Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi responding to crowd cheers at Hatta Kangjeibung, Impha

PM Modi Visits State, Launches 22 Projects; Amra Bangalee Challenges ILP; NIA announces Rs. 4-8 lakh Rewards for Clues in AR Ambush; Manipour Press Club Anniversary Held

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 4 visited Imphal and said the Northeast is now becoming the gateway to India’s development, as he inaugurated 13 projects worth around Rs 1,850 crore and laid the foundation stone of nine projects worth around Rs 2,950 crore. The projects relate to diverse sectors such as Road Infrastructure, Drinking Water Supply, Health, Urban Development, Housing, Information Technology, Skill Development, Art and Culture, among others.

Reports said, while addressing the people during the visit, Modi recalled that even before he became the prime minister, he visited Manipur many times and understands the pain of the people.

“That’s why after 2014, I have brought Delhi – Government of India to your doorstep… The North East, which Netaji called the gateway to India’s independence, is becoming the gateway to fulfilling the dreams of a new India,” he said.

During the visit, Modi laid the foundation stone of five National Highway projects to be built at a cost of over Rs 1,700 crore. He inaugurated the Steel Bridge built over the Barak River on NH-37, at a cost of over Rs 75 crore, which is expected to ease the traffic between Silchar and Imphal. He also dedicated to the people of Manipur 2,387 mobile towers built at a cost of around Rs 1,100 crore.

The Prime Minister also inaugurated a Rs 280 crore worth ‘Water Transmission system of Thoubal Multi-purpose project’, which will provide drinking water supply to the Imphal city; the Water Supply Scheme project built at the cost of Rs 65 crore, to provide safe drinking water to residents of 10 habitations of Tamenglong district and the ‘Augmentation of Senapati District Headquarter Water Supply Scheme’ built at a cost of Rs 51 crore to provide a regular water supply to the residents of the area.

Modi also inaugurated the ‘200-Bedded Covid Hospital at Kyamgei’ in Imphal which has been set up at a cost of about Rs 37 crore in collaboration with DRDO. He then laid the foundation stone of a ‘State of the Art Cancer Hospital’ in Imphal worth around Rs 160 crore on a PPP basis.

He inaugurated three projects under ‘Imphal Smart City Mission’, developed at a cost of more than Rs 170 crore, including the Integrated Command and Control Centre (ICCC)’, ‘Development of Western Riverfront on Imphal River (Phase I)’ and ‘Development of Mall Road at Thangal Bazar (Phase I)’.

Modi also laid the foundation stones of ‘Centre for Invention, Innovation, Incubation and Training (CIIIT)’ to be built in the state at a cost of about Rs 200 crore, and the construction of the Manipur Institute of Performing Arts at Gurgaon, Haryana, to be built at a cost of over Rs 240 crore.

Korungthang Leaves Cong, Joins NPF

D Korungthang, Congress MLA from Tengnoupal Assembly Constituency in Manipur on January 4 resigned as Member of Legislative Assembly of the Manipur Legislative Assembly (MLA) ahead of the forthcoming Manipur Legislative Assembly election.

Reports said K Meghajit, Secretary of Manipur Legislative Assembly, issued a bulletin on January 4, stating that following the resignation of D Korungthang, the 42 Tengnoupal Assembly seat has been declared vacant.

Later, Korungthang joined the Naga People’s Front (NPF) Manipur unit on January 5 ahead of the state assembly elections this year.

SC Seeks Response from Union and Manipur Govts on ILP

The Supreme Court of India has sought the response of the Union Government of India and the Manipur Government to a plea challenging the Inner Line Permit System (ILPS) in Manipur.

Reports said the SC on January 3 agreed to hear a PIL challenging the ILPS in Manipur and issued notice to the Union Government and the State government on the plea alleging that extension of the 140-year-old Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873 is “reminiscent of the colonial oppression and discrimination”.

The plea by an organisation Amra Bangalee challenged the permit system contending that it provides unbridled power to the State to restrict entry and exit of non-indigenous persons or those who are not permanent residents of Manipur.

The petition said, “The draconian ILP system is fundamentally opposed to the policies of social integration, development and technological advancement in the area beyond the Inner Line, apart from hampering tourism within the state, which is a major source of revenue generation for these areas.”

A Bench of Justices Abdul Nazeer and Krishna Murari issued notice in the matter and posted it for hearing after four weeks.

It may be mentioned that the Inner Line Permit System has been extended to Manipur by way of the Adaptation of Laws (Amendment) Order, 2019 (2019 order) which extends 140-year-old “colonial legislation” Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations, 1873 (BEFR).

The petitioner filed through Advocate Fuzail Ahmed Ayyubi also challenged the Manipur Inner Line Permit Guidelines, 2019.

The plea stated that the 2019 order violates fundamental rights of citizens guaranteed under Articles 14, 15, 19 and 21 of the Indian Constitution since it grants unqualified power to the state for restricting the entry and exit of non-indigenous persons.

Six Accused in Heirok Killing Remanded

The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Thoubal on January 4 sent the six accused persons who were arrested in connection with the murder of Ningthoujam Rohit at Heirok Part-II, Mayai leikai to 15-day judicial remand. Ningthoujam Rohit was shot dead in the wee hours of December 22 at Heirok, Thoubal in a poll-related violence.

Reports said the six accused persons in the alleged killing of Rohit were arrested on December 24 and remanded to police custody for 10 days. After the completion of 10-day police remand, they were produced before the chief judicial magistrate Thoubal, who sent them to 15-day judicial custody, on January 4.

The accused persons are Thokchom Henrik alias Naobi Singh, 29, son of Th Ibosana Singh of Heirok Part I Mayai Leikai; Khundongbam Nicky alias Anju Singh, 33, son of Kh Raghuchandra Singh of Heirok Part II Mayai Leikai; Laishram Biken Singh ,23, son of L Bimol Singh of Heirok Part II Mayai Leikai; Thokchom Bishworjit alias Putro Singh ,40, son of Th Ibochouba Singh of Heirok Part II Thokchom Leikai; Ningthoujam Panan Singh ,30, son of N Muhindro Singh of Heirok Part III Tourangbam Leikai; and Thokchom Sanathoi alias Lai Singh, 34, son of Th Dijen alias Lakpati Singh of Heirok Part II Mayai Leikai.

NIA Announces Reward for Info on AR Ambush

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on January 6 announced rewards ranging from Rs 4 lakhs to Rs 8 lakhs for “information of importance” on insurgents involved in the attack that killed an Assam Rifles colonel and his family in Manipur last November.

Reports said the 10 insurgents allegedly involved in the November 13, 2021 attack belong to the banned People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the Manipur Naga People’s Front (MNPF).

On November 13 last year, PLA and MNPF insurgents attacked a convoy with arms and explosives near Sialsih village on the Imphal-Tidim road under the Singngat Police Station of Manipur’s Churachandpur district. The attack resulted in death of five Assam Rifles personnel, including its Commanding Officer Colonel Viplav Tripathi, his wife and son. Those wanted for the incident include self styled Lt Col Chaoyai and Lt Col Sagolsem Inaocha.

Final Photo Electoral Rolls 2022 of Manipur Published

The chief electoral officer (CEO) Manipur Rajesh Agrawal on January 5 announced the final publication of Photo Electoral Rolls, 2022, at a press conference held at the CEO Office, Lamphelpat in Imphal.

Agrawal said the final photo electoral rolls of all 60 Assembly constituencies have been published by the respective Electoral Registration Officers (EROs). The total number of electors as on date of final publication is 20,34 966.

Briefing the media, the CEO Manipur said the general public/electors and representatives of political parties may verify the final photo electoral rolls at the offices of the EROs/AEROs and Booth Level Officers (BLOs) concerned may also be contacted for any clarification or they may also check on the Chief Electoral Officer, Manipur’s website

The gender ratio as on date of final publication is: 9,85,119 male, 10,49,639 female and the third gender is 208. The CEO also said there is overwhelming participation from female electors and they are much more proactive in the electoral process.

As per Final Roll 2022, the elector to Population Ratio (EP Ratio) is 57.70 per cent as compared to the Draft Electoral Roll figure of 55.81 per cent. With the increase of 65 new polling stations, the total number of polling stations is 2,959. There is a 95 per cent increase in the marking of persons with disabilities (PWDs) i.e. from 7,520 to 14,565.

PREPAK (Pro) Claims Responsibility for Ushoipokpi Blast

The People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (Progressive) – (PREPAK-Pro) claimed responsibility for the IED blast at Lilong Ushoipokpi in Thoubal district which killed one Assam Rifles personnel from Arunachal Pradesh and injured another one from Tripura.

Reports quoting a press statement issued by Th Eshingchaoba, assistant publicity secretary of the insurgency group stated that the IED blast at Lilong Ushoipokpi was the tactical action of the Cobra Task Force-3 of PREPAK (Pro).

COVID-19 Negative Report Made Mandatory to Enter Manipur

In view of the fresh surge in COVID-19 positive cases across several states in the country, the Manipur government Health services on January 6 notified that all passengers entering the state by air or road is mandated to carry negative COVID-19 RTPCR test report with effect from January 8.

The COVID-19 RTPCR test should be done within 48 hours of arrival or entering the state, the notification signed by the state Health director K Rajo Singh stated.

CM Calls Upon Media to Plays Role in Transforming Manipur

Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on January 6 said that media played a great role in transforming Manipur and extended his gratitude to the state media fraternity for the tireless efforts made in bringing about development and peace in the state.

The chief minister was speaking as chief guest at the celebration of the 47th foundation day of Manipur Press Club at its premises at Majorkhul in Imphal on January 6. The function was organised by the All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU).

Lauding the media fraternity, the Chief Minister said that high respect is given to those who are in this profession.

Expressing his concern about the future of the state, CM Biren appealed to media persons to analyse the prevailing scenario in the state and come up with a visionary plan for the coming generation.
AMWJU president Wangkhemcha Shamjai said that media fraternity of the state is facing so much challenges and working under great difficulties. He also narrated how AMWJU was formed and the Manipur Press Club was formed. He assured that AMWJU will take an initiative to increase the salary of people in the media fraternity as a responsible union.

The programme was also attended by Rajya Sabha MP Leishemba Sanajaoba and Editor’s Guild Manipur president Khogendra Khomdram as guests of honour. As a part of the programme, former Manipur Press Club secretaries and founding members of AMWJU were felicitated with gifts.

Freedom Fighters Statues Unveiled in Kangpokpi District

Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on January 7 virtually unveiled the statues of freedom fighters General Thangal and Chirai Thangal in Kangpokpi District and said that understanding the sacrifices made by them would instill a sense of patriotism among the youth of today.

“It gives me immense pleasure to virtually unveil the statues of our great freedom fighters; General Thangal and Chirai Thangal at Kangpokpi Dist. The statues will help our youths understand the sacrifices made by our freedom fighters and instill a sense of patriotism,” Biren said in a Twitter post on January 7.

Biren had laid the foundation stone of the statue of General Thangal in March 2021 and paid homage to the freedom fighter. While speaking at the event then, he said that General Thangal was one of the great leaders who fought against the mighty British to save the motherland. It is because of their contributions that the people of the state live their life freely today, he added.

MPCC Demands Removal of Union MoS Pratima Bhoumik

While condemning the recent violent activities carried out allegedly by the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) Manipur Pradesh in the presence of Union MoS for Social Justice and Empowerment Pratima Bhoumik, in front of the Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) gate, the Congress Party has demanded the authorities concerned to remove the minister from her post at the earliest. The Congress has also filed an FIR against BJYM president Barish Sharma.

Addressing the press at Congress Bhawan, BT Road on January 7, All India Congress Committee (AICC) Manipur in-charge, Bhakta Charan Das said the incident of burning the effigies of Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi on January 6 night in front of the MPCC gate that reportedly led to clash is highly condemnable and ‘unconstitutional’.

The violent activities were allegedly carried out and headed by Union MoS for Social Justice and Empowerment, Pratima Bhoumik and members and workers of BJP and were covered by the police forces, Das alleged.

The burning of effigies was incited by the said Union Minister, Das said, adding that conducting such violent activities by blocking the road is an offense and has never happened in the country before.

Das also questioned what prompted her to behave like that in a peace-loving state Manipur. An FIR will be lodged against her today itself, Das said, stating that anybody can stage a protest in front of the party office but should be in democratic manner.

Supplementing the press briefing, MPCC president N Loken said that setting on fire of Congress leaders’ effigies and attacking on MPCC executives and their youth wing members is very unfortunate. In connection with the incident an FIR was lodged in City Police against BJYM Manipur Pradesh president Barish Sharma.

He also condemned Manipur Police for remaining a mere spectator instead of controlling the clash. Head of the police department should draw some attention in this regard, the president said.

Candidate’s Election Expenses Limited to Rs 28 Lakhs for Manipur

With crucial State Assembly Elections coming up in five states of the country, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has revised and enhanced the limits of candidate’s expenses in an Assembly Constituency to Rs 28 lakh and Rs 40 lakh per candidate, depending on the size of the state. This has been increased from Rs 20 lakh and Rs 28 lakh from the last major revision in the election expenditure limit for candidates which was carried out in 2014; it will be applied to both the states and the Union Territories for all upcoming elections until further notice is made.

The commission also enhanced the expense limits for Parliamentary Constituencies from Rs 70 lakh to Rs 95 lakh and Rs 54 lakh to Rs 75 depending on the size of the state.

As per the notification by the Election Commission of India, the limit for candidate’s expenses in respect of Manipur for the state assembly election has been set at Rs 28 lakh, raised from Rs 20 lakh in the previous election; the limit for Parliamentary Constituency has been set at Rs 95 lakh.

A notice by the ECI stated that the last major revision in the election expenditure limit for candidates was carried out in 2014, which was further increased by 10% in 2020.

JCILPS Students Protest on ILP Issue

The students’ wing of the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) on January 7 protested in front of Kangla Western Gate against the case filed by an organisation based in West Bengal (Amra Bangalee) in the Supreme Court challenging the implementation of Inner Line Permit system in Manipur.

Reports said the student activists burnt an effigy of the secretary of Amra Bangalee, Bakul Chandra Roy, while shouting slogans that the fate of Manipuris cannot be decided by outsiders.

The police detained five student activists — Maibam Julesh, Leishangkhong Fajal, Harley Laishram, Salam Fernandesh and Mujahid Makakmayum. They were released later in the evening.

Later a press conference was held at the office of JCILPS at Keishampat. JCILPS, Students’ Wing convenor Haobijam Chalamba said that the ILP system was implemented in the state following intense agitations in which a student — Sapam Robinhood — lost his life. It is unfortunate that the state BJP government is taking credit for the implementation of ILP in the state, he said while adding that political parties should stop scoring political mileage out of it.

The plea in the Supreme Court came amidst demands by JCILPS that the existing system is not sufficient to fight the population invasion. The protest was held demanding the organisation to withdraw the plea, he added.

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