The civil society organisations of the Tangkhul community organised a mass rally in Ukhrul on September 15 and submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi through Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren, demanding immediate withdrawal of the forceful occupation of nine Tangkhul villages by the Assam Rifles in Ukhrul district.
Reports said over 5000 people in Ukhrul district on September 15 took out a mass rally in the district HQ, expressing strong condemnation of the “forceful occupation” of nine villages of the Tangkhul community in the district by the Assam Rifles. The rally started from two locations namely, Dungrei junction of Hungpung and Mission compound, Ukhrul and culminated at Ava Market (Ima market), Phungreitang in the heart of the Ukhrul district headquarters.
Organised by the civil society organisations of the Tangkhul community, the rally was attended by Kho John, president of United Naga Council (UNC); Joyson Mazamo, convenor of Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) South and Asha Wungnam, president of Naga Women’s Union among others. Business establishments, vehicular and public movements came to a grinding halt amidst the mass rally, where protesters held placards with slogans like, ‘Leave Us; Respect Land Owners, Nagas Don’t Have Khas Land, Our Land, Our Identity, Honour Our Rights, etc.’ among others, reports added.
The copy of the memorandum was also duly submitted to Francisco Cali Tzay, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Gam A Shimray, General Secretary, Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP).
Earlier, on September 14 the Global Naga Forum (GNF) has strongly condemned the “Indian armed forces’ occupation of nine Naga villages in Manipur”.
In a statement issued on September 14, the GNF said that the Assam Rifles has suddenly moved into the Ukhrul district of Manipur in full force and occupied nine villages without the consent of the Naga village authorities.
According to the GNF, these are peaceful villages belonging to the “Tangkhul indigenous people” who have rights to their lands and way of life guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. It also said that there are no anti-government activities going on there, nor law and order issues, nor anti-social problems.
Tangkhul and Meitei CSOs Pledge Brotherhood
In a historic decision, Tangkhul bodies and Meitei Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have resolved to celebrate “Tangkhul-Meitei Ngashan-Kummei” in the month of November 2022 as a cultural exchange programme between the two communities – Tangkhul and Meitei apart from resolving to celebrate “Indigenous Brothers Meet” annually.
The historic decision to hold the event was arrived at during Tangkhul Naga Wungnao Long (TNWL) Get-Together with Meitei CSOs held on September 16, 2022 at Heritage Centre, Vangayan, Shirui village located few kilometres away from Ukhrul headquarters.
Reports said that the Get-Together was attended by representatives of Tangkhul Naga Long (TNL), Tangkhul Naga Wungnao Long (TNWL), Tangkhul Chiefs Association (TCA), Tangkhul Naga Foothills Organisation (TNFO) and the Four Tangkhul Longphangs namely Ato Longphang (North), Zingtun Longphang (West), Zingsho Longphang (East) and Aze Longphang (South). From the Meitei community, leaders and representatives of All Manipur United Club’s Organisation (AMUCO), Ethno Heritage Council (HERICON), United People’s Front (UPF), Kangleipak Kanpa Lup (KKL), The League of Indigenous People’s Upliftmnet (LIPUL), Loumee Shinmee Apun Lup (LOUSAL) and Eenat Yokkhat Lup (EYL) attended the said programme.
In the historic Get-Together, President of Tangkhul Naga Long, David K Shimray stated “there are only two indigenous settlers in Manipur and called for equal development in both the hills and valley.”
President of Tangkhul Naga Wungnao Long, S A Ramnganing stated, “This coming together has nothing to do with politics but to revisit peace, unity and harmony so that our relationship is strengthened and to make this possible, taking up cultural exchange programmes between Tangkhul and Meitei on a regular basis is the need of the hour and this would go a long way towards cementing our relationship, and will surely strengthen our unity.”
Endorsing the proposal of TNWL President Ramnganing President of Ethno Heritage Council (HERICON) and Coordinator of COCOMI, Longjam Ratan Kumar stated, “It is better late than never, we should unite and revisit the past and move forward together. What are the steps to be taken by Meitei and Tangkhul to forge a common vision or common roadmap? This is the time to build one Iramdam. The term and usage of hills and valley is also a factor that divides our oneness. Cultural exchange programme as suggested by President of TNWL is one thing we can take up for fostering our relationship.”
In the “Get-Together” programme, the members present unanimously resolved to celebrate “Tangkhul-Meitei Ngashan-Kummei” in the month of November 2022. President of TNWL, S A Ramnganing and President of HERICON, Longjam Ratankumar were unanimously chosen as Convenor and Co-Convenor of the Organising Committee respectively. Secretary of KKL, Ngamkhei Ngakpa Luwang; Advisor of UPF, L. Jadumani; President of LIPUL, Somendro Thokchom; President of EYL, Okram Wangamba Meitei; President of LOUSAL, Mutum Churamani and General Secretary of AMUCO, Dr. Norendro Thokchom were nominated as Executive Members of the Organising Committee, reports added.
Committee to Oversee Publications on Manipur
The Manipur government on September 15 announced that a committee has been constituted to oversee the accurate publication of books on the history, culture, tradition and geography of Manipur.
An order by secretariat of Higher and Technical Education Department, Government of Manipur extended acknowledgement that many books are published about the state contributing to the repository of centuries of knowledge of the past civilizations and cultures.
It has come to the knowledge of the state government that some of these books published on the history, culture, tradition and geography of the state contain material which may either distort facts or disturb the peaceful coexistence among the various communities in the state, the order said.
The order mentioned that any publication of books which contains material which may either distort facts or disturb the peaceful coexistence among the various communities in the state shall be liable to be punished under the relevant law.
In order to ensure that books on the history, culture, tradition and geography of the state are published with accurate information, the governor of Manipur constituted the committee with the members as listed below to accord approval for publication of books on such topics, it stated.
The committee consisting of Education Minister, Manipur as the Chairperson and Director of University and Higher Education, Manipur as the Member Secretary along with its members namely Manipur University Vice Chancellor Naorem Lokendro; Dhanamanjuri University Vice Chancellor Nongmaithem Rajmuhon; Manipur University of Culture Vice Chancellor Paonam Gunindro; HOD of South East Asian Studies, specialization in Modern Indian History, Manipur University H Sudhirkumar, besides other members.
The order further informed that the individuals who are desirous of publication of books on the history, culture, tradition and geography of the state may submit an application to the director of University and Higher Education, Manipur.
The submission must include a copy of the manuscript of the book that shall place the matter before the committee for its approval, it added. The committee shall convene its meeting as and when required, the order added.
Kukis Observe black day on September 13
Kukis observed the 28th Sahnit Ni (Kuki Black Day) bemoaning and commemorating the thousands of their innocent fellows killed in the alleged ‘Kuki Genocide’ perpetrated by Thuingaleng Muivah led NSCN (I-M) in the 1990s.
Reports said the Sahnit Ni was also observed across the globe and India by the Kukis spreading mainly in the Northeastern states of Assam, Nagaland, and Manipur seeking ‘Justice’ for the more than thousands of victims killed, lakh of displaced Kuki people and hundreds of displaced Kuki villages in the alleged ethnic pogrom of the Naga militants of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah).
Apart from mourning and commemorating the victims, the Kukis also demonstrated their discontentment of not delivering justice as bonafide citizens of India on the part of the Manipur Government and the Government of India despite more than 60 memoranda to the governments seeking justice during the 28 years observation.
As directed by Kuki Inpi, the Kukis hoisted a black flag in their respective houses, while donning a black cloth or traditional attire and avoiding traveling, working in farms or fields, rather they engaged themselves in a mass prayer the whole day, reports added.
The Kuki Black Day was observed in remembrance of the departed souls of more than 1,000 Kukis who were killed in the “ethnic cleansing” by the Naga Separatist organisation NSCN-IM during 1992 to 1997.
12 Cadres of KCP (PWG) and One KYKL Surrendered
Altogether 13 cadres belonging to two proscribed underground groups Kangleipak Communist Party (People’s War Group)- KCP (PWG) and Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL) laid down arms and ammunition on September 15 in a Homecoming Ceremnony organised by the State Home Department at the Banquet Hall of the First Manipur Riffles in Imphal.
During the homecoming ceremony a total of 13 cadres, including 12 from KCP (PWG) and one from KYKL laid down arms and ammunition, including monetary demand letters to Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren.
Reports said the surrendered weapons and items included two lathode guns; four 9mm pistols; three IEDs; two detonators; two radio sets; four extortion slips and five letter heads.
Speaking at the Homecoming Ceremony of surrender of 13 undetrgrounds, Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren said the present government is committed to ending insurgency from Manipur in the next five years and has already taken up initiatives to convince the insurgency groups though political dialogue, the CM said and warned that no one should try to sabotage the situation.
He further said the insurgents who are yet to surrender should do so to the government and assured that not a single bullet will be fired to those who want to join the mainstream. No FIRs will be lodged against them unless they are involved in heinous crimes, he added.
DGP, P Doungel told media on the sideline of the ceremony that since 2005 under ‘Scheme for Surrender-cum-rehabilitation’ a total of 708 cadres from different outfits have surrendered, out of which 643 have joined the normal life after completion of three years stay at rehabilitation camp. At present 65 underground cadres from different outfits are staying at rehabilitation camps.
Meanwhile, in a press note issued by PRO police department signed by Khuplen Lhouvum, it stated that under the revised scheme for Surrender-Cum rehabilitation of Militants in the north east states, 2018 of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, rehabilitation benefits given to the surrendered cadres included a one-time financial grant of Rs 4 lakh to each surrenderee. The amount will be kept in a bank in their names as a fixed deposit for a period of three years, monthly stipends of Rs 6,000 per person and incentives for surrendered weapons. The surrenderees will stay in a rehabilitation camp for three years, the release added.
Prime Accused in Chingamakha Blast Held
A team of Imphal West district commandos have arrested two active cadres of a valley-based underground outfit on September 11 in connection with the Chingamakha blast on September 8 and serving monetary demands to IMC councillors.
Reports said the arrested persons have been identified as Keshtrimayum Bhogendro aka Yaiphaba, 41, son of late Ksh Kunjakeshwor of Khongman Zone III and Aheibam Nabin Singh, 48, son of Aheibam Nabakumar of Thangmeiband Yumnam Leikai.
Bhogendro was arrested in an operation conducted at Khongman Zone III on September 11 by a team of Imphal West Commando. The said operation was conducted acting on information about the presence of suspects involved in the planting of IED at Singjamei Chingamakha near the basketball ground on September 8, the SP Imphal West informed.
During the operation, Bhogendro was detained at his residence and on preliminary interrogation; he disclosed that he is an active cadre of a valley-based underground outfit and started working for the said organisation in 2006 under the command of one Major Chaoba of the outfit.
Six electronic digital circuits, similar to the device used in IED planted at Singjamei Chingamakha, 119 monetary demand letters under the letterhead of the said outfit addressed to various government officials, corporators/councillors/pradhans and private persons and a pendrive were also seized from his possession, said Shivakanta.
He also disclosed that the 6 electronic circuits were handed over to him by one major Bogen of Ayangpalli, Imphal East of the same outfit in which he had handed over 2 digital electronic circuits same as recovered from him to Nabin, reports added.
FNR Works to Bring NSCN-IM and NNPGs on One Platform
In a significant development, the NSCN-IM and the NNPGs have “renewed to work together in the spirit of love,” and desist from all forms of armed violence and refrain from indulging in violence of words through print and social media among Naga Political Groups and the general public.
In a joint statement issued on September 14 late evening, the NSCN-IM and the NNPGs said they met today (September 14, 2022) “in the spirit of belonging” in the presence of the Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) in the interest of pursuing genuine understanding among the Nagas and incrementally progressing forward.
“Hence, we jointly resolve the following: The covenant of reconciliation (CoR) of June 13, 2009-signed by late Isak Chishi Swu, late SS Khaplang, and Brig (Retired) S. Singnya-will be honoured in letter and in spirit”.
The statement said, “Hence, we renew to work together in the spirit of love, and desist from all forms of armed violence and refrain from indulging in violence of words through print and social media among Naga political groups and the general public”. The joint statement further added that, from this time forth, in order to chart a path forward, “we remain committed to peace and respect and to resolve outstanding issues among us (CoR)”.
The statement was jointly signed V S Atem on behalf of the NSCN-IM and Alezo Venuh on behalf of the Working Committee of the NNPGs. V S Atem is member of Collective Leadership of the NSCN-IM and Alezo Venuh is co-ordinator of the Working Committee of the NNPGs.
“We are aware of our differences and hence will guard ourselves against rifts that further divide us,” the joint statement added.
The statement further said they are committed to finding ways to transcend “our differences” through cooperation, to be worked out in future meetings, on the basis of the COR. In this regard, they said they understand that cooperation which is socially and politically imaginative and prudently concrete is nation building begun.
“We are committed to a dialogue in order to move forward, live in peace and overcome the cynicism, anxiety, and disagreements that have caused us to see each other as foes and strangers, rather than members of the same family,” the statement added.
Two UG Cadres Held
A combined team of 16th Assam Rifles and commando unit of Thoubal on September 13 apprehended two cadres of People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (Progressive) – PREPAK (PRO) from Khongjom Papal Lamkhai in Thoubal district and Top Khongnang Makhong in Imphal East district.
Reports said a joint team of commando unit Thoubal and a column of 16 AR led by additional SP (Ops) Thoubal O Wangkhomba assisted by OC commando unit Thoubal inspector K Nitaranjan and under the supervision of SP Thoubal Jogeshchandra Haobijam, conducted frisking and checking at around Khongjom Papal Lamkhai area acting on a tip off about the presence of a cadre of the proscribed group PREPAK (PRO) at Khongjom area.
The team apprehended one cadre of PREPAK (PRO) namely Md Sanajaoba, 25, son of late Md Siraj Ahamed from Urup Awang Leikai, Imphal East, it added. Upon questioning, Sanajaoba disclosed that he along with another PREPAK (PRO) cadre namely Oinam Amitkumar, 21, son of O Khogen Singh from Top Khongnang Makhong, Imphal East carried out the IED blast at Lilong Ushoipokpi on January 5 under the instruction of PREPAK (PRO) chairman S Paliba, reports said.
51st RIMS Foundation Day
The Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Imphal celebrated its 51st foundation day on September 14 wherein meritorious students were awarded and journal of medical society was also released.
Addressing the function as chief guest, Indira Chakravarty, former Additional Director General of Health Services, Government of India, who is also Padma Shri Awardee, appreciated the authorities of RIMS for bringing a sea change and putting it on spot among the best institutions of the country. There are expectations that there will be more transformation in the days to come.
Indira Chakravarty also said that increasing the budget of the institution from Rs 35 crore to Rs 600 crore was a big achievement of the institution. “Without enough budget, nothing can be done. So, it is worth appreciating the leaders of the institute for their effort to improve the budget amount,” she said.
She also termed it unique and remarkable that RIMS is functioning under three ministries namely, the DoNER, Health and Family Welfare, and the Home. There are no any institutions that are looked after by more than one ministry, she said, adding that though RIMS might face some difficulties running under three ministries, there must be some advantages to it too, reports said.
Director of RIMS, Prof A Santa Singh, said that RIMS Imphal has become the pride of Northeast and is the only medical college from the entire NE to feature among the top 50 medical institutions of India in the last four years consecutively in NIRF ranking, reports added.
District Hill Leaders’ Day, Meeyamgi Numit Held Across the State
The District Hill Leaders’ Day and the Meeyamgi Numit (People’s Day) was organised across different districts of Manipur, including Churachandpur, Tamenglong and Chandel by the respective district administrations on September 16.
Reports said the Churachandpur district administration organised the District Hill Leaders’ Day and Meeyamgi Numit at the multipurpose hall of Mini-Secretariat Complex at Tuibong. During the event, the Churachandpur DC along with the district level officers interacted with the people and addressed their queries. The district authorities received a total of 150 written applications regarding various issues in the district, out of which 110 were resolved on the spot while 40 of them are still yet to be resolved.
Tamenglong district administrations also organised the District Hill Leaders’ Day and Meeyamgi Numit at the multipurpose hall of Tamenglong district headquarter in the presence of the chairmen and secretaries of the various departments concerned.
During the programme, Old Age Pension and Widow Pension Scheme cards under Tamenglong district social welfare were distributed to about 20 beneficiaries. The pension cards were handed out by Tamenglong DC Pawan Yadav and ADM Tamenglong Thangboi in the presence of Tamenglong district social welfare officer Robinson. Health cards under Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) Scheme were also distributed to about 22 beneficiaries by Tamenglong DC, reports added.
Reports said Chandel district also observed the District Hill Leaders’ Day and the Meeyamgi Numit at the multipurpose hall of Mini-Secretariat at DC Complex, Chandel. The event was attended by the SDOs, DLOs and other officials of the district. Chandel DC Mayanglambam Rajkumar announced that the next District Hill Leaders’ Day and Meeyamgi Numit will be organised at different locations in the district so as to make the programme more accessible for the people living in different parts of the district, reports added.
NIPCO Calls for Unity On 22nd Foundation Day
The National Identity Protection Council (NIPCO) on September 13, during the observance of its 22nd foundation day, called for unity among all the ethnic groups of Manipur to pave a better future and a stronger Manipur. The foundation day was held at Ima Khunthokhanbi Shanglen, DM College campus in Imphal West.
Since its establishment, NIPCO had been playing a vital role in strengthening the bonds between the indigenous groups settling in the state for making an egalitarian society under the ideology of integrity, peace and unity, said NIPCO general secretary Siraj Nongyaimayum in his keynote address.
The function was also attended by NIPCO president Oinam Premjit; IMOM president Rengenson Thanga (Chiru); NIPCO former president M Medun (Maring); Haomi Research Guild Manipur chairman Robin Shinglai (Tangkhul); Zeliangrong Union vice-president Athai Kamei (Kabui); Thangal Union convenor Art and Culture Sailash Ant (Thangal); GP Women College professor Abdul Hakim Shah; KSUM former president Abraham Shaichal (Kharam) as presidium members.
48th foundation day of AMWJU celebrated
All Manipur Working Journalist’ Union (AMWJU) celebrated its 48th foundation day on Friday with a grand function at Manipur Press Club, Imphal.
Speaking on the occasion, Manipur Works Miinister Govindas Konthoujam Govindas stressed on the significant role by journalists in a democratic country like India. He also expressed concern over the working condition of the fourth pillar of the democracy adding that they were put in a dilemma while discharging their duties in restive states like Manipur.
Pressures from different sides to publish or not to publish news sometimes put them in a dilemma, he said.
“Media is the fourth estate of democracy. We should pay our respect to the journalists and support them,” Govindas said. He assured all possible assistance from the government side in taking up welfare programmes of the journalists. He said that as the present chief minister has a journalistic background, he was also aware of the pains and problems and the plus points of the profession.
State IPR Minister Sapam Ranjan lauded the role of journalists in the society.
He said, “It is a 24-hour duty job and one that needs huge labour. The present government is serious whenever the welfare of the journalists comes up.” The IPR Minister assured that the scheme of providing compensation to journalists and other grievances will be addressed.
The government will also look into the matter of shortage of staff at the IPR department and other pending issues, the IPR minister said.
He added that the matter of hiking pension amount for retired journalists under the government’s journalists’ pension scheme will be considered.
Earlier, AMWJU president Wangkhemcha Shamjai spoke at length about the plight of the journalists and media houses in the state. He said that while the journalists were having hard time dealing with pressures from the non-state actors, state-actors were interfering in their affairs. The president was referring to the frequent summoning of some journalists of the state including himself by the NIA in the recent time and being asked irrelevant questions in a particular case for which they were summoned.
As a part of the foundation day celebration, senior journalists and founder members of AMWJU were also felicitated.