Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

MMTA members on rescue operation at Tupul landslide site

Massive Landslide at Tupul, Tragedy Still Unfolding; Single Use Plastic Banned; Central Team Inspects Border; 80 Myanmar Nationals Held; JNIMS Doctors Transplant Kidneys

The death toll due to a tragic mountain landslide near the Tupul Railway Station Construction Site at Makhuam village blocking Ijei River rose to 27 till the time of filing this story on July 2. As many as 18 people were rescued and 27 dead bodies including 20 army personnel were recovered from the debris, while 36 others remain missing out of 81 persons suspected to be buried in the massive landslide that occurred on June 29 post midnight at Tupul in Noney district in Manipur. The landslide hit the Northern Frontier Railway work site and the Indian Army company location.

The joint search and rescue operation by the Indian Army, Assam Rifles, Territorial Army, SDRF and NDRF continues relentlessly throughout the day at the incident site at Tupul, Manipur on July 1 and 2.

A team of Manipur Mountaineering and Trekking Association (MMTA) is also working tirelessly as rescue workers.

Meanwhile, Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren visited the site again on July 1 and encouraged the personnel engaged in rescue operations. He said that nonstop efforts from all agencies will continue till each missing person is found, DIPR report said.

On his frist visit to the landslide area on June 30 Manipur Chief Minister Biren announced Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia to the kin of those killed in the landslide and Rs 50,000 to the injured, reports added.

Moreover, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 30 spoke to Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren and reviewed the tragic landslide incident at Tupul in Noney district of Manipur. Modi assured all help to the affected from the Government.

“Spoke to Manipur CM Shri @NBirenSingh Ji and reviewed the situation due to a tragic landslide. Assured all possible support from the Centre. I pray for the safety of all those affected. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon,” PM Modi tweeted.

Meanwhile, another landslide occurred on July 2 near the same place, reports said.

Central Team Inspects Indo-Myanmar Border

A team of Central and state officials accompanied by locals and a village chief inspected the sites of the existing border pillars along Moreh-Kwatha Khunou section of India-Myanmar border in Tengnoupal district in Manipur on July 1.

Reports said the team included Rahul Malik, Deputy Secretary MHA; Himansu, Surveyor from Surveyor General of India, Shillong; Rehazuddin, State Joint Secretary Home; Peter Salam, State Deputy Secretary Home; Veto, State Deputy Secretary Home Veto; BRTF officials and Assam Rifles.  Locals and a village chief accompanied the team while visiting the border pillars 79 to 81.

The team inspected the sites of border pillars 79 Moreh Muslim Ngaar, border pillars 80 Govajang and border pillars 81 Kwatha Khunou/L Molphei. The outcome of the inspection is yet to be known.

The construction of border fencing between BP-80 Govajang and BP-79 Moreh Muslim Nagar were completed years ago. The construction of border fencing between BP 79 to 76 Haolenphai remained suspended since then after the Myanmar government raised objections against the construction of border fencing, claiming that its territory had been encroached.

Recently, the BRTF had started the construction of border fencing between BP-80 Govajang and BP-81 Kwatha Khunou and L Molphei areas. However, CSOs led by United Committee Manipur protested against the fencing work in the said areas. The UCM urged the government to halt fencing work in the “disputed area.” It appealed to the government to resolve the issue first before resuming the fencing work. The protest was suspended after the State Government assured that a central team will visit to address the issue.

Meanwhile prior to the inspection of the Border Fencing along the Indo-Myanmar Border, members of the United Committee Manipur (UCM) and Meetei Council Moreh (MCM) jointly inspected the “disputed” fencing at Border Pillars 80 and 81 along the Indo-Myanmar border near Kwatha Khunou village in Tengnoupal district of Manipur on June 29.

Manipur Bans Single Use Plastics

Manipur government has enforced the ban on single use plastics in the state with effect from July 1, 2022. Under Manipur Plastic Policy, 2022, the government bans earbuds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks, polystyrene for decoration, plates, cups, glasses, cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straw, trays, wrapping or packaging films around sweet boxes, invitation cards and cigarette packets, plastic or PVC banners less than 100 microns, stirrers, PET or PETE bottles less than 1 litre capacity for holding drinking water.

Under the policy, plastic carry bags less than 75 microns in thickness are banned till December 30, 2022 while plastic carry bags with less than 120 microns in thickness are banned with effect from December 31, 2022.

The Manipur Cabinet on May 18 approved the Manipur Plastic Policy 2022 in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s objective to phase out single-use plastic by 2022. The policy seeks to tackle the multi-faceted plastic pollution by regulating use of plastics.

The policy also includes that any person found dealing in or using plastic items in contravention of the direction stipulated in the policy will face imprisonment upto five years term, with a fine extendable upto Rs 1 lakh.

80 Myanmar Nationals Held

Eighty illegal Myanmar nationals including 35 women and 20 children were arrested by Churachandpur district police after launching intensive search operations at different locations in Manipur’s Churachandpur district on June 28.

Reports quoting Churachandpur district police said the arrested Myanmar nationals could not produce any valid document for staying in India and disclosed that they were all citizens of Myanmar.

A big team of Churachandpur district police conducted a cordon and search operation from 5 am till 8.30 am after receiving reliable information regarding the presence of Myanmar nationals in the district particularly at the general area of Ngathal village.

A house-to-house search operation was conducted at Vaal Veng, Churachandpur wherein 40 persons were arrested from two rented places.

Search operations were also conducted at another rented house at Vaal Veng, Churachandpur town wherein 13 males, 16 females and eight children suspected to be Myanmar nationals were also arrested.

The owner of the rented place, identified as one Biakchunga, 58, on being asked revealed that he came to Mizoram from Myanmar in the year 1986 and came to Kwanpui, Churachandpur in 2013.

Further, three males Myanmar nationals were also arrested while they were roaming around in the new bazar area and selling some goods from Gouchinkhup Veng, New Lamka.

A regular FIR ref No. 107(06)2022 Churachandpur Police station, under section 14 of Foreigners Act 1946 has been taken up for further investigation.

CCM Appeals for Humane Treatment

The Citizens Committee Manipur (CCM) has appealed to the manipur government that the suspected Myanmar nationals be treated humanely, transparently and by respecting their rights guaranteed by the law at every stage of the arrest and detention.

The release issued by Babloo Loitongbam, Convenor of CCM on June 28 stated that CCM has come to learn that about a hundred suspected Myanmar citizens, including women and children, taking shelter in Churachandpur town were arrested on June 28 morning.

CCM has also been informed that they were initially kept at the police station but were not given any food till noon, causing much hardship especially for the children. Till late afternoon they were not produced before any magistrate either but were reportedly taken to Imphal. CCM shares the anxiety of the families and friends of those arrested as their whereabouts, safety and security are not known, the release stated.

Considering the civil unrest and tumultuous situation inside Myanmar following the military coup, our brethren and sisters who have fled their home and herds seeking shelter in our land should be treated as refugees and asylum seekers as per international human rights standards and not as illegal immigrants. The state government should desist from any attempt to forcibly repatriate them, the CCM urged.

As done by the government of Mizoram, the government of Manipur should seriously consider adopting a smarter and more humane response to the refugee crisis adding that the first step could be to issue identity cards for the Myanmar nationals living in the state and setting up designated camps with basic facilities where they can spend some time before the situation back home comes to some level of normalcy.

After all, it was how the government of Manipur dealt with a similar situation in the past during the 8-8-88 crisis in the neighbouring country. Manipur shares not only a long border but also a long history with Myanmar. Hence our response to their crisis needs to be nuanced and humane, the CCM release stated.

Chandel Among Best Aspirational Districts

Union Minister of State for Communication Devusinh Chauhan on June 26 said Chandel is one of the best districts among the 118 Aspirational districts of the NITI Aayog programme in terms of inclusive growth and living standard.

Briefing the media after presiding over a review meeting on the implementation of Aspirational District Programme (ADP) for Chandel district at the conference hall of DC Chandel Office, Chauhan said ADP is a holistic approach of the Central government for sustainable and overall development of 118 districts in India.

He expressed satisfaction that the villagers of the district are getting the benefits of the double engine government by grabbing the opportunities of the various beneficiary schemes, reports added.

JNIMS Doctors Transplant Kidneys

For the first time in Manipur, a team of doctors performed kidney transplant successfully on three patients at Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) Hospital in Imphal on June 26.

It is for the first time that kidney transplant operation was done in a government-run hospital in the state and the second in the entire Northeast India after Guwahati Medical College, Assam.

Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on June 26 visited the recovering patients at the hospital and lauded the doctors, nurses and medical staff involved in the operations in achieving the milestone. He announced that the entire team of the doctors, nurses and medical staff involved in the successful kidney transplants will be awarded with Rs 5 lakh in recognition and appreciation of their efforts, reports added.

First State-Run De-Addiction Centre

Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on June 27 inaugurated the first state-run de-addiction centre in Manipur, Anouba Mangal De-addiction Centre at Sunusiphai in Bishnupur district on the occasion of International Day Against Drug Abuse & Illicit Trafficking, 2022. Anouba Mangal is the first de-addiction centre in the state which is directly run by the Social Welfare Department, Government of Manipur.

MHRC Foundation Day 2022

The 24th Foundation Day of Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC) was observed on June 29 at ADR Conference Hall, Lamphel in Imphal West.

MHRC Acting Chairperson Khaidem Mani speaking on the observation of the Foundation Day expressed distress over delay in secretary M Yaiskul Meitei joining the commisison despite the transfer on May 31, 2022. He said that it has been 27 days since the transfer order was issued, but Yaiskul is yet to join the commission.

Khaidem Mani highlighted the background of the commission and reflected on how it was constituted in Manipur in 1998.

Human Rights Alert (HRA) Executive Director Babloo Loitongbam speaking on the observation said that after the establishment of MHRC in the state on 1998, there were two phases which were led by Yambem Laba and Nongyai and the present is the third phase. The commission was defunct for many years, and was re-established in 2018, he said.

Five More Arrested After Moijing Drug Lab Bust

Five more persons were arrested on June 28 after a drug lab was busted and one Thoubalmayum Ahamadi Bibi , 48, wife of Th Kadimur alias Kadim was arrested at Moijing Mina Bazar along with massive seizure of brown sugar on June 14.

Reports said the five persons were arrested as a follow up of the investigation of the case FIR No 104(6)2022 TBL-PS  u/s 21(c) NDPS, added 29 NDPS Act that was registered in connection with the busting of the drug lab.

From Ahamadi Bibi’s disclosure, one Bembem, 28, wife of Md Tamijur Rahaman alias Ningthou of Moijing of Moijing Mina Bazar was arrested on June 21 from Thoubal Wangmataba. Another Zamzam, 22, daughter of Thoubalmayum Ahamadi Bibi was arrested on June 22 from Porompat. One Miss Rahena, 39, wife of Md Idrish Khan of Kiyam Siphai Leitanpok Leikai arrested on June 23 from Moijing Leingoijil, while Md Fazlur Rahaman alias Abbas, 41, son of Rejoul Haque of Lilong Leihaokhong was arrested on June 24 from Kakwa Naorem Leikai. Lastly, Md Noor, 28, son of Md Tomei of Moijing Awang Leikai was arrested on June 27 from Moijing Mina Bazar.

RK Sanatomba Memorial Journalist Award 2022

The 19th RK Sanatomba Memorial Journalist Award 2022 has been accorded to Phurailatpam Keny Devi, a staff reporter of Imphal Free Press, English daily published in Imphal by RK Sanatomba Memorial Trust (RKMT) for her excellent reporting on drug-related issues during 2021.

The award distribution ceremony was held at Hijagang Community Hall, Palace Compound on Thursday and consisted of a cash prize of Rs 25,000 with citation and shawl.

Phurailatpam Keny Devi, daughter of Ph Krishnamohan Sharma and Ph Sharatpurnima Devi from Sagolband Moirang Leirak has been working with Imphal Free Press for the last five years. During her five years of stint with journalism, she has also received media fellowships given by the Directorate of Environment and Climate Change on climate change reporting for consecutive two years, Community Network for Empowerment for consecutive two years on Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B reporting and Manipur State AIDS Control Society (MACS) on HIV and AIDS-related reporting.

12 Meira Paibis Honoured

The Manipur Peace and Integrity (MAPI) Council honoured 12 legendary Meira Paibi Imas (mothers) of Manipur during its 22nd Foundation Day observation at Manipur Press Club, Imphal on July 1.

The 12 mothers who were honoured were the 12 women who staged a nude protest in front of Kangla Western Gate on July 15, 2004 demanding repeal of the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) 1958 and army attrocities in Manipur.

Speaking to the media, MAPI Council president KC Romeo said that the historic protest of the 12 mothers of Manipur will remain in history. It was a protest that had never happened before and may not happen again in the future, Romeo said, adding that it was the protest that removed the Army from Kangla, reports added.

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