender-Cum Rehabilitation of Militants in the North East States, 2018 of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. Apart from this, monthly stipend of Rs 6000 per person and incentives for surrendered weapons. They will stay in a rehabilitation camp for three years.
Nine BJP MLAs Abscond Party Meet
Nine MLAs of the rulling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) did not attend a “high-level meeting” of their party held on April 21 at party’s office, Thambal Shanglen at Nityaipa Chuthek in Imphal West.
Among the nine MLAs, including one cabinet minister, who did not attend the high-level party meeting of Manipur BJP, three MLAs were reportedly absent without submitting any reason.
The cabinet minister was Forest and Environment & Climate Change Minister Thongam Biswajit while the three MLAs are Yumnam Radheshyam of Hiyanglam Assembly Constituency (AC); Paonam Brojen of Wangjing Tentha AC and Paolienlal Haokip of Saikot (ST) AC, reports added.
After the meeting, Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren told the media that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to address the 100th ‘Maan Ki Baat’, and the State is also organising a mass participation to listen to the 100th ‘Maan Ki Baat’ at Loktak Project. He said that similar programmes will also be organised at each assembly constituency.
Concerning the absence of the MLAs at the meeting, he said except for the three MLAs, the remaining absentee MLAs and the minister gave clarification for their absence at the meeting. He said there is no crisis among the BJP MLAs, reports added.
HC on Meitei Inclusion in ST List
Manipur High Court on April 19 has directed the State Government to submit recommendations for inclusion of Meitei/Meetei in the Scheduled Tribes list, and to consider the case within a period of four weeks.
The HC has directed the state government to submit recommendations regarding inclusion of Meetei/Meitei in ST list to the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
The directive came following a writ petition filed by eight petitioners from the Meetei (Meitei) Tribe Union. The writ petition sought issuance of a writ of mandamus directing the state government to submit recommendations in reply to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs’ letter dated May29, 2013 within two months or within a time frame and to include Meetei/Meitei community in the Schedule Tribe list of Indian Constitution as a “tribe among tribes of Manipur”.
“No satisfactory explanation is forthcoming from the side of the respondent state for not submitting the recommendation for the last 10 years”, stated the HC adding that it would be appropriate to direct the respondent state to submit its recommendation to the Union Tribal Affairs Ministry within a reasonable time.
HAC upset over HC Decision on Meitei in ST List
While the High Court of Manipur directed the State Government to send recommendation for inclusion of Meitei (Meetei) community in the ST list, the Hill Areas Committee (HAC) has decided to urge the Government of Manipur and Government of India to go for appeals against the High Court order.
The HAC took the resolution during its meeting held on April 20, taking into account the sentiments and interests and rights of the Scheduled Tribes of Manipur, said a statement issued by HAC chairman Dinganlung Gangmei.
ATSUM Decries High Court Order on Meitei ST
The All Manipur Tribal Students’ Union (ATSUM) on April 21 decried the High Court judgment which directed the State Government to send recommendation to Union Government for inclusion of Meitei in the ST list, raising apprehension that the interests and rights of the hill people will become uncertain if the demand of Meiteis for ST status if fulfilled.
“The judgment is contradicting the wishes and aspirations of the tribal people and it is unfortunate and deplorable. It is an ex parte judgment that only hears the interests of the petitioners,” said ATSUM general secretary SR Andria while speaking to the media at ATSUM office in Imphal. April 19, the day which the High Court passed the judgment, is a black letter day for the tribal people of Manipur, he added.
‘ST Demand Will Not Infringe Upon Tribal Rights’
The Meetei (Meitei) Tribe Union categorically stated on April 21 that the Meetei/Meitei demand for inclusion in the Scheduled Tribes (ST) list under the Indian Constitution will not infringe upon the rights of tribal communities included in the ST list in Manipur. The Union emphasised that the demand is only meant for constitutional safeguard of the Meitei/Meetei community against demographic threats.
Speaking to the media at Manipur Press Club in Imphal Secretary of Meetei (Meitei) Tribe Union Mutum Churamani sought the support of all communities in Manipur to materialise the demand and maintained that the demand was raised with genuine concern and not against any community specifically.
Churamani highlighted that Meitei/Meetei had no constitutional safeguard to protect itself from foreign demographic influx. Therefore, the agitations for the demand began in 2013, he added.
He expressed gratitude to the High Court of Manipur for finally picking up the writ petition filed by the union.
IPFM for 72 Pc For Locals In Any Project
The Indigenous People’s Forum Manipur (IPFM) urges the State Government to reserve 72 per cent for local people in any project from the Central Government or international agencies for development works of Manipur.
The President of IPFM, Ashang Kasar at a press meet held at Manipur Press Club on April 20 said that not only 72 per cent should be reserved for the local indigenous people, mainly for sub-contractors of Manipur but also any projects should be mandatory partners with local people.
Ashang said the original inhabitants, rather the indigenous people of Manipur who call themselves ‘the true sons of soil’, have expressed deep anguish and disappointment as they have been gravely marginalised and neglected by the State Government, mainly because of its sycophancy. The indigenous people are deprived of various economic opportunities and benefits in their own land, he added.
He explained that every year the Central government sanctions enormous funds for a number of projects for the benefit of the people of Manipur. However, as all the contractual works for the projects sanctioned by the Central government are awarded to companies or firms or individuals from outside Manipur, the benefits are ploughed back to the outsiders, except some incidental benefits.
“Now even sub-contractors of Manipur do not get any contract or supply works in their own land. This is a system of giving out by the right hand and snatching it back by the left hand”, said Ashang Kasar.
The State Government should take up necessary action to reserve 72 percent in any works. If no action is initiated IPFM along with other civil society organisations will join hands and pressure with force agitation for reservation, he said.
Thadous Celebrate HUN Festival
Thadous celebrated their biggest cultural festival, HUN under the theme, “Drug-Free Society” on April 18. Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren attended the 5th State-Level Hun 2023 at Kangpokpi District Head Quarters.
Expressing his contentment over the celebration of HUN, the biggest cultural festival of the Thadou tribe, under the theme, “Drug-Free Society”, Chief Minister Biren urged the people of Kangpokpi to take a strong collective pledge on the auspicious occasion to eradicate the illegal cultivation of poppy and also annihilate the drug menace in society.
Addressing the mammoth gathering, Biren said that we should protect and preserve our own culture and identity and this is what he has been emphasizing for the last six years while adding that the BJP Government in Manipur had built the indigenous housing model of all tribes of Manipur at the Ethnic and Eco-tourism Park to promote their respective culture and identity.
Minister for Works and YAS Govindas Konthoujam and Textiles, Commerce, and Industry and Cooperation Minister Nemcha Kipgen, who is also the local MLA attended the festival as Guest of Honour and Functional President respectively.
The state Government of Manipur on January 27, 2023, declared April 7 as a restricted holiday in the state of Manipur on the occasion of Hun, the Thadou Cultural Festival.
Hun, according to the Thadou, etymologically signifies time and season. The ‘time’ here significantly encompasses something of the entire cosmology-from earth to heaven, death to life, and all the affairs of man and his spirituality. Hun is an archaic but formal form of time in the above sense of the language. Hun, which is celebrated for seven days, is more than a cultural festival, it is a civilizing act of the Thadou tribe and it is the custom, the culture, the religious affairs, and the greatest occasion for almost everything in the social, religious, and political life of the Thadou Tribe.
Weapons Recovered From KIA
Following the shootout between Churachandpur district police and suspected cadres of Kuki Independent Army (KIA) between Songphu village and Kolchung village on April 16, a thorough search of the area was conducted on the same day leading to recovering of war-like stores filled with arms and ammunitions.
A release by the Churachandpur district police on April 17 said that one Ladies Carbine with magazine, two AK 56 Rifles with magazine, three Camouflage Bags, two Chinese Hand Grenades, one Lethode live round, three Pistols, 76 nos of AK 56 Ammunition, 22 live and three empty cases of Single Barrel Ammo, four 9 mm rounds and four Single Barrel (SBBL) guns were recovered during the search.
The Churachandpur police said that based on specific input received on the presence of KIA cadres in general area of Songphu, as a follow-up action on FIR No 6(4)2023 HLP-PS regarding loot of arms and ammunitions from Chongkhojou SoO Camp that took place on April 8, 2023, an operation was launched on Saturday (April 15, 2023).
The operation was taken by a special team of District Police, Churachandpur in the general area of Songphu Village under the supervision of Addl SP (OPS), Churachandpur, Deshorjit Singh, and under the overall supervision of the SP of Churachandpur, Shivanand Surve, the release said.
Moreover, columns of 36 AR and 9 AR, under the aegis of 27 Sector AR Headquarter, Churachandpur, also launched Cordon and Search Operations in different areas of Henglep to cover large areas of Henglep Subdivision, cutting off escape routes, the release added.
Ex Zeliangrong Union (AMN) chief Amu Kamei No More
Amu Kamei, former president of Zeliangrong Union (Assam-Manipur-Nagaland), who also served as President of Rongmei Naga People Organisation (RNPO) passed away on April 18 morning at Shija Hospitals, Imphal after a prolonged illness.
The condolence service was held at 12 noon on April 18 at his residence in Namdunlong, Imphal East. The funeral service was held on April 19 at Longmai in Noney district, reports said.
Many people mourned the loss of the Zeliangrong leader and took to social media to express deepest condolences to the bereaved family members.
Journalist Mungyamba Chenglei Passes Away
Manipur journalist Leishangthem Mungyamba Chenglei passed away in Imphal on April 17 after suffering from ill health. He was 41.
Mungyamba worked with ISTV News, Imphal as cameraman since the launch of the TV news channel in 2003. He also worked with several other media houses in the state. He was also Secretary of CPI Tera Sapam Leirak Local Council, Imphal, where he lived. He was also a member of CPI Manipur State Council.
The Editors Guild Manipur (EGM) and All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) also condoled the untimely demise of journalist Mungyamba Chenglei.
Several mediapersons in the state mourned the untimely demise of Mungyamba Chenglei and expressed condolences to his family members. He is survived by his wife and two children.
Crackdown Drug Activities to continue: Imphal East SP
Superintendent of Police (SP) of Imphal East District, Kshetrimayum Shivakanta on April 17 stated that areas rampant in drug activities under Imphal East district had been listed and maintained that the crackdown on such rampant areas will continue.
SP Shivakanta was speaking at the awareness cum public meeting held on the topic ‘Mayai Kaba Nishana Khunaida Piba Chietheng Amadi Meeyamna Lougadaba Thoudang’ at Wangkhei Ayangpalli Leima Keithel. The programme was jointly organised by Nongpok Leingak Apunba Nupi Lup, Diamond club, Wangkhei Ayangpalli and Wangkhei Ayangpalli Leima Keithel Apunba Lup.
CSOs to Oppose Land Survey in Churachandpur
Tribal leaders, village chiefs, student bodies, CSOs on April 19 resolved to oppose all forms of land survey “in their lands”, during a consultative meeting that was held at YPA GHQ Hall at Hiangtam Lamka in Churachandpur district.
The resolution was taken at the consultative meeting on Reserve Forest/Protected Forest/Wetland/Wildlife Sanctuary organised by Indigenous Tribal Leader’s Forum (ITLF) at YPA GHQ Hall at Hiangtam Lamka in Churachandpur district. The meeting was also attended by Research and Preservation of Zo Identity, tribal leaders, village chiefs, student organisations and intellectuals.
The meeting unanimously agreed to oppose and object to all forms of survey in their lands at any cost by all the groups and organisations as there are procedural lapses, “which are illegal and unconstitutional.”
The consultative meeting urged the MLAs of the district to take a common stand against the ongoing survey which is to take place on the reserved forest, protected forest, wetland preservation and wildlife sanctuary as well as the plan to complete the cancellation of ‘pattas’ and ‘jabamandis’ on April 30.
It also appealed to the MLAs to declare their stand within seven days. It also concluded to move their issues legally to the court for justice and the village chiefs also unanimously resolved to support ITLF in any issues taken up.
At the meeting, the attendees rejected the office memorandum of the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) and HoFF dated November 7 and stated that the memorandum should be quashed and nullified as it is allegedly illegal and arbitrary.