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Manipur Pays Tribute to Khongjom War Martyrs; NE Students Protest Hindi Imposition; Manipur Civil Services Exam Probe Extended; Naga Ceasefire Extended; EEVAM Welcomes Case Non-Closure

Manipur paid fitting tribute to the martyrs who laid their lives in Khongjom War on April 23, 1891 defending the sovereignty of Manipur from the British.

Manipur Governor La Ganesan as Chief Guest of the state function held at Khongjom War Memorial Complex at Khongjom Kheba Ching led the dignitaries in paying tributes to the martyrs. Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren as President of the function also paid tribute to the martyrs of the Khongjom war. Speaker of Manipur Legislative Assembly Thokchom Satyabrata, Ministers, MLAs, other public leaders followed in paying tribute.

People from all walks of lives from far flung areas of Manipur joined in paying tribute to the martyrs.

Meanwhile, the proscribed CorCom has paid rich tribute to those who sacrificed their lives during the war against the British on April 23, 1891 (Khongjom War) and humbly acknowledged their contribution to defend Manipur’s sovereignty and freedom. CorCom is a conglomeration of armed groups – PREPARK, PREPAR(Pro), RPF and UNLF.

A release issued by CorCom said, April 23 reminds us all of the valour, courage and patriotic spirit of those who participated in the 1891, Anglo-Manipuri war. The brave but few soldiers of Manipur had to face the might of the strong British force in Khongjom War with a mission to defend the freedom and sovereignty.

The CorCom release cautioned that India is celebrating the 75th year of independence with its programme ‘azadi ka amrit mahotsav’. As part of the celebration, India is engaged in rewriting history by highlighting the ‘unsung heroes’ of Indian freedom movement. This is part of a programme steered by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as its agenda of ‘one nation, one people, one culture’ said CorCom.

To fulfil their agenda, India used Hindu mythology ‘Mahabharat’ to show that Kangleipak or Manipur was the same Manipur mentioned in the Mahabharat and many began blindly believing in the state sponsored perspective. This perspective gained momentum between 18th century and the first part if 20th century. However, history has to be based on the foundation of truth, the release said.

CorCom in the release reminded that Hindu historian RC Majumdar while delivering the Atombapu Memorial Lecture ‘Expansion of Aryan Culture in Eastern India’ in Imphal in 1966 had fully countered the view that the people of Manipur are the descendants of the Aryan race and that the Manipur of Mahabharat is not the Manipur we live in. This has proved beyond doubt that Manipur or Kangleipak is not a part of early Indian history but an entity that has its own unique history.

MCSCCE 2016 Row Investigation

Manipur High Court on April 22 granted the Central Bureau of investigation (CBI) a time of another six months to investigate the alleged irregularities during the Manipur Civil Services Combined Competitive Examination (MCSCCE), 2016 conducted by the Manipur Public Service Commission (MPSC).

After CBI had twice sought for extension of time for investigation, it again sought for further extension to complete the investigation.  The HC gave the CBI to complete the investigation and take appropriate action into the matter by October 31 without fail. The HC stated that the CBI should note that the prayer in the review petition was for six months from February 3, 2022, but the court is granting more time as a last opportunity for the CBI.

The High Court had quashed and set aside the examination in 2019, leaving it open to the MPSC to conduct an examination afresh. Further, the CBI was directed to investigate into the conduct of the examination by the MPSC within a period of three months in 2019 and thereafter, take appropriate action in accordance with law.

However, it appears that the CBI registered a case in RC.2A2020-IMP only on January 31, 2020 under Sections 420, 468, 471 r/w Section 120B IPC and Section 13(2) r/w Section 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

NE Students at DU Protest Against Hindi Imposition

North East Forum for International Solidarity (NEFIS) on April 17 held a protest at Arts Faculty, Delhi University against the imposition of Hindi on the non-Hindi speaking regions and communities.

Condemning Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement in the 37th meeting of the Parliamentary Official Language Committee regarding the imposition of Hindi compulsory till class 10 in the states of Northeast India, NEFIS in a release stated that the demonstration, which was organised along with other progressive organisations, was taken part by students from different communities and regions of Northeast India as well as other parts of India.

Stating that the step gives undue importance to Hindi vis-à-vis other languages recognised by the 8th schedule of the Constitution of India and other languages of non-Hindi speaking regions, the NEFIS statement alleged that the proposal seeks to impose Hindi as a national language, thereby exerting Hindi chauvinism over other communities especially marginalised communities.

FESOK Threatens to Ban Hindi

While condemning the recent decision of Government of India (GOI) to impose Hindi language in Northeastern states, including Manipur till class 10 as compulsory subject, the Federal Students’ Organisation, Kangleipak (FESOK) has warned to take up various movements if the said decision is forcefully imposed in the state.

Reports quoting FESOK president Ningthoujam Romesh as having said during a press conference held on April 20 at FESOK’s office, Naorem Leikai Girls Primary School, Kakwa said that there are as many as 7,000 languages in the world. Out of these, just around 100 languages have their script and Manipuri language is one of them. Instead of announcing policies and programme to promote this language, resolving to impose Hindi language in Manipur as well is very unfortunate.

He further said that in India around 56 per cent of the states don’t speak Hindi as their mother language. However, the government of India excluded other non-Hindi speaking states in their recent decision except Northeast states. In this regard many other states of Northeast had already declared their stand but sadly, government of Manipur still remain mum, he lamented.

FESOK President further said that they would ban anything related to Hindi language in the state if it is imposed as a compulsory subject till class 10, reports added.

EEVFAM Welcomes Rejection of CBI Closure Report

The Extrajudicial Execution Victim Families’ Association, Manipur (EEVFAM) on April 17 welcomed the order of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Thoubal directing the SIT/CBI to conduct further investigation, for the second time, on the extrajudicial killing of (Late) Ningthoujam Thopchao of Nongpok Sekmai on February 1, 2007 by personnel of 172 Bn BSF.

The Chief Judicial Magistrate Thoubal has rejected the closure report of SIT/CBI and directed the SIT of CBI for further investigation of the case on April 7 in connection with the death of Ningthoujam Thopchao.

The court ruled for further investigation into the case concerning the incident of February 1, 2007, during which a civilian, Ningthoujam Thopchao was allegedly killed in a crossfire between personnel of 172 battalion BSF posted at the then Nongpok Sekmai primary health centre and unknown miscreants.

The final and closure report submitted to the CJM Thoubal was returned back to the CBI for further investigation. “The investigation has not been done properly and completely,” stated the court order.

The court issued directives for further investigation to extract and collect further information and materials.

It may be noted the killing of Thopchao is one of the 39 incidents being investigated by the CBI, of the 1,528 cases being submitted to the Supreme Court by the EEFVAM and HRA.

AMSU Calls for Unity on 42nd Realisation Day

All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU) called for unity among different indigenous groups settling in Manipur to safeguard themselves from the influx of outsiders, during the observance of 42nd ‘Meekap Thokpa Numit’ (Realisation Day) in Imphal on April 17.

AMSU observed April 17 every year as Realisation Day remembering two student martyrs, Potshangbam Premananda and Huidrom Lokendro, who sacrificed their lives on this day in 1980 during Anti-Immigrant Movement popularly known as “Go-Back Foreigner”.

The hoisting of the AMSU flag at Maheiroisinggi Ningshing Khubham, Students’ Memorial Complex at Pishum Chingamacha hillock in Imphal West marked the opening ceremony of the Realisation Day, followed by paying of homage to the two student martyrs, reports said.

The present Inner Line Permit (ILP) system enforced in Manipur is just a permit that exists in name only and it does not function in a full-fledged manner, said president of AMSU Haobijam Chalamba while speaking to the media on the sidelines of the function.

Considering the present scenario of Manipur, it is high time for all to act together to protect the indigenous population of Manipur and save the future of the indigenous people from becoming a minority in their own motherland, he said.

Speculating that the expansion of railways into Manipur will cause a sudden increase in the numbers of outsiders arriving in the state, he said that it is also the need of the hour to take up specific measures to prevent the large influx of outsiders in the state before it happens, reports added.

La Ganesan says  ‘Will Urge Centre to Withdraw AFSPA From Entire Manipur’

Manipur Governor La Ganesan on April 19 expressed hopes for complete removal of AFSPA from the entire state of Manipur, observing that “some issues are local in nature while some lie solely with the Centre.”

Reports said La Ganesan was addressing the people of Chingai area at Nungpi Khullen playground during his maiden visit to Ukhrul district on April 19.  He said that AFSPA Act 1958 has been revoked in certain areas where situations are peaceful while it remains active in some areas. “I wish that the Act is done away with,” he added.

RK Ranjan Calls for Action Not Words

Union Minister of State for Education and External Affairs RK Ranjan has advised government officials to properly execute and materialise central sponsored projects instead of simply glamorising them on paper only.

Reports said RK Ranjan was speaking during a meeting of District Development Coordination and Monitoring Committee (DISHA) where Kshetrigao Assembly Constituency MLA, Sheikh Noorul Hassan; Lamlai AC MLA, Kh. Ibomcha; Imphal East DC, Khumanthem Diana; Imphal East Adhakshya, P Bimola among others attended on April 19 at Panchayat Bhawan, Porompat in Imphal East district.

Speaking on the occasion, the Union Minister of State exhorted the State officials to put maximum efforts to fully implement the central sponsored schemes and projects. He expressed desire for the officials to fully commit towards achieving the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Ranjan further told authorities concerned to provide smart class facilities in all the schools and instructed all concerned, including local MLAs to inspect whether mid-day meal is being provided to the beneficiary students with adequate nutritious value, reports added.

Court Dismisses Sedition Charge

The Judicial Magistrate First Class, Imphal West-II (duty magistrate) has stated that prima facie evidence is found lacking in the act of slapping sedition law against an advocate for allegedly abusing ‘mainland Indians’ and using derogatory language against Union Home Minister Amit Shah during a discussion hour of a local TV channel.

In a recently released bail order of advocate Sanoujam Shyamacharan aka Shanou, the duty magistrate stated that the words and the language used by the advocate does not make out a case of imposition of such serious allegation against him which entails that he be sent to police custody.

Although the court found that the use of some words were avoidable and were in bad taste, it cannot by any stretch of imagination be termed prima facie seditious, the court order stated.

“Freedom of speech and expression is one of the most sacred fundamental rights enshrined in our constitution. Everyone is entitled to express their voices and opinion on issues that they feel strongly whether it be favourable or against the government,” it stated

As per the complaint filed by the president of BJP Yuva Morcha, Manipur M Barish to the Imphal police station, the lawyer during the discussion hour held on April 9 not only abused the “mainland Indians” but also used “foul and derogatory” language against the Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

After watching the clip and hearing the submissions of both the counsels, the court asked the prosecution to produce or point out other content or sections of the videos, if any, which they found more foul, derogatory or offensive. But the prosecution stated that the main content on which the offences were alleged and the FIR was registered was based on the video that was played.

The court determined the remand prayer and the bail application based entirely on the 4-minute video that was produced and played in front of the accused.

After hearing the clip and the submissions of both counsels, the court opined that the statements made by the accused person was made to highlight his opinion of the undesirability of making Hindi compulsory in school. It was made during a talk show where there are conflicting views on the topic amongst the participants, the court observed.

“The statements of the accused person were prima facie not offensive or derogatory or foul to such extent to send the accused person into custody. The accused person having participated in the talk show seemed to have passionately made his point by using the said statements which is now the crux of the FIR being launched against him,” stated the court order.

Naga Ceasefire Agreements Extended

Ceasefire agreements between Government of India (GOI) and National Socialist Council of Nagaland/NK (NSCN/NK), National Socialist Council of Nagaland/ Reformation (NSCN/R) and National Socialist Council of Nagaland/K-Khango (NSCN/K-Khango), has been extended for another one year, the Union Home Ministry said in a statement.

The ceasefire agreements extension will be effective April 28, 2022 to April 27, 2023.
“It was decided to extend the Ceasefire Agreements for a further period of one year with effect from 28th April, 2022 to 27th April, 2023 with NSCN/NK and NSCN/R and from 18th April, 2022 to 17thApril, 2023 with NSCN/K-Khango. These Agreements were signed on 19th April, 2022,” the Union Ministry’s statement added.

Cadaver Donation

Prominent Imas (women leaders) and leaders of various civil bodies of Manipur on April 20 pledged to donate their bodies after their demise to Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Imphal.

A programme was held at the institute’s administrative block on April 20 to formally handover the documents to the donors by RIMS Director Professor A Santa in the presence of medical superintendent Professor Sanjib Nepram, Head of Anatomy Department Professor RK Ajita and officials of the institute, stated a release.

The donors are president of Nongpok Leingak Apunba Nupi Lup, Yumlembam Ongbi Memma Leima; General Secretary of Nongpok Leingak Apunba Nupi Lup, Nongthombam Ongbi Radhamani Leima; Ex-VP, All Manipur Progressive Farmers Association, Haobam Ongbi Premabati Leima; Social Activists, Haobam Ibotombi and Lourembam Chanu Somola; President of Manipur Peace and Integrity Council (MAPI Council), Chungkham Romeo and President of United People’s Front (UPF), Nongthombam Rupachandra, the release added.

The release further stated that as told by 85-year-old Ima Memma, she decided to offer her body after demise to the institute for the benefit of the people as she could not complete her wish for the betterment of the society so far.

RIMS Director Professor Santa appreciated the donors for their act of bravery and dedication. The institute gratefully acknowledged the sense of commitment to the cause of Medical Education and saluted their brave and dedicated involvement in the field; the release stated and extended good wishes for them to be blessed with good health, long life and happiness.

AISEC Demands Scrapping NEP 2020

Opposing the National Education Policy 2020, All India Save Education Committee (AISEC) is all set to carry out a protest at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi on May 9 under the theme “Scrap NEP 2020, Save Education”.

Reports said, during a press conference at Manipur Press Club on April 21, Secretary Member of AISEC Prof Pradeep Mahapatra said that ever since the independence of India, no government has formulated any educational policy which is feasible and apt to society. Informing that three education policies have been formulated so far, first in 1968, second in 1986 and last in 2020, the Professor stated that all these policies are not pro-people oriented but rather a mechanism to make the educational sector more commercial.

Prof. Pradeep further said that the recent NEP 2020 is similar to the Draft National Education Policy 1986 and it would only bring disaster in the education sector and lower the teaching learning process. Whatever plans and programmes mentioned in the policies would be impracticable as most of the government institutions are in a pathetic situation and some of the government institutions are almost on the verge of closure, he said.

He said that though the government had termed the policy as ‘National Educational Policy’, they hardly consulted the teachers, students and parents’ community except Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal, organisations backed by BJP. “The main target of the policy is to saffronise the country and not to bring a quality laden education system,” he charged while appealing to people of the state, nation to understand the core of NEP 2020 and save the education system. He also urged the people of the state to take part in the protest to be held at Jantar Mantar against NEP 2020 on May 9 to make the agitation a grand success, reports added.

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