Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

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Manipur Police turns 130 years since founding. Picture courtesy Manipur Police official website.

Manipur Police Celebrates 130th Anniversary; CM Flays Communal Campaigns; Hou Chongba Celebrates Ethnic Fraternity; No Faith in Indian Politics Says Meghen

In an eventful week, Mt. Harriet at Andaman Island has been renamed Mt. Manipur in honour of Manipur Maharaja Kulachandra and others imprisoned there in 1891; Mera Hou Chongba was celebrated with gaiety as in each year; Manipur Police turns 130 years since founding and more unfolded. The following are a gist of these events as culled from local dailies.

Go to Hill 2
Chief Minister at Konsakhul as part of his government’s Go To Hill-2 campaign

Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren October 22 said that the state government would not tolerate any act of suppression by one community over another, which would hinder the overall development of the state. He was speaking at the second Go to Hills 2.0 programme organised at Konshakhul of Kangpokpi district by the district administration, Kangpokpi.

Chief Minister Biren continued that inclusive development would only be possible only when different communities residing in the state have respect for one another and grow together. Asserting that the government had always aimed for equal development of all communities, he maintained that certain welfare programmes, including Go to Hills, Go to Village, Ayushman Bharat, CMHT and Health for All among others had been taken up so that people could avail the benefits easily. He assured that a white paper on various development works taken up in the hill districts would be brought out soon.

Regarding the construction of Hill Tribal Chiefs’ Guest House at Palace Compound, Imphal, he said that the government had procured the required land amounting to Rs 10 crore. The seven storey building is under construction and will be completed within five to six months, he added. He also mentioned that the Inter Village Road (IVR) connecting Khunkhu to Langka (around 27 kms) would be constructed under PMGSY with a budget of Rs 12.15 crore.

He also announced that Rs 83 lakh has been allocated for the development of the football ground at Konshakhul as desired by the villagers of the area. The site for the construction for Rural Market Shed at Makhan village has also been identified and a sum of Rs 25 lakh has been sanctioned, reports added.

NFSA, PMGKAY Meet at Tokpaching
Press confrence foiled by police

A press conference held against non-distribution of rice since April 2021 under National Food Security Act (NFSA) 2013 and Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) was foiled by Arong Nongmaikhong police on October 22.

Reports said a police team led by OC Th Damu dispersed the people attending the press meet which was held at the residence of former up-pradhan Salam Ibobi located at Tokpaching, Laimang Chandonpokpi Leikai, on the pretext of not maintaining proper COVID-19 protocol.

Villagers of Tokpaching, Laimang Chandonpokpi Leikai (ward no 9/1) and Heidroipokpi Leikai of Arong Nongmaikhong Gram Panchayat (ward no 9/2) of Kakching district were interacting with a team of media on the issue of not giving PDS rice under PMGKAY and NFSA since April 2021. The villagers put their demand for a full amount of 5kg of rice per person per month. However, during the press conference, the police team rushed to the spot and halted the press conference which resulted in scuffle between the villagers and the police team.

OC Th Damu told the media persons that gathering is not allowed due to COVID-19 pandemic and the villagers have not taken permission from the concerned DC.

On the other hand, the villagers expressed their discontentment saying that people’s rights are violated most of the time by the authorities concerned, either by police or other means of force, reports added.

AMSU stages protest
AMSU protest

The All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU) staged a protest rally on October 22 from its headquarters at DM University Campus condemning the authority concerned for failing in disbursal of scholarship for economically backward students.

Reports said the AMSU General Secretary Thongam Bikramjit addressing the media persons at the sidelines of the protest, said the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has been providing scholarship to Other Backward Class (OBC), Economically Backward Class (EBC), Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) students through the Department of MOBC and SC, Government of Manipur. However, the student community of these sections of society did not receive the amount on time.

The students have not received their scholarships for three consecutive sessions of 2018-2019, 2019-2020 and 2020-2021. AMSU has urged to release the scholarship at the earliest but the state government has failed to do so till date, he added.

Night Curfew Extended till November 21

The Manipur government has announced that the night curfew from 8.30 pm to 4 am imposed till October 21 has been extended till November 21.

An order issued by the chief secretary and chairperson of the state Executive Committee Rajesh Kumar stated that the October 4 order listing out the activities that are permitted, Standard Operating Procedures to be followed and restrictions imposed has been extended and will be in force till November 21.

Social gathering is allowed subject to the organiser or the host ensuring that Covid appropriate behaviours and are followed by all present in the venue. The gathering should preferably be in open halls and spaces. In case, it is held in enclosed spaces or venue, the number of people inside should not be more than 50 per cent capacity of the hall/space.

Religious places may also open subject to the concerned authorities of the religious establishments ensuring that Covid appropriate behaviours are followed by all devotees present in the temple/churches/mosque.  If religious gatherings are organised in enclosed hall/space, it should be ensured that the number of persons do not exceed 50 per cent.

All secretariat departments and Manipur Government offices and offices of the Government of India to start functioning normally with e-office and physical attendance of all employees by taking adequate precautions, the order said.

Local vegetable vendors are allowed from 7am to 4pm while local grocery stores are allowed from 7am to 5pm.

Wholesale shops of grocery and food essentials located in Thangal bazaar and Masjid road are allowed to open from 7am to 5pm. In addition, restored opening of shops from 8am to 5pm in Thangal and Paona bazaars except shops in gullies/by-lines.

Restaurants and cafes are allowed to open from 10 am to 8pm subject to following strict safety guidelines. The three IMA markets and temporary market in Paona/Thangal are allowed to open based on certain procedures issued by the authorities.

Market places in other districts are also allowed to open with 50 per cent capacity with the concerned district administration ensuring adequate physical distance.

Public transport buses are allowed to ply with passengers not exceeding 50 per cent of the bus. All passengers, driver and helper should wear masks.

Mera Houchongba celebrate

Mera Houchongba, the festival of oneness and brotherhood among people of different ethnic communities of Manipur was celebrated at Lainingthou Sanamahi Temple, Haying Khongban on October 20 with Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren as chief guest and Rajya Sabha MP Sanajaoba Leishemba as functional president. The celebration was jointly organised by Lainingthou Sanamahi Temple Board and Uttra Shanglen Sana Konung (Royal Palace).

Reports said the programme began with ritual functions in the morning such as Mera Men Tongba, Thaomei Thanba, Yenkhong Tamba and Pot Lannaba (exchange of gifts) between hill and valley people that symbolises long lasting brotherhood.

The ritual function was conducted at Sana Konung, Kangla and the formal function was held at Lainingthou Sanamahi Temple where various cultural programmes were showcased.

During the occasion, the chief minister said that the restoration of good relations between hill and valley has been a main priority of the BJP-led government as this aged old relation cannot be broken by any forces.

He also accused a few politicians who purposely tried to disintegrate the unity of the state for their personal interest.

It may be mentioned that Mera Houchongba, the centuries old festival of Manipur, reminds the strong bonding of brotherhood between the hill and valley people of Manipur. It has been observed on the 15th day of Mera (October in Meitei calendar) since time immemorial. The day was declared a state holiday by the then governor ON Shrivastava.

Manipur police celebrate 130 years of service

The 130th raising day of Manipur police was held at the Parade Ground of 1st Battalion Manipur Rifles on Tuesday with Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren as chief guest of the celebration. Cabinet ministers, MLAs, DGP and other top police officials also attended the function.

During the function, the chief minister appreciated Manipur Police for their immense contribution in restoring peace and tranquility in the state and putting their relentless efforts to control drug menace under ‘War on Drugs’ mission initiated by the state government, reports said.

Biren said that police service is quite challenging by serving the state day and night without any fear. The law and order of the state has improved tremendously in the last four and half years and reaching this stage of peaceful atmosphere has not been an easy process.

The sacrifices made by police personnel during COVID-19 pandemic are also highly commendable, he added.

Stating about drug menace in the state, he said that Manipur police is putting their maximum efforts to eradicate the issue of drugs in the state. The department never compromised on the drug issue and action was taken up even against the cops who were involved in any drug case, reports added.

“I do not support Brinda’s decision to enter politics” says RK Meghen
Former UNLF chairman R.K. Meghen offering floral tribute to legendary Manipuri singer, N, Pahari

Former UNLF chairman RK Meghen offers floral tribute to singer Nongmaithem Pahari

The 15th death anniversary of noted Manipuri singer Nongmaithem Pahari was observed at Lamyanba Shanglen, Konung Mamang in a function organised by Nongmaithem Pahari Memorial Trust on October 18. Floral tributes were paid to the late singer Nongmaithem Pahari by prominent singers, artistes, civil groups and leaders during the observation.

Nongmaithem Chittaranjan Singh, popularly known as Nongmaithem Pahari was born on August 28, 1934 and passed away on October 18, 2006. He was one of the founding members and Central Committee member of the proscribed United National Liberation Front (UNLF).

Speaking on the sidelines of the occasion, former UNLF chairman RK Meghen who took part in the observation said that he does not support his daughter-in-law’s decision to contest the upcoming state assembly election, reports said.

“I do not support Brinda’s decision to enter politics. It is her own choice,” said Meghen to the media. “I had never been a part of Indian politics and will never be. I believe that their politics is a failed system in a democratic country,” he expressed.

He said, “There is a difference between their politics and ours. The contradictory system of politics and multi-party democracy have led to conflicts between communities. In a constitutional structure of democracy, there are various compartments that divide communities.” Such compartmentalisation causes the communities to struggle for getting reservations and benefits, he added.

The unity and the sense of togetherness among communities which used to exist from ancestral times are falling apart, he said. “In these prevailing conditions, I fear for the future generations that the communities may cease to exist anymore if it gets too late.”

Mount Harriet to be called Mount Manipur

Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on October 17 led a candlelight celebration and expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah for renaming Mt Harriet to Mt Manipur in honour of the great freedom fighters of Manipur.

“On behalf of the State Government and the people of Manipur, I convey our heartiest gratitude to Hon’ble PM Shri @narendramodi Ji & Hon’ble Home Minister Shri @AmitShah Ji for honoring our great freedom fighters by renaming Mt. Harriet to Mt. Manipur,” Biren captioned a picture of the candlelight celebration he posted on social media.

The candle lighting celebration was held across the state in appreciation and gratitude to the Central leadership at 6 pm on October 17.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on October 16 announced that Mount Harriet at Kalapani, Andaman and Nicobar Island where prisoners were kept in the past will be renamed as Mount Manipur.

Amit Shah made the announcement while addressing a public gathering at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Island at Andaman and Nicobar Island.

The Home Minister said Manipur’s Maharaj Kulachandra Dhwaj Singh and 22 others were imprisoned at Mount Harriet. The decision to rename the mountain has been taken in their honour, he added.

Amit Shah also said the Centre will assist Manipur in establishing the memorial site at Andaman and Nicobar Island.

The process for signing the lease agreement between the Art and Culture department of Andaman and Nicobar and the department of Art and Culture Manipur is under process, but it was slowed down due to the pandemic, the home minister said.

Reacting to the announcement, Manipur Chief Minister Biren Singh tweeted: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah have kindly given the most befitting recognition to Manipur’s contribution to the freedom struggle, sealing us a connection with national history.”

Thounaojam Brinda’s poll rally foiled by Police

Imphal West police foiled the attempt to take out a bike rally from Yaiskul Janmasthan by supporters of Thounaojam Brinda, who announced her candidacy in Yaiskul Assembly Constituency for the 12th State Legislative Assembly election on October 17 on the charge that the organizer did not obtain permit from the Deputy Commissioner concerned.

As anticipated within many in the State, MPS officer Thounaojam Brinda formally threw her hat into the electoral ring at Yaiskul Assembly Constituency on October 17.

The police officer is expected to submit her resignation letter to the State Government soon.

Addressing a gathering organised by her supporters at her residence at Yaiskul Janmasthan, Thounaojam Brinda made the formally declaration that she will be contesting in the coming Assembly election from Yaiskul Assembly Constituency.

Prior to the formal announcement, Brinda along with her supporters tried to take out a motor cycle rally from Wangkhei Meihoubam Lampak to Hicham Yaichampat at Yaiskul.

However Imphal East police swung into action and stopped the planned rally on the ground that it violates Covid protocol and the rally would pose a hindrance to the movement of VVIPs along the said route.

With the rally stopped, a public meeting was held at the residence of Brinda at Yaiskul Janmasthan where she announced her decision to stand for the Assembly election.

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