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A Digest of the Pandemonium in Assembly and Other Stories

Independence Day

Independence Day was observed on August 15 at the 1st Manipur Rifles ground in Imphal. On the occasion Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren gave away the Chief Minister’s Police Medal for Gallantry and Outstanding Devotion to Duty to 20 police officers.

The Chief Minister’s Trophy for Community Policing was awarded to Bishenpur District SP Dr. Priyadarshini Laishram while Chief Minister’s Trophy for Anti-Drugs Campaign was awarded to Thoubal SP Dr. S Ibomcha.

The day was also celebrated at all the district headquarters of the state. The Manipur Congress also celebrated Independence Day at its office complex at BT Road, Imphal.

Patriots’ Day

Earlier on August 13, Manipur observed Patriots’ Day. This was the day in 1891 that the British, after defeating Manipur, hanged several of the chief protagonists who resisted their takeover, including Prince Koireng, more popularly known as Juberaj Tikendrajit and General Thangal publicly. Three others were also hanged in later dates. They were Niranjan Subedar hanged 8th June 1891, Kajao Singh, Jamandar hanged 25th May 1891 and Chirai Naga of Mayangkhang, hanged 13th October 1891.

Besides them, the British also exiled for life at the Andaman Islands, Maharaja Kullachandra Kulachandra, Prince Angousana Senapati, and twenty others.

Congress Demands Fresh Trust Vote

The political tug of war between the BJP and Opposition Congress continues with the Congress, in a new development, demanding a fresh trust vote in the State Assembly, rejecting the “inconclusive and procedurally illegal” vote of confidence on August 10.

Former chief minister and leader of the Congress Legislature Party Okram Ibobi has sought, in a representation to Governor Najma Heptulla on August 14, a special Assembly session under Article 174 of the Constitution to conduct a trust vote.

Okram Ibobi has argued that the trust vote held four days ago on August 10 violated laid-down rules and Supreme Court judgements. Violations cited included two rules of the ‘Procedures & Conduction of Business of Manipur Assembly’ and the SC judgments in the Union of India versus former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat in 2016 and current Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan versus Speaker of the State this year.

It may be noted that in the trust vote concluded on August 10, eight out of the 24 Congress MLAs were not seen inside the Assembly hall while all the 28 members of the ruling BJP-led coalition took part in the motion of confidence. The Congress MLAs who stayed away were Ngamthang Haokip, Md. Abdul Nasir, Oinam Lukhoi, Md. Fajur Rahim, Okram Henry, Paonam Brojen, Ginsuanhau and Yamthong Haokip.

Resignations of Six Congress MLAs

In another development after Assembly Session on August 10 six MLAs of Congress namely, Okram Henry (Wangkhei AC), Oinam Lukhoi (Wangoi AC), Md. Abdul Nasir (Lilong AC), Ngamthang Haokip (Saitu AC), Ginsuanhau (Singngat AC) and Paonam Brojen (Wangjing-Tentha AC) tendered their resignations from the memberships of Manipur Legislative Assembly and the Congress.

Their resignation from the membership of Manipur Legislative Assembly has been approved by Speaker Yumnam Khemchand with Paonam Brojen’s resignation which was pending due to a disqualification case being the last to be approved on August 14.

Notably, the effective strength of the 60-Member Manipur Legislative Assembly has been reduced to 47 following resignation of three BJP MLAs, disqualification of four Congress MLAs and resignation of six other Congress MLAs.

Following the latest developments, after resignations of three BJP MLAs prior to June 19 Rajya Sabha election, the strength of BJP has been reduced to 18 from 21 with the BJP-led coalition having 29 MLAs while the strength of Opposition Congress has been reduced to 18 from 28.

Muivah says will ‘co-exist’ but ‘not merge’

The NSCN (IM) leader Thuingaleng Muivah has stated in his Naga Independence Day speech that the framework agreement under the Nagaland Peace Accord 2015 had recognized the sovereignty of the Nagas and the NSCN (IM) had agreed that it would co-exist in India without merging.

The statement on the occasion of the Naga Independence Day comes days after the NSCN (IM) had said that there is a ‘roadblock’ in the Naga peace deal which is underway with talks in New Delhi and asked for the removal of the government’s interlocutor and Nagaland Governor RN Ravi from the talks.

Meanwhile reports have said that the 74th Naga Independence Day was observed on August 14 in many parts of Manipur too.

The All Naga Students’ Association, Manipur (ANSAM), the Naga Students’ Federation, the Naga People’s Organization, Senapati District Women’s Association, Senapati District Students Association, civil organization leaders of Longmai (Noney), Tangkhul villages of Kamjong and Ukhrul districts, senior citizen Chiri Muinao of Ukhrul, Ukhrul ADC Chairman, religious leaders, social organization leaders and well-wishers, and the Tangkhul Katamnao Saklong (TKS) hoisted the Naga flag and observed the occasion at separate locations.

Manipur’s August 14 Observed

Many civil society organisations including United Committee Manipur (UCM), All Manipur United Clubs Organisation (AMUCO), Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CCSK), Coalition for Indigenous People’s Campaign (CIRCA), United People’s Front (UPF) and Preservation and Protection Committee, Manipur (PPCM) observed Manipur’s independence from the British on August 14 at various places in Manipur.

Paphal embossed Manipuri flag were hoisted by the groups which were later removed by the

Manipur police. It may be mentioned that the Manipur Independence Day was observed till last year at Sana Konung (Royal Palace) but the observation has been stopped after Leishemba Sanajaoba became the BJP MP for the lone Rajya Sabha seat in Manipur.

PIL Filed on Drug Haul Cases

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed before the Manipur High Court asking for entrusting a central independent agency like CBI or NIA to investigate rise in drug trafficking cases in the state and monitoring of all trials under the NDPS Act by the High Court.

The PIL was filed by User Society for Effective Response (USER), Human Rights Alert (HRA) and Aribam Dhananjoy Sharma (Paojel Chaoba) of Thangmeiband Lourungpurel Leikai, a journalist. The respondents are Chief Secretary, Government of Manipur, Additional Chief Secretary (Home)/Special Secretary (Home), Government of Manipur, DGP, Manipur, and Superintendent of Police, Narcotics and Affairs of Border Police Station.

The public has no information on at least 156 major drug seizures by the NAB (Narcotics and Affairs of Border) Manipur, the PIL cited stating that the conviction rate is meagre and none of the alleged drug kingpin have been convicted.

Erendro pulled up

Political activist Leichomba Erendro and Lewis Salam of Thangmeiband were picked up by the Imphal East police in connection with a derogatory Facebook post on July 25 in which the activist had derided Rajya Sabha MP Leishemba Sanajaoba.

The activist was arrested at his home on his completion of quarantine at a hotel in Imphal. He had earlier filed for an anticipatory bail and now faces three counts under the Indian Penal Code including sedition.

Truck strike threat

The inter-state truck drivers have threatened on August 10 to halt services if the state government authorities do not take appraisal of their demands within seven days. The drivers’ demands include proper care for their families by the government in case they contract the Covid-19 disease, matter of drivers not being allowed to go to their homes by their localities, ill-treatment and stigmatisation while stopping on the highways, and immediate repairs at the Khuman Lampak ISBT which is not in a condition to allow Covid-19 tests and proper transit and parking facilities.

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