Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

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The recently opened Kangla Nongpok Thong

Olympian Park Opened; Governor Inaugurates Unau Suopui Cultural Festival at Pherzawl; Kangla Nongpok Thong Opened; Fate of Democracy Uncertain Under BJP Rule: Ibobi

Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren hands over the Manipur Olympian Park, which has already been inaugurated by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah on January 6, to the public on January 13, 2023.

The Manipur Olympian Park constructed has been constructed under the initiative of Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren at Sangaithel area in Imphal West district in honour of the 19 Olympians from Manipur to encourage the sportpersons and athletes of the state.

Speaking as the Chief Guest of the handing over ceremony, CM Biren acknowledged the contributions of local clubs in moulding the careers of the 19 Olympians who brought laurels to the country and earned respect for the state.

He referred to the Olympians as ‘Living Legends’ and appealed towards creating a healthy society free from drugs. Acknowledging the rich sporting culture and love for sports, the state has been referred as the ‘Powerhouse of Sports’, and the first National Sports University has been set up in the state, he added.

CM Biren said that suitable government jobs have been given to the sportspersons who won gold medals at national and international level as a part of a one-time solution in the past. The same will be continued in the near future, he stated.

Cabinet ministers Govindas Konthoujam, Nemcha Kipgen, Leishangthem Susindro Meitei, Heikham Dingo, Thounaojam Basantakumar, Khasim Vashum, Chairpersons, MLAs, Government officials, Olympians and their family members attended the function, reports added.

Governor Inaugurates Unau Suopui Festival

Manipur Governor La Ganesan visited Pherzawl district on January 12, 2023. The Governor inaugurated Unau Suopui Cultural Festival at Parbung Ground in Pherzawl district and interacted with district level officers, representatives of civil society organisations, women leaders among others.

Governor La Ganesan listened to the issues and grievances raised by the people in the newly created district and assured to extend all possible help in the larger interest of the people.

Reports said he expressed that it was gratifying to note that 26 Cultural Troupes including Aimol, Anal, Chiru, Hmar, Lamkang and many others were participating in the mega cultural festival. Although the communities originated from Ruong-Le-Vaisuo, popularly known as Tipaimukh, they have been found scattered in Manipur, Assam, Mizoram, Tripura, etc., he said.

However, these communities share similarities in their language, songs, dances, indigenous games and sports, and these tribes have been harmoniously living together for the last more than four centuries, the Governor said.

The Ruong-Le-Vaisuo Unau Suopui Cultural Festival will certainly provide a platform to meet all the tribes who have already been settled down at different places of the Northeast. He said the festival symbolizes peace, harmony and unity rising above the barriers of caste, creed or religion, and embraces one and all to strengthen the social fabric more than ever and bring prosperity to all the communities irrespective of caste, creed and religion in the state, reports added.

MPCC wants Amit Shah to Apologise

The Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) on January 8 said the Union Home Minister Amit Shah owes an apology to the people for his remarks on Manipur history. The Manipur COngress demands clarification from the Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren and State BJP President Aribam Sharda for distorting the history of Manipur.

Addressing mediapersons in Imphal on January 8, the MPCC President Keisham Meghachandra likened Amit Shah to modern Shantidas Gosai for his remarks on Manipur history during his visit to the State on January 6, claiming that the descendants of Manipur are sons of Arjun, reports said.

Amit Shah evoked the 3000-year-old history of Manipur and said that Arjuna of Mahabharat married a woman from Manipur and their sons participated in the battle of Kurukshetra.

Stressing that such misinterpretation and falsification of Manipur’s history is unacceptable; Meghachandra said Amit Shah owes an apology to the people of Manipur.

There was also distortion of the history of Manipur by the Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren in 2018 speaking at Porbandar in Gujarat that Krishna married Meitei Ningol (woman). BJP tried to take Manipuri to Hindutva, the BJP’s RSS vision, the MPCC President said.

Addressing the mediapersons, former Chief Minister and Congress Legislature Party leader Okram Ibobi said he hopes the historians of Manipur will put up the fact. History should not be contradicted, misinterpreted or else it will defect Manipur, reports added.

Ibobi Counters the BJP Claims

Addressing mediapersons on January 8 at Congress Bhavan in Imphal former Manipur Chief Minister and opposition leader Okram Ibobi said it is a good joke that the BJP claims the Congress government did not do anything for the state and that before the BJP government came, the state lacked infrastructure.

“RIMS was established during the Congress period and from that time many outsiders came to the institute for study. NIT was established during the Congress period and still many outside students come for study,” Ibobi said and asked what is new in that for the BJP to claim that students now don’t go outside anymore for studies. What pride is it in there, he added.

Ibobi also stated that the Act East Policy has not brought any changes in the state. Union Home Minister Amit Shah stated that the Look East Policy was only looking, not acting; and now what about Act East Policy, asked Ibobi, stating he has seen no changes, reports said.

The former CM also stated that many projects and developmental works were in progress during the Congress reign but were not completed. The construction of pony statue was under Integrated Mega Tourism Project that started during the Congress period, he said and added that the statue alone will not preserve nor protect the pony. Questioning further if the Marjing polo statue is enough to help preserve pony in the state, Ibobi said that construction of statue and conservation should be taken up simultaneously.

Ibobi further questioned why disturbed area tag is not removed fully from the state if the BJP claims that the law-and-order condition of the state is good and there is no insurgency issue. Is it due to the Act East Policy that the special category status of Manipur has been removed but not the disturbed area tag, Ibobi asked.

Manipur has no resources despite having its Special Category status removed and the current Act East Policy has not changed anything despite the name changed from Look East Policy that was given by the Congress with a vision for development of Manipur and the Northest when connected with South East Asian countries, reports said.

He expressed concern for the future of Manipur, stating that drug problem in Manipur is increasing and even a factory or industry of drugs may have been established in the state as plantation of poppy is wide.

Reports said during the Congress period there was transportation of illegal drugs through Myanmar or South East Asia. There was an issue of shifting cultivation that caused destruction of hill terrain but now large-scale poppy plantations are destroying and clearing the hills. It is time to discuss it properly to save the future, Ibobi added.

Fate of Democracy Uncertain Under BJP Rule: Ibobi

The Congress Legislature Party (CLP) and former Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi on January 8 said that the ruling party has snatched the freedom of speech and expression from the people, and the fate of the Indian democracy has become uncertain in the hands of the BJP.

Ibobi said this while speaking at the ‘Leader’s Meet for the Unit Level Committee Members, Youths and Mahilas under the BCC Thoubal’ organised by Thoubal Block Congress Committee (TBCC) at the office complex of Thoubal district Congress Committee, reports said.

“What is the value of democracy without the fundamental right to express one’s thoughts?” he questioned.

The people’s opinion about the ruling party which bullies and silences the people to get what they want will be reflected in the coming election, he added.

Ibobi continued that the term of office of a party is unpredictable in a democratic nation and to follow the constitution of democracy is the principle of the Congress party. He also mentioned that the Congress party introduced the ‘Bharat Joro Yatra’ to save the value of democracy.

During the event which was attended by TBCC members, Youths and Mahilas along with the former councilors, the newly appointed members of the Thoubal District Congress Committee (TDCC) were also felicitated, reports added.

Third Assembly Session

Manipur Governor La Ganesan on January 12 issued an order, summoning the third session of the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly to convene at 11 am on February 2, 2023 in the Assembly Hall in Imphal.

The order was issued by the governor in exercise of the powers conferred by Clause (1) of Article 174 of the Constitution of India, the order added.

Lawyers Shun Courts in Protest

Lawyers in Manipur abstained from attending courts in protest against the alleged assault of a lady advocate while the Judicial Magistrate First Class-1, Imphal West on January 13 remanded the 27-year-old accused in 15-day judicial custody till January 27.

Condemning the assault with an attempt to outrage the modesty of the lady advocate, advocates of Manipur on January 13 abstained from their duties and even cases in High Court and lower courts were postponed, with only urgent matters being taken up, reports said.

Earlier, the All-Manipur Bar Association (AMBA) had issued a notice calling all members of AMBA to abstain from their duties on January 13 from 11:30 am till the end of the court in solidarity with the lady advocate.

As per the AMBA notice, the accused Longjam Rohit, 27, son of L Jibonkumar of Thangmeiband Maisnam Leikai, Imphal West was not represented before the court.

Meanwhile, an advocate appeared on behalf of the victim before the court. Showing solidarity with the victim, several advocates were present at the court complex. The advocates did not participate but appeared in court proceedings and only proxy counsels took the next date of hearing in various matters, reports added.

It may be mentioned that the High Court Bar Association of Manipur and All Manipur Bar Association have strongly condemned the physical assault with an attempt to outrage the modesty of a lady advocate.

]According to police record, the lady advocate, N Tejpriya Devi, was returning from the High Court of Manipur on January 10 at around 10:50 am and stopped at Nagamapal Phougeishangbam Leikai due to traffic when a Hero Pleasure driven by one person with a pillion rider hit on the back side of her two-wheeler. The lady advocate told the driver of the vehicle to apologize. However, the pillion rider (the accused) shouted at her, slapped her, assaulted, mocked and insulted with harsh words in front of the public.

The alleged accused Longjam Rohit, 27, son of L Jibonkumar of Thangmeiband Maisnam Leikai in Imphal West was arrested following the lady advocate’s complaint on January 10. During police interrogation, he informed that he, along with his friend Suaihiamthai from Khoupum Satudai village, was going to Uripok and on the way their vehicle hit the lady advocate vehicle and told them to apologize. According to Jibonkumar, they stopped and apologized but were not sure if the lady advocate heard them, reports added.

Excavation Work of Longest Tunnel Completed

The excavation work of tunnel-12, which was posing a major challenge for the completion of the Jiribam-Imphal railway line, has been successfully completed, the Northeast Frontier Railway (Construction) said on January 11. It said the remaining small tunnels will be completed by March 2023.

Reports said the tunnel-12, covering a total length of 10.275 km with a parallel safety tunnel of 8.30 km on the new Jiribam-Imphal railway line, is the longest tunnel of the Northeast Frontier Railway. NF Railway chief engineer (NF-7) Vikas Gupta told mediapersons on January 11 that tunnel-12 passes through the most complex geological strata and the project cannot be completed without the completion of this tunnel. The tunnel-12, connecting the hills to the Imphal valley, is critical for the completion of the Tupul-Imphal section, the chief engineer said.

“The ongoing tunnel construction is being accomplished by cutting through fragile and soil type strata. The attendant challenges are being tackled on a daily basis through strict 3D monitoring and proactive application of desired tunnel support systems in accordance with the New Austrian Tunnelling Method (NATM). The railway has taken up tunnelling work in a big way with successful completion of high altitude and mountainous tunnels in Jiribam-Imphal New BG Line Project,” the chief engineer added.

Karing Ngei Celebrated

The 22nd Karing Ngei also known as the Festival of the Living was celebrated at Nungtek Part 1, Church complex in Tamenglong district on Janaury 12. The programme was organised by Karuangmuan-Nungtek Youth club in collaboration with Karuangmuan-Nungtek Women’s Union.

‘Karing-Ngei’ means The ‘Festival of Living’ and it is the biggest festival of the Inpui Naga tribe which is celebrated in the month of January every year. It is a celebration for honoring the ancestors and village champions who sacrificed their lives in protecting the villagers against the enemies. This festival is particularly meant for the menfolk. They make a figure of man which is known as ‘Tabaan Khwanu’.

It is also celebrated to showcase the culture, tradition and strength of the Inpui tribe. The living festival mainly focuses on the traditions and customs of the Inpui Naga tribe to preserve culture and respect. Lighting of sacred fire, cultural dance, choreography were the main highlights of the event. The games played by forefathers and traditional dance like pole-climbing, ‘Tampaang Kaapnu’ etc. were also performed, reports added.

Kangla Nongpok Thong Opened

Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on January 10 handed over the newly restored “Kangla Nongpok Thong” (Kangla Eastern Gate) after reconstruction of Kangla Nongpok Thong (Kangla Eastern Bridge) over Imphal River to the public in the presence of Rajya Sabha MP Leishemba Sanajaoba. It was already inaugurated by Union Home Minister Amit Shah during his recent visit to the state on Janaury 6, 2023.

Reports said speaking at the handing over ceremony, Chief Minister Biren said the public can now visit the sacred Kangla from Kangla Nongpok Thong and the Kangla Western gate will remain closed from January 10. He said the Kangla Nongpok Thong will be manned by Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) personnel with traditional uniform. Vehicles will not be allowed to enter from the Kangla Western gate, if necessary then the vehicles will be allowed to enter from Kangla Northern gate, Biren added.

The Chief Minister said the road from Kangla Eastern Gate towards DC, Imphal East office will be made with 2 lanes and appealed to the people residing adjacent to the gate and along the road to cooperate with the developmental work in order to bring a historic scenic beauty.

It may be mentioned that the Kangla Nongpok Thong was constructed with Imphal Smart City Limited (ISCL) as the Funding Agency and Manipur Police Housing Corporation Limited (MPHC Ltd) as the Work Agency.

Poppy Plantation Destroyed In CCpur

A combined team of security forces of Churachandpur district on January 12 destroyed 30 acres of poppy plantation at Saheiphai which is located between Tuilelung and Pungpui Village in Churachandpur district.

Reports said that based on intelligence from the chief of Saikot Village that some unknown individuals have illegally cultivated poppy plants in the village, a team of Churachandpur police led by additional SP (Ops), 1st IRB and SDO/SDM Saikot went to the site at 9.30 am and destroyed around 30 acres of poppy which had been estimated to yield 120 kgs of opium worth about Rs 1.5 crore.

“The destruction of the illicit plantation was completed around 2 pm but the identities of the cultivators are still to be established,” the sources said. A case under FIR No 4(1)2023 CCP-PS u/s 18©/29 ND & PS Act has been registered for further investigation, the reports added.

Poppy Destroyed In Noney District

A security team destroyed four hectares of poppy field at T Khongmol Kuki Village, Nungba Sub Division Noney district on January 9. The joint team of Manipur Police was led by additional SP Noney Sangboi Gangte, OC Nungba Police station, Nilamani Singh, RO Nungba Forest Oinam Pamheiba, OC 39 Assam Rifles Nungba Outpost Shimray and Rongmei Naga Students’ Organization Manipur (RNSOM) president Daichui.

Reports quoted Nungba Police Station OC Nilamani as saying that we destroyed at least 4 hectares of poppy plantations today at T Khongmol, Longpi Circle under Nungba Police Station in collaboration with different Government agencies including RNSOM.

It is surprising to see that such massive plantations are still carried out despite several requests, appeals and warnings from the government. Search and survey drives of Poppy plantations will continue and they will be destroyed if found in the coming days, he maintained.

OPD Shutdown Begins in govt Hospitals

Government run hospital across Manipur were crippled on January 9 owing to the suspension of Outpatient Department (OPD) services by All Manipur Health Services Doctors’ Association (AMHSDA).

Reports said patients visiting OPD were left with little or no choice as service came to a halt in hospitals. Many hospitals, particularly the JNIMS rescheduled patient appointments and communicated the suspension of OPD services to patients. However, emergency care services were not affected.

It may be mentioned that the AMHSDA on January 5 announced to shutdown OPD services in all the Government hospitals from January 9 followed by an indefinite shutdown in connection with its demands.

The four demands of the AMHSDA were the time bound/scale promotion; extension of superannuation age of specialist and non-specialist doctors to 65 years as administrative post as per the declaration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi; inclusion of Non-Practicing Allowance (NPA) in the basic pay with effect from January 1 of 2016 as per the 7th Central Pay Commission; and Major Amendment of the outdated MHS Rules 1982.

AMHSDA General Secretary Dr Lolee P Mao stated that as the government had agreed to put up the four demands of the Association in the December 2022 cabinet meeting, AMHSDA had earlier suspended its proposed 2-day OPD shut down and indefinite closure from December 27. Another cabinet meeting was held on January 2 but without taking up the four demands of AMHSDA.

The four demands were the time bound/scale promotion; extension of superannuation age of specialist and non-specialist doctors to 65 years as administrative post as per the declaration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi; inclusion of NPA in the basic pay with effect from January 1 of 2016 as per the 7th Central Pay Commission; and Major Amendment of the outdated MHS Rules 1982, the AMHSDA said.

189th Death Anniversary of Meidingu Gambhir Singh Observed

The 189th Death Anniversary of Meidingu Chinglen Nongdren Khomba (Maharaj Gambhir Singh) was observed by the State Government of January 9, 2023 at the Samadhi of Maharaja which is located at Langthabal, Canchipur in Imphal West.

Speaking as Chief Guest at the observation Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren said preserving and protecting the historic statues and monuments will make the new generations aware of the contribution made by the forefathers of Manipur and strengthens the feeling of nationalism.

The present generation is living with freedom due to the contributions made by the forefathers including the heroic efforts of Maharaj Gambhir Singh, Meidingu Narsingh and Sana Herachandra, he said. “There is a need to have a clear concept and understanding of the land’s history, beliefs, information and data to educate people from outside. The historians and researchers are encouraged to publish articles on history based on the truth and facts,” he added.

As a part of the function, the Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren led the offering of floral tributes to Maharaj Gambhir Singh, Meidingu Narasingh and Sana Herachandra. Other highlights of the function include a guard of honour, gun salute, sounding of the Last Post by a contingent of Manipur Rifles, paying of obeisance to Dhop Pala performance, tarpon offerings, and inauguration of a cafeteria, etc., reports added.

CM Joins Laii (Vafiimai) Day Celebration

Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on January 11 inaugurated (Vafiimai) Day which was celebrated under the theme, ‘Our Culture, Our Identity’. The event was held at the local ground of Laii village under Senapati district of Manipur.

Addressing the function as Chief Guest, Biren highlighted the launching of the ‘Go to Hills’ and ‘Go to Village’ schemes in the earlier term. “The government understands the difficulties of life in far-flung villages. Therefore, in its second term, the government is giving first priority to interior villages and border areas under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Biren said.

Senapati is a strategically important area, and it can be fully developed by taking advantage of the national highway which passes through the district. We are trying to create a city-like atmosphere in the district with due consultation with civil organisations like NPO and students union, etc,” he said.

Biren further called on the people to remain united and live together. He urged all to forgive and forget past mistakes and move forward unitedly.

Village chairman Th Kapani in his welcome address said Laii (Vafiimai) Day is celebrated every five years to commemorate the innumerable blessings which the people have received since time immemorial, and to showcase the rich cultural heritage of the village, reports said.

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