Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

CM Biren at the official release of a postal stamp celebrating Manipur Statehood Day

Manipur Celebrates 50 Years of Statehood; CoCom bans R-Day Celebrations; Heirok Protest Continues

Manipur celebrated 50 years of Indian Statehood on January 21 at the 1st Battalion Manipur Rifles Parade Ground in Imphal.

As part of the Golden Jubilee celebration of Manipur’s Statehood, Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren released a commemorative Postage Stamp of the 50th year of Manipur’s statehood. PHED executive engineer Chamdanlung Rongmei was also awarded for his dedication and effort in the successful implementation of the Prime Minister’s Jal Jeevan Mission in Kamjong district.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a video message on the occasion, congratulated the people of the State and praised the people of the state. He said that resilience and unity of the Manipuri people in the face of ups and downs of their history is their true strength.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also paid his tributes to the sacrifices and efforts of each and every person who have contributed in the state’s journey. Stating that Manipur deserves peace and freedom from bandhs and blockades, he further expressed happiness that the State and its people could fulfil this desire for peace.

Further stating that the government is committed to make Manipur the sports powerhouse of the country, he said that sons and daughters of Manipur have brought laurels in the field of sports. He also said that in consideration of the passion and potential of Manipuris in sports, India’s first sports university was established in the state.

He also spoke on the state’s youth’s success in the Start-up sector and handicraft sector. He said that the state has a key role in the vision of making the Northeast the centre of Act East policy.

He said under the ‘double-engine’ government, Manipur is getting long awaited facilities like Railways. Thousands of crore rupees worth connectivity projects are underway in the state including Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal railway line, he added. He also maintained that connectivity of Northeastern states with Delhi, Kolkata and Bengaluru has improved with Imphal airport getting international status.  Manipur will also benefit from India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway and upcoming Rs. 9 thousand crore natural gas pipeline in the region, he further added.

He said that obstacles in the growth journey of the state have been removed and the next 25 years would be Amrit Kaal of Manipur’s development. He concluded by wishing for the state’s double-engine growth.

Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren speaking as the Chief Guest of the occasion wished the people of the state on the Golden Jubilee Celebration. He said the day is observed across the state in all districts, however, unfortunately, due to COVID-19, there are certain restrictions in the public gathering.

He said that the attainment of statehood on January 21, 1972 was a landmark in the history of the people. “It fulfilled a long-cherished dream to empower ourselves to shape our own destiny within the framework of the Constitution of India. Since then, we have had an eventful journey of progress and development,” he added.

CorCom Imposes 18-Hour Shutdown on Indian Republic Day

The conglomeration of PREPARK, PREPARK (Pro), RPF and UNLF, the Coordination Committee (CorCom) in a release on January 21 imposed an 18-hour total shutdown with effect from 12 am of January 25 till 6 pm of January 26 in Manipur on Indian Republic Day.

The CorCom in the release stated that the people of Manipur need not take part in the celebration of 73rd Republic Day of India organised by the Government of India “which allows the murder of innocent people of ‘Western South East Asia (WESEA)’ by labelling them as terrorists,” and the day is boycotted as usual.

Further, the release issued by CorCom Media Coordinator M Sak-hen appealed to all to stop all festivities during the shutdown, remain indoors and boycott the “forced” celebration.

Manipur was forcefully colonised and merged to India, and the ‘Republic Day’ organised by the colonial master, the Government of India is rather a ‘Colonial Day’ which is a way of showing how it possesses the strength to oppress the people, CorCom stated.

“Let us show our strength in defying colonial rule which has enslaved and challenged our lives and community,” it urged. The total shutdown will exempt religious matters, medical necessities and emergencies, it added.

The massacre of 13 civilians at Oting in Nagaland by the Indian armed forces was done with the agenda to oppress the people of ‘WESEA’ by imposing fear, it alleged. Even if AFSPA was removed, such massacres would continue to take place as long as the sinister agenda of the Government of India continues to exist, it further stated.

Election has been carried out in the name of democracy so that the duties of running the government can be passed over. India is such a country which does not pay heed to its people unless they take to the streets to raise their demands, it stated.

Instead of “for, of, by the people”, it follows “far, off and buy the people” as it is far away from the people and remains disconnected and buys the people with money, CorCom continued.

In Manipur, the general public has been adversely affected by the poll related violence added with open distribution of alcohol, drugs to buy the voters and the flexing of power among the intending candidates, it added. “These activities can never be stopped as long as we continue to exist under India. They are carried out with the agenda to obliterate the smaller communities as a part of India’s colonial policies. Such policies can only be confronted by an armed revolution,” CorCom added.

Women Protesters Storm Heirok Police Station

Alleging the police of failing to trace the facts behind the killing of a student, Ningthoujam Rohit and the assault on his father by miscreants in a poll-related violence that took place at Heirok on December 21, a large group of disgruntled women stormed the Heirok Police station in protest on January 17.

The protesters headed straight towards Heirok Police Station, shouting slogans. The protesters placed a tree before the gate to block it, and burned tyres and blocked the road as well.

Later, a large consignment of Thoubal police arrived at the spot and attempted to bring the situation under control. Six members of the JAC were selected to negotiate with the OC of Heirok Police; however, no agreement could be reached, reports added.

Bomb Attack

While election-related violent incidents are happening in Manipur another bomb hurled by unknowns exploded inside the house of one resident of Arapti Mamang Leikai under Irilbung Police Station in Imphal East district on January 19, leaving one injured.

Reports said that the bomb exploded inside the house of one Kaborambam Loken, 55, son of K Ibohal of Arapti Mamang Leikai under Irilbung Police Station in Imphal East district on January 19 at 2.30 am.

In the explosion, Kaborambam Kansan, 27, son of K Loken sustained a minor injury on his right leg. Some household properties were also damaged. Loken is a supporter of intending NPP candidate Md Nasiruddin Boboi of Kelrao assembly constituency, reports said.

Meanwhile, decrying the bomb attack, locals of Arapti Mamang Leikai staged a sit-in-protest at Arapti Mamang Leikai, Imphal East on January 19, reports added.

Protesters Demands Loukrakpam Manglemjao’s Release

Protesters on January 20 condemned the arrest of Loukrakpam Manglemjao by Heirok Police Station on January 19, and demanded his immediate release and withdrawal of the alleged “false accusations” against to him.

Reports said the people of Salungpham Kangyambem Mamang Leikai of Heirok Assembly Constituency in Thoubal district held a protest demonstration against the arrest of Loukrakpam Manglemjao.

A team of Heirok police came to Manglemjao’s residence at Salungpham Kangyembem Mamang Leikai on January 19 morning and summoned him to the police station, but when Manglemjao reached the station later at noon he was charged with involvement in the assault of one Phuritsabam Anoi and his wife on January 13, 2022, reports added.

Speaking on the occasion, Thingbijam Ongbi Ngangbiton Leima condemned the incident of assault on Phuritsabam Anoi and his wife Meipakpi late at night by miscreants. Asserting Manglemjao’s innocence, she added that rather than safeguarding peace in the area the district police are arresting innocent civilians based on wrong accusations. Demanding the immediate release of Manglemjao without harm, the protesters said that the people stand against the unlawful pre-poll violence, reports added.

Intending Candidate Attacked

While Manipur Legislative Assembly election is scheduled on February 27 and March 3, election-related violent incidents continue to occur in different assembly constituencies of Manipur. Unknown armed persons fired some rounds at the residence of Indian National Congress (INC) intending candidate of Keirao Assembly Constituency, Thonggram Tony located at Keirao Bitra under Irilbung police station in Imphal East on January 17.

Reports said the incident occurred at about 12.30 am. The bullets hit the fencing of the house and no casualties have been reported.

Tony told the media that he strongly condemned the gun attack in a populated area and appealed not to repeat similar acts in the future. He said he does not have any enmity with any individual or have knowledge of the reason behind the attack.

Tony appealed to the authority concerned to take necessary measures to prevent such incidents from taking place in the future again. He said the intending candidates should compete with one another in a free and fair manner as the representatives are to be elected by the democratic rights of the people, reports added.

MLA Khumukcham Joykishan Suspended From INC

The Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) on January 18 announced suspension of MLA Kh Joykishan Singh from the Indian National Congress (INC) “on the recommendation of the Disciplinary Action Committee, MPCC”. Joykishan was elected from Thangmeiband Assembly Constituency in Imphal West district and became a member of the Manipur Legislative Assembly since 2012.

MPCC General Secretary (Administration) Hareshwar Goshwami said that Joykishan was suspended under article XXVII (h) of INC’s constitution. Goshwami further said there are some two-three issues following which he was suspended. However, Article XXVII(h) was one of the major reason. Article XXVII(h) of INC’s constitution mentioned that one primary member of INC can be suspended under the power of MPCC if a member failed to attend meeting of the party three times consecutively.

Joykishan earlier joined the BJP in May 2015 from the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) and was elected as BJP candidate during the by-poll election in 2015. He, later, contested the 2017 election with INC ticket after he tendered his resignation from the primary membership of the BJP on December 21, 2016.

During the time of his resignation from the BJP party he had expressed that he decided to quit the party because BJP failed to address the problems of the people of the state.

He was elected as MLA from Thangmeiband assembly constituency under AITC in 2012 election which was his debut election.

Meanwhile, there was speculation that Joykishan will join the BJP but not yet so far.

110 Acres of Poppy Farm Destroyed in Chandel District
Poppy menace continues despite claims of their destruction by Govt

A combined force of Chandel District Police, NAB, MR and SDO Chakpikarong on January 17 conducted a drive against poppy cultivation farm at Govok Village and destroyed 110 acres of poppy cultivation.

The drive was carried out by a combined team of District Police Chandel comprising additional SP (Law and Order); sub-divisional police officer Chandel; officer in charge, Chakpikarong Police station; two teams of Chakpikarong Police station; one team of NAB, 26 personnel of 6MR, 7MR and 6 IRB led by Jemadar altogether 67 personnel led by the additional SP (Law and Order)/CDL and sub divisional officer, Chakpikarong.

Reports said that the combined team conducted the drive at a poppy cultivation farm at the hill slope of Govok village which is about 12 km South East from the Chandel district Police Station.

1000 Acres Poppy Plantations Destroyed: CM

Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on Monday January 17 reiterated “zero tolerance” towards any illicit drugs-related activities in Manipur and said that the government’s war on drugs has destroyed thousands of acres of poppy plantations in the state.

“Zero tolerance for any illicit drugs related activities in Manipur. A combined team of Ukhrul Police, 6th MR & NAB destroyed a poppy plantation of 70 acres at Thawai Kuki range. Under the War on drugs initiative, thousands of acres of poppy plantations have been destroyed so far,” Chief Minister Biren tweeted on January 17.

Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren in another Tweet, said that the Manipur Government’s effort under ‘War on drugs’ have been giving sleepless nights to drug cartels.  “Another major blow for the drug cartels operating in Manipur from across the border. The Manipur Police have arrested two drug peddlers along with 40 soap cases of heroin powder. The State Govt’s effort under ‘War on drugs’ has been giving sleepless nights to the drug cartels,” CM Biren tweeted.

NAB Team Seizes Rs 50 Lakhs

A team of NAB on January 17 arrested a suspicious person carrying Rs 50,00,00 in cash allegedly in an authorised manner at Dharamsala, Thangal Bazar.

Reports said based on a tip-off, the NAB team rushed to the area and verified the suspected person near Dharamsala when the arrest was made. The detained person in possession of the amount of Rs 50,00,000 was identified as one Pankaj Bohra, 42, son of Satya Praksh Bohra from Majorkhul, MG Avenue. He was found carrying a huge amount in cash without proper information about the source of the huge sum of money.

As there are restrictions on carrying such an amount of money as per Model Code of Conduct of the ECI, the detained person along with the said amount has been handed to the deputy director of Income Tax (Investigation), Control Room-in-Charge, Imphal for further verification and necessary action, reports added.

Dr. Kh Ratankumar Appointed as Manipur Congress Working President

While many political observers and media speculated that Former Minister Dr. Khumujam Ratankumar would joined the Janata Dal (U) after submission of his resignation on January 16 from the post of Vice President of the Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC),  he has been appointed as Working President on January 17.

Ratankumar told the media at the Congress Bhawan in Imphal on January 17 that he had resigned as MPCC vice-president but not from the party.

Ratankumar further clarified about reports of him joining other political parties stating that he has been taking charges for various section of MPCC apart from VP, namely, chairman of research department, chairman of media committee, chairman of COVID-19 committee.

Inability to hold all the posts with the approaching of the election, the application for resignation from the post of vice president and others was submitted seeking to relief him from all the posts. But this does not mean he is resigning from the membership of the Congress party, he clarified.

Reports said not only this, various grievances that came up due to differences within party also made him think about resigning from the said post. However, all those misunderstandings have been settled after proper communication with senior leaders of the Congress party, he added while affirming that he will remain as a Congress member.

Trinamul MLA Robindro and Ex-Cong MLA Surchandra Join BJP

Technically All India Trinamul Congress MLA from Thanga Assembly Constituency Tongbram Robindro and former Congress MLA from Kakching Assembly Constituency Yengkhom Surchandra have joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on January 20.

The BJP wave in Manipur will not be affected after the announcement of the list of candidates though there are numerous party candidates in various assembly constituencies of the state, state party president Adhikarimayum Sharda said in the reception programme of Tongbram Robindro and Yengkhom Surchandra on January 20.

After witnessing that there are numerous intending candidates of BJP in various Assembly constituencies of the state, many political parties are predicting that the BJP will witness a downfall in their wave after announcement of its candidates.

Addressing the joining ceremony of Thanga MLA Th Robindro and former Kakching MLA Y Surchandra to BJP at its state head office in Imphal, Sharda said that every member of BJP has their democratic rights to contest the election. However, the decision to finalise the candidates will be done as per the decision of their higher authorities and state election committee she added.

“There might be some misunderstanding among the BJP after the announcement of candidates. But the matter will not affect the wave of BJP as it is a BJP’s family matter and its members are all well-disciplined,” said Sharda.

The reception function was also attended by Union minister of state for Social Justice and Empowerment Pratima Bhoumik, former MP and Manipur BJP president Ksh Bhabananda among others, reports added.

Demand for Rescheduling of Poll Date Forwarded to ECI

Concerning the demand for rescheduling of the polling date for Christian-dominated nine hill assembly constituencies, state chief electoral officer (CEO) Rajesh Agrawal on January 20 announced that the complaint has been forwarded to the Election Commission of India (ECI) for consideration.

“As the office of the chief electoral officer has no jurisdiction for changing the poll date, the demand was forwarded to the ECI,” he replied to a query raised by the media during a press conference held on January 20 at his office in Imphal West, reports added.

Following the announcement of election by the ECI on January 8, various groups of Christian community have been demanding for a re-arrangement of polling date for nine assembly constituencies dominated by Christian communities, stating that the date of polling falls on Sunday, which is against their religious sentiments.

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