Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

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A deserted street in Imphal on account of a lockdown call by CorCom to protest forced merger of Manipur to India on October 15, 1949.

Merger Protest Lockdown Affects Life; Athuan Laid to Rest; Myanmar Release Indian Captives; CM Launches Public Engagement Initiative

Among the top headlines this week was the Merger Agreement Lockdown called by underground umbrella organisation known by acronym CorCom; CM launching an amibtious public engagement initiative christened CM Da Haisi (let us report to the CM) and the laying to rest of the body of respected public leader Athuan Abonmai who worked for peaceful co-existence of all communities of Manipur who had earlier been murdered by suspected militants at Tamenglong. Here are the gists culled from local dailies.

Merger protest lockdown

The Coordination Committee (CorCom) consisting of PREPARK, PREPARK (Pro), RPF and UNLF; Alliance for Socialist Unity, Kangleipak (ASUK) consisting of KYKL and KCP; SOREPA and other insurgent groups called a state-wide total shutdown to observe the “forced merger” or “annexation” of Manipur into Dominion India in 1949 as ‘National Black Day’ on October 15.

The state-wide total shutdown called by the insurgent groups of Manipur crippled normal life in the state on October 15.

The general strike/shutdown brought normal life in Imphal to a standstill as businesses were closed and the streets wore a deserted look as there was no vehicular movement except for those of the security, ministers and bureaucrat officers; and of the exempted services like medical services and media.

Although medical services were being exempted from the shutdown, most medical stores and drug stores were closed in Imphal areas, which affected customers and patients in need of medication.

Khwairamband Keithel, other major markets, private and most of the Government establishments remained closed during the general strike/shutdown called as a mark of protest against the contentious merger of Manipur with India.

Inter-district transportation including bus and other services also went off the road leaving roads almost empty. However, vehicles on emergency purposes and other cultural and religious activities were seen plying.

It may be noted that prescribed outfits have been observing October 15 every year as “National Black Day” in protest against the ‘forced merger’/annexation of Manipur with Dominion India in 1949 following the coerced signing of the “Merger Agreement”. The outfits alleged that the then King of Manipur, Maharaj Boddhachandra was coerced to sign the agreement at Shillong on September 21, 1949 before it was officially declared on October 15 the same year.

A press release issued by CorCom stated that the alleged annexation was opposed by the people of Manipur and on August 25, 1949, the then ruling members of Manipur Assembly sent a notice to the then Deputy Prime Minister of India objecting to the same.

“The 3rd session of the Manipur Assembly convened on September 28, 1949 opposed the merger agreement while the 2-day National Convention held on October 28-29, 1993 at GM Hall resolved the merger of Manipur with the Indian Union as illegal and unconstitutional, the CorCom contended that the resolution was endorsed by the National seminar on human right held on December 8 and 9, 1994,” the CorCom asserted.

Myanmar Releases 23 Indian Prisoners
Released Indian prisoners in Myanmar being escorted back

The Myanmar government released 23 Indian prisoners along Indo-Myanmar border at Tamu-Moreh sector on October 13, amid the prevailing unrest in the country following the February 1 military coup this year.

Reports said that there is a female amongst the 23 prisoners released by the Myanmar government. One prisoner each hails from Mizoram, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh and the remaining 21 are from different districts of Manipur.

The Myanmar government and the Indian government earlier held a meeting at ICP Moreh on June 19, during which the Myanmar government offered to release 36 Indian prisoners lodged in Kalay Prison. The Myanmar delegation was led by commander RCC Kalay U Thant Zin Oo and the Indian delegation was led by major general IGAR (South) Alok Naresh.

Reports further said the nationality verification of 23 out of 36 prisoners has been completed and they were released at Tamu-Moreh border in Tengnoupal district of Manipur.

The Myanmar Authority led by immigration officer Tamu Township, Myanmar Aung Kyaw Soe handed over the 23 Indian prisoners to the Indian Authority at Indo-Myanmar Friendship Bridge, Moreh. They were received by senior immigration officer, SK Gangte YK Anand Singh, SP LCS Moreh N Romina, inspector LCS Anand, a team of Moreh police led by SI J Baite, reports added.

CM Da Haisi initiative being launched

Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on October 12 launched a mega citizen engagement initiative – ‘CM DA HAISI’, an initiative to engage with the citizens and address their issues.

During the launching programme, the Chief Minister Biren said that CM Da Haisi is a novel citizen’s engagement initiative through which he aims to establish a direct contact with the people of the state to enable its citizens to freely share their problems and suggestions with him.

The Chief Minister informed that the main objective of this campaign is to improve citizen’s participation and engagement and resolve the grievances of the people in a time-bound manner. CM Da Haisi aims to reach at least 50 per cent households of Manipur, especially people living in the hill districts, in the next two months. For the first time in the state, the campaign will make citizens of Manipur, an active participant stakeholder in setting the agenda for their government, CM Biren said.

Through the CM Da Haisi initiative, CM Biren seeks to build people’s faith in democratic governance and instill in them the confidence that no matter how big or small, personal or institutional – addressing people’s concerns will be the priority of the Biren-led BJP government.

“The campaign provides an outlet for the people who are frustrated by the local bureaucracy to directly reach out to CM and get their problems resolved,” CM Biren said, adding that, with this platform, he is just a call away from every citizen of Manipur.

In a series of tweets, Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren said, people of the state can reach out to him directly at 9534795347 with their grievances or suggestions. The state government will ensure that the grievances are addressed at the earliest.

“In our continuous endeavour to engage with the citizens and address their issues as efficiently as possible, I’m happy to launch the “CM Da Haisi” initiative today where anyone can reach out to me directly at 95347-95347 with their grievances or suggestions,” CM Biren tweeted.

“Ever since the pandemic broke out, citizen engagement programs like Meeyamgi Numit/Hill Leaders Day could not be organised. Now, CM Da Haisi helpline will enable the citizens to directly reach out to me and the Govt. will ensure that these grievances are addressed at the earliest,” Biren said in another tweet.

Pravish Chanam Death Case

The Court of Special Judicial Magistrate (CBI), Ghaziabad on October 13 ordered further investigation into the case of Manipur student Pravish Chanam who was found dead in Noida, Uttar Pradesh in September, 2017.

Reports said the Court rejected the closure report submitted by the CBI which had taken over the investigation from UP Police in 2019, and allowed the protest petition filed by the family of Chanam against the closure report.

The court stated that several crucial evidences were ignored by the investigating agency. The order issued by the court stated, “It can be said that there is something more than what is being portrayed through sketched illustrations. The intention to outwit and hoodwink the court with the almost deluded closure report thus become latently apparent. Thus, in the considered view of the court, further investigation is required to be done. Accordingly, the protest petition is allowed, closure report filed by CBI in RC 5 (S)/2019/CBI/SCB/ Lucknow is hereby rejected. CBI is directed to further investigate the case”.

The court after examining the submission of the closure report and all materials including witnesses’ statements stated that the shoddy investigation done by UP Police in the present case with sinister potential with regard to human life deserves strong disapproval by the court. Such manner shown by the police strikes a blow at rule of law. Justice VR Krishna Iyer had very aptly said that “Who will police the Police?” it stated.

It directed that therefore, the copy of the order be sent to the director general of police, state of Uttar Pradesh in order to take strict actions against the erring officials who were related with the investigation of the case under sections 302, 201 IPC of PS Sector 20, Gautam Buddha Nagar.

Pravish, a 22-year-old from Manipur who had come to Noida to attend a music concert, was found dead on September 9, 2017. After four days, the local police cremated his body as “unclaimed,” after autopsy without waiting for the family, although a missing complaint filed by his friends was already then on record. The case was transferred to the CBI after widespread public outcry seeking proper investigation in the case.

The court has directed to CBI that a progress report of such further investigation be filed by the investigating officer in person on November 22.

Indiscriminate Firing and Killing of Villager

Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on October 14 condemned vehemently the killing of three persons, including an eight-year-old boy and the chief of MP Khullen village, while gravely injuring a two-year-old child during indiscriminate firing by miscreants upon a group of people at B Gamnom village and termed the incident as an act of terrorists.

The incident took place on October 12 when the villagers were making arrangements to perform the last rites of the Kuki UG group cadres who were killed during a gunfight between security forces on October 10, Chief Minister Biren stated in a release.

“My government will not tolerate such extreme acts of challenging the lives of the public which wants to live in peace. There is no place for violence in this democratic country. I condemn their unwarranted use of violence in the strongest terms,” he stated in the release.

He further stated that orders have been also issued to the Indian Army, Assam Rifles, and high level officers of Manipur Police to take up strong action against those involved in the incident. To save the life of the child who was left severely injured in the incident, directions have been passed to the authority concerned to take up all necessary measures, he added.

Athuan Abonmai funeral
CM Biren paying tribute to murdered leader Athuan Abonmai at his funeral

The dead body of Athuan Abonmai was laid to rest on October 14 at Langol Tarung, Imphal West district with a funeral service cum condolence programme organised by the JAC Against the Brutal Murder of Athuan Abonmai. As a part of the programme, Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren also laid the foundation stone for the memorial park of Athuan Abonmai at Langol Tarung, Grace Colony.

During the condolence programme, Biren said that any target even if it is “independence” will not be achieved by harassing the people. He and the state government would never come to a compromise on the dastardly act and brutal killing of innocent people. He said that the murder of Athuan Abonmai had left the people of Manipur with extreme pain and deep anguish.

Late Abonmai was a courageous leader who stood for unity and integrity of the state, Biren said.

Wife of Athuan Abonmai, Philawon Abonmai said that her husband was murdered for speaking the truth. Saying that Athuan Abonmai often expressed desire for his body to be buried at the valley and asked his family members to always work for the unity of Manipur while he was alive, Philawon Abonmai said that Athuan Abonmai had sacrificed his life for the State and her people.

Convenor of JAC Against the Brutal Murder of Athuan Abonmai, Majabung Gangmei urged the Government to find the truth of the incident and book the ‘killers’ at the earliest. Forest and Environment Minister Awangbow Newmai, Education Minister S Rajen, Rajya Sabha MP Leishemba Sanajaoba, leaders of different civil society organisations and a large number of people also took part in the funeral service cum condolence programme.

It may be mentioned that Athuan Abonmai who stood and worked for peaceful coexistence of different ethnic groups of Manipur and territorial integrity was kidnapped from high security zone of Tamenglong Head Quarter Pologround where Chief Minister, Ministers, MLAs, high officials of the state civil and police were present on September 22 and killed in the evening of the same day.

‘Unsung Heroes of Manipur’
Governor releasing “Unsung Heroes”

Manipur Governor La Ganesan on October 13 released the Special Cover on the Unsung Heroes of Manipur – Thangal General, Bir Tikendrajit, Paona Brajabashi and Haipou Jadonang of Manipur – at Raj Bhavan. The function was organised by the Postmaster General, North East circle.

Speaking at the function; Governor Ganesan said that it is a great pleasure to release four Special Covers of the Department of Post on the Unsung Heroes of Manipur who had sacrificed their lives for the Motherland. During the freedom struggle millions of leaders and freedom fighters sacrificed their lives to defend and free India from the clutches of the British tyranny. He also said that, the struggle which started with the death of Mangal Pandey and great rebellion in 1857 finally ended on August 15th 1947 when India emerged as an independent Nation, reports said

The function was attended by Som Kamei, Postmaster General, North East Circle,  L Tiken Singh, Superintendent of Post, Manipur and staff from the Department of Post; and philatelists of Manipur.

Old Bomb Found at Wangoi
WWII bomb recovered

An old bomb was found at Chajing Loukon Pengba Kabi area under Wangoi Police Station at around 2.30 pm on October 14.

Reports said that one Soram Ratan Kumar of Naran Konjin Mayai Leikai, who did not know it was a bomb, had kept it at his house. Later after receiving reports a police bomb disposal squad collected the bomb around 5 pm and detonated it at Naran Konjin Leikha Chingjin around 6.15 pm.

Manipur Government Launches Free Door-To-Door Health Scheme For All Villages

Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on October 14 launched a new health scheme called “CM’s Health for All’ which will provide free door-to-door health services by health experts in every village of the state.

The Chief Minister said the scheme will help to monitor health conditions of people living in rural areas of the state. The medical team will provide medicines and assist in getting treatment under the CHMT and the PMJAY health schemes.

“Delighted to launch the new scheme ‘CM’s Health for All’ which will provide free door-to-door health checkups by health experts, doctors & nurses in every village. Through this scheme, we will monitor health conditions of the people including different cancers, and mental health,” the Chief Minister Biren tweeted.

“I’m also please to share that, the team will provide medicines and further assist in getting treatment under CHMT and PMJAY. The launching program was also attended by Hon’ble Ministers, Hon’ble MP, Hon’ble MLAs, Chief Secretary, Additional Chief Secretary (Health) and the officials,” Biren said in another tweet.

Doorstep COVID-19 Vaccination

Imphal West district administration on October 15 said that it is providing hassle-free COVID-19 vaccination service at the comfort of one’s doorsteps.

The facility can be availed by anyone who requires 1st or 2nd dose with a minimum of 10 persons to be vaccinated per site and there is no upper limit, stated a notice issued by Imphal West DC Th Kirankumar.

It stated that the facility can be availed by contacting the District Control Centre via the contact number 7005923373 and 9362662670 on all day from 9 am till 3 pm or via email: [email protected]. The District Administration Team shall provide the schedule date and time for the vaccination, it stated.

A valid ID (any identifying documents like Aadhar, Voter ID, Pan Card, Driving Licence, and Passport etc.) and mobile number of the beneficiaries must be made available at the time of vaccination, it added.

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