Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

Manipur women football team celebrating their golden performance in the NE Olympics

Manipur Champions Again in NE Olympic Games; Homecoming Ceremony of 31 Militants Held; Manipur to Host Finale of 59th Femina Miss India; Sangai Festival Curtain Raiser; State Bans Controversial Book; Cubeten Technologies to Track ILP Holders; ATSUM Opposes ST Demand

UGs surrender to government

As many as 31 cadres including female cadres of different insurgent groups of Manipur laid down their arms before Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on November 16 at a ‘Homecoming Ceremony’ held at the Banquet Hall of 1st Battalion of Manipur Rifles in Imphal.

Reports said the 31 cadres of different insurgent groups who laid down arms were 17 from KCP (PWG) including four females, seven from PREPAK, four from UNLF and three from KYKL. They surrendered 15 arms, including one M-16 Rifle, one M-4 carbine, one Lethod gun, one Single Barrel Rifle, 11 Pistols and one 12 mm bore pistol along with five cartridges, three lathod shells, one IED and three live rounds.

Addressing the “Homecoming Ceremony”, Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren said that this is the trust or faith towards the centre and state government that more and more militant outfits are coming back to the mainstream. He hoped that they would join work to build a progressive Manipur and leave a better future for the generations to come. He recalled the words of union home minister Amit Shah and said, “No FIR will be registered and not a single bullet will be fired when militant outfits are surrendering”.

Since 2017, the mission-oriented organization has worked to bring peace and tranquillity in the state. Now, while compared with twenty or thirty years back, the atmosphere of Manipur’s unrest has totally changed, it is becoming calm, Chief Minister Biren said.

Director General of Police, P Doungel confirmed that so far 788 cadres from different outfits have joined the mainstream through various rehabilitation schemes, reports added.

Curtain Raiser for Sangai Festival

Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on November 15 called for peaceful celebration as Manipur’s Sangai Festival 2022 curtain raiser was held at Kangla Western Gate in Imphal and at Mao Gate in Manipur’s Senapati district. The Sangai Festival 2022 is being organised after a gap of two years under the theme “Festival of Oneness” at 13 venues across the state from November 21 to 30.

Chief Minister Biren along with Rajya Sabha MP Leishemba Sanajaoba, Ministers and MLAs released colourful balloons to mark the curtain raiser event from Kangla Western Gate. Biren also flagged off the Sangai Run from Kangla gate, which concluded at Indoor Stadium after passing through Lamlong Bazar, Kongba Bazar, Pishumthong, Keishampat, etc.

Saying that the festival is not confined in the city but will be spread across the state for public involvement, Chief Minister Biren appealed to the people of Manipur to prevent causing any hindrance during the festival and maintain discipline towards tourists.

This year, the main venue will be at Sangai Ethnic Park at Moirang Khunou where people can start visiting the park, the Chief Minister said. The other venues included the Heritage site of Makhel at Senapati district, Maharaja Chandrakirty Park at Behiang and Geljhang of Churachandpur district among other places where the festival will be held.

At Mao Gate, Health and IPR Minister Dr Sapam Ranjan who attended the event as chief guest, flagged off the Sangai Marathon Run from Martyrs Park NH-39 to Cherry Blossom Festival venue and unveiled the monolith of Raku Kokubu (Base Camp), reports added.

State Bans Controversial Book

The Manipur Government on November 14 declared the book entitled “The Complexity Called MANIPUR: Roots, Perceptions and Reality” authored by Brig. Sushil Kumar Sharma and published by Viva Books Private Ltd as ‘forfeited’, considering the book as “grossly misleading and scandalous”.

An order issued by the State’s Principal Secretary (Home) said, in the book, the author stated under the heading “Merger of Manipur with the Indian Union” that “The total area which the Manipur merger agreement covered was his territory of 700 square miles or 26,500 Paris/hectares. Not even a single inch of hill areas was covered under this agreement”.

The history relating to “Manipur Merger Agreement” is a very sensitive and emotional subject for the native people of the state, the order said, adding that the information may even amount to breach of peace and public tranquillity and maintenance of harmony between various communities residing in the state thereby impacting the national security and national integrity.

Further, the order explained that the information published in the book is contrary to the Gazette published in the year 1950 by the ministry of States (now ministry of Home Affairs), with the title “White Paper on Indian States”.

The said publication of the ministry specifically reproduces the “Manipur Merger Agreement” at page No. 232 viz. Appendix XXXI and the said ministry publication further records at page No. 295 thereof, that during the time of merger vide Merger Agreement dated October 15, 1949, Manipur had 8,620 sq. miles of area and a total population of 5,12,000, the order added.

Stating that further circulation of the said book containing grossly misleading, factually incorrect information and scandalous statement in connection with Merger of Manipur will create misunderstanding and communal tension between the communities residing in the valley areas and hill areas of the state which may escalate into violence which will affect public tranquillity and maintenance of harmony between various communities residing in the state and may impact the integrity of India, the order had declared the book forfeited.

A Man Arrested in Bribery Case

A man accused of demanding and receiving bribe money from applicants submitting forms for several posts in the Manipur Police department has been arrested.

Reports said a team of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption, Manipur arrested the accused person, namely Laishram Raghumani, 57, son of (Late) Laishram Kali of Nambol Bazar, PO and PS, Nambol in Bishnupur district who is presently serving as a UDC at Imphal West Employment Exchange, Lamphelpat.

The accused was arrested in connection with case FIR No. 14(11)2022 V&AC PS u/s 7 of PC Act, 1988 registered at Vigilance & Anti-Corruption Police Station, Manipur. The case was initiated based on a complaint report from the Public Grievance Redressal and Anti-Corruption Cell, the Chief Minister’s Secretariat, Imphal, Manipur.

The complaint was referred to the Superintendent of Police, Vigilance and Anti-Corruption, Manipur, who, after thorough enquiry into the complaint, registered the case on November 15 and the accused person was arrested.

Cubeten Technologies to Track ILP Holders

Manipur government on November 14 instructed Cubeten Technologies, Imphal to set up a call centre to facilitate both monitoring and tracking of Inner Line Permit (ILP) holders through the mobile numbers provided by the applicants or sponsors and also as a helpline for the ILP portal.

The call centre will be responsible for tracking of defaulters and checking their whereabouts, said an order issued by the Deputy Secretary (Home) while stating that the call centre should report to the head of State Monitoring Cell.

The costs to be reimbursed to Cubeten Technologies will be finalised and recommended by Directorate of IT in continuation of their contract with vendor for the ILP portal.

Meanwhile, another order issued by the Deputy Secretary (Home) said ILP counters at three railway stations (Vangaichungpao, Rani Gaidinliu and Thingou) are opened. The order also authorised the OC of Tousem Police Station for issuing ILP at Vangaichungpao and Rani Gaidinliu Railway Station and the OC of Khongsang Police Station for issuing ILP at Thingou and Khonsang Railway Station.

ATSUM Apprises Tribal Leaders on ST Demand

While the Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee, Manipur (STDCM) has intensified its agitation by visiting the residennces of the elected leaders demanding inclusion of Meitei in the list of Scheduled Tribes under the Constitution of India, the volunteers of ATSUM led by President Paotinthang Lupheng and General Secretary Sinruwng Andria on November 15 knocked on the doors of Tribal leaders in the present Manipur Assembly, including Outer Manipur Parliamentary Constituency MP, Lorho S Pfoze, where they submitted a memorandum in regards to the ST demand made by the STDCM, which is not acceptable to them.

Reports said the team first went to the official residence of the Minister of Animals husbandry & Agriculture and Transport, Khasim Vashum and appealed to him to oppose the ST demand by the STDCM. They also asked for his help so that it will not be recommended by the government of Manipur upon which the minister promised to study the memorandum while stating that there is need to respect and accommodate the interest of others in the state.

The ATSUM team met Lok Sabha MP Dr. Lorho Pfoze at his residence and asked him to help them where the MP expressed his solidarity with them on their genuine fear/apprehension while telling them that everyone has the right to demand where the government should know how to balance things so that the interests of one doesn’t overstep with the right and privilege of others.

After being apprised and presented with the memorandum, HAC Chairman Dipu Gangmei said that there is no need to panic due to the demand made by certain communities for inclusion as ST saying that in a democracy everyone has the right to demand. The most important thing is its genuineness and there are competent authorities like the National ST Commission, the Union Government and State Government who will study and act upon it, he said.

One among many others, ATSUM said that the 31 per cent seat reserved for the ST will be meaningless if the more advance and majority Meitei community are included as ST as it will mean no quota for the tribals. The tribal student body also refuted that there is nothing tribal about the Meitei community in their living, custom, culture, dialect, economic status in support of their claim. Even in the Infrastructure development index of Manipur, the Meitei stands way ahead from the tribals of Manipur, they stated.

Manipur Government to Set Up Multi-Model Logistic Hub

Manipur Works Minister Govindas Konthoujam on November 13 informed that the state government has decided to set up a multi-model logistic hub to improve trade and commerce in the state.

Minister Govindas addressing the foundation day celebration of Institute of Development Studies (IDS) on November 13 at the Conference Hall of Assembly Guest House, Majorkhul Imphal West, said that considering the geographical location of Manipur, the state can generate income through trade and commerce. Therefore, the state government has decided to set up a multi-model logistic hub. Moreover, the state has also started identifying places that can be developed as trade hubs, the minister added.

President of the function, Chairman of IDS, Prof Nandeibam Mohendro said that lack of institutional parenting and professional disciplines are main reasons slowing down the process of development. He explained that the state government had set up many institutions with the mission to bring development. But the government didn’t take proper responsibility to look after its functioning from time to time, he added.

CBIC Team Inspects ICP Moreh

A team of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) led by Sanjay Kumar Agarwal, member Compliance Management, visited ICP Moreh and held meeting with stakeholders. SP Custom Preventive force SK Gangte, SP LCS Moreh and Manager of the Integrated Check Post (ICP) Moreh T Baite attended the meeting.

In the meeting, the ICP staff highlighted the concept, functions and roles of ICP in regards to India-Myanmar trade. Various issues and impact on border trade due to the current political impasse in Myanmar and the recent cancellation of FMR were discussed in the meeting, reports said.

Later, the team also visited India-Myanmar border gate number one and two, and took stock of the situation. The visiting CBIC team includes Harish, commissioner (Investigation) Delhi Customs; Abhitasha Mahapatra, commissioner customs; Thomas Basumatary, joint commissioner customs, GP Gangmei, additional director, DRI, and Keerthisri S, commissioner Custom Division, Imphal, reports added.

Manipur to Host Finale of 59th Femina Miss India

Following an agreement between the Ministry of Tourism of the State and the Times Group, Manipur is going to host the finale of the 59th edition of the popular Femina Miss India beauty pageant contest in Imphal.

Reports said Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren and the Times of India Managing Director, Vineet Jain, signed an agreement on November 17 at the CMSecretariat to hold the event in April of 2023.

The State Ministry of Tourism and the Times Group announced that the 59th edition of Femina Miss India would be held in the Northeastern State of Manipur in April, 2023. Both parties signed an agreement to officiate the partnership and exchanged the agreement in the presence of the Chief Minister, Nongthombam Biren and Vineet Jain, Managing Director, The Times of India.

Speaking on the partnership, CM Biren said that they “are delighted to partner with the prestigious Miss India Organisation to host the grand finale here in Imphal, Manipur”. “The main motive behind the partnership is to celebrate the diverse and inclusive Indian culture while fostering the competitive spirit of the talented participants. We want to inspire and empower the local youth by welcoming the best of India’s talent to our home soil as well as showcase Manipur’s rich culture and heritage we are so proud of”, the Chief Minister said.

The Times of India Chief Executive Officer, Raje Prem Kumar said, “We are excited to bring our iconic event to the People of Manipur, and we will pull out all stops to make it an inspiring and entertaining event the city has seen”, reports added.

Over the last six decades, Femina Miss India has reached audiences in different cities across the country, and the Finale of the 59th edition in Imphal will be something to remember for a long time. Miss India has transformed the lives of many Indian women, giving them empowerment, employability, opportunity and a strong voice in the community. The state of Manipur also believes in empowering its women to be equal partners in development and hence this partnership is a natural culmination of ideologies and vision, Prem Kumar added.

Militant Involved in Behiang Ambush Sent to Jail

Cadre of the Manipur Naga Peoples’ Front (MNPF) who was arrested on November 5 from Yaingangpokpi junction in Imphal East by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with an ambush on the convoy of an Assam Rifles officer in Manipur in 2021 was sent to jail on November 15.

The Special Judge (NIA), Manipur remanded him in 15-day judicial custody till November 29 after finding sufficient prima facie materials to show that the accused was involved in the 2021 ambush on Assam Rifles convoy, reports said.

Before the court, the public prosecutor of NIA submitted that in compliance to the order of the Union Home Affairs Ministry on November 26, 2021, the NIA, New Delhi re-registered the ambush case under section 121/121A/302/307/326 and 34IPC, section 10 and 20 UP (P) Act, section 25(1-C) Arms Act and section 5 of the Explosive Substances Act.

A team of security forces, including the Manipur Police, NIA team and four Assam Rifles personnel arrested Machukring Zamshim Shimray alias Ningkham of New Cannon village in Ukhrul district, a wanted cadre of the Manipur Naga People’s Front (MNPF), and was produced before the Special Judge (NIA), Manipur on November 16. The arrested accused was taken into custody on November 5, 2022 by the NIA and was in NIA custody till November 6.

It may be mentioned on November 13, 2021, the commanding officer of 46 Assam Rifles, Vivplap Tripathi, and his family, along with four Assam Rifles jawans, were killed after the convoy carrying the officer came under heavy attack by militants at Behiang in Churachandpur district of Manipur.

1.884 Kg of Brown Sugar Seized in Churachandpur

A team of Singhat Police Station led by its OC inspector Thangpu Tonsing, SI Chinzasiam, and ASI Hauliankhup of Singngat Police Station seized as many as 165 soap boxes containing 1.884 kg of brown sugar on November 17.

Acting on the report received from engaged sources as well as statements of arrested accused persons, the police team conducted a search operation in and around the route of the absconding co-accused suspects, in continuation of the investigation of FIR No. 23(11), 2022 SGT-PS u/s 21(c) ND&PS where seizure of 3.564 Kgs of suspected brown sugar was earlier made, reports said.

The search operation led to the recovery of one gunny bag, hidden among the bushes of the forest in the Lancha village area. Upon inspection, the gunny bag was found to contain 15 boxes and each box contained 11 soap cases of suspected brown sugar, totaling 165 soap Boxes, which upon weighing, the seized contraband item was found to be 1.884 Kg.

The total seizure in connection with the referred case is 5.448 kg. Further investigation is on to arrest of all the involved persons in this regard, reports added.

Manipur Women Champions Again in 2nd NE Olympic Games

What many described as the sporting power house, Manipur clinched the top position in the Second Northeast Olympic Games for the second consecutive time with 237 medals, including 85 gold, as the second edition of the regional multi-sportic event concluded at Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya on November 16.

Manipur also won 76 silver and 77 bronze while Assam was a close Runner-Up with 201 medals (81 gold, 60 silver and 60 bronze) in the event competed among the eight states of India’s  Northeastern region including Sikkim from November 10 at Shillong.

Manipur had also topped the medal tally (80 gold, 49 silver and 33 bronze) when it hosted the inaugural Games in October 2018.

Arunchal Pradesh ended at third place while host state Meghalaya was fourth with 149 medals (36 gold, 35 silver, 78 bronze), a much better show than their sixth-place finish with 39 medals in the first edition.

Manipur, which has produced Olympic medal-winning athletes like boxer MC Mary Kom and weightlifter Mirabai Chanu, overtook Assam on November 15 and consolidated their top position by winning 17 medals, including seven golds, on the final day.

The U-17 Manipuri women’s football team, which has a few national team players in its ranks, beat Arunachal Pradesh 3-0 in the final on November 16.

Around 3000 athletes competed in 18 disciplines at 12 venues spread across Shillong. The first edition in Manipur had 12 disciplines only.

The Northeast Olympic Games are organised by the government of Meghalaya and Meghalaya Olympic Association under the aegis of Northeast Olympic Association (NEOA). The Meghalaya government fully funded the event.

Arunachal Pradesh was to host the second edition of the Games in 2019 but there was a change of plan following the COVID-19 pandemic and Shillong was named the host city.

Nagaland will host the third edition of the Northeast Olympic Games, reports added.

1st Chief Minister’s Sagol Kangjei Championship Kicks Off

Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren kicked off the 1st Chief Minister’s Sagol Kangjei Championship 2022 on November 18 at the Manung Kangjeibung located at Kangla. The Championship which is organised by All Manipur Polo Association (AMPA) as a part of Sangai Festival 2022 will continue for 10 days till November 27.

The event is being organised under the slogan of Save Manipuri Pony, Save Grazing Field and Revive Sagol Kangjei.

The Chief Minister also launched the Sagol Tongba Police (Manipur Mounted Police) which will be used in maintaining law and order in and around the Imphal city and will also be a tourist attraction during the Sangai Festival 2022.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Biren stated that the championship would be a memorable event in the history of Manipur, as the Sagol Kangjei game had been brought up after a long period. He appreciated the AMPA for organising such an important championship. Maintaining that Polo was taken from Sagol Kangjei of Manipur is a known fact, he expressed that the people of Manipur don’t possess the habit of bringing up or feeling proud of their own belongings, reports said.

G20 Meetings Likely in Northeast

India will be hosting over 200 meetings across 55 cities, including in Northeast India, during G20 summit to be held from December 2022 to November 2023 in a bid to showcase its culture, history and tourism potential and to position itself as a major tourist destination in the world.

Union Tourism Minister G Kishan Reddy has said this while addressing the inaugural session of the 10th International Tourism Mart (ITM) for the Northeast Region (NER) on November 17, 2022 in Aizawl. He also said this International Tourism Mart 2022 will highlight the diverse tourist attractions and products offered in the eight states.

“With our presidency, we definitely can stride ahead of these 4-5 countries to build the rightful place of India’s tourism industry in the global arena. We must plan to showcase our North Eastern Cultural Richness while welcoming the world to our country,” he said.

Reddy further said that the Centre has been providing financial assistance to the Northeast region for overall tourism infrastructure development, promotion of fairs/festivals, tourism-related events in the region, publicity campaigns etc., reports added.

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