Manipur Government has sanctioned Rs. 46 Crore for developing Shirui Heritage Site. This was announced by Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren speaking at the inaugural function of 4th Shirui Lily festival on May 25 at Shirui village ground in Manipur’s Ukhrul District. The festival was inaugurated to continue till May 28 by Manipur Governor La Ganesan in the presence of Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren and his cabinet colleagues.
The amount has been sanctioned under the Ministry of Minority Affairs, Government of India. He said that due to Covid pandemic, the festival could not be organised in the last two years. “The state has become Covid free now,” he added.
The Chief Minister also highlighted the major projects initiated in Ukhrul district. He pointed out that rope ways from Mahadev to Shirui via Ukhrul have been earmarked. The state government has given top priority to it. He also laid stress on the need to minimise compensation and tax collection to ensure smooth undertaking of developmental projects in the district.
Concerning the upgrading of Pettigrew College Ukhrul, he said TNL president David Shimray has apprised him to elevate Pettigrew College to University level. “Among the hill districts of the state, priority is given to this college and one bus has been allotted for the college,” he added.
Governor La Ganesan, who attended as chief guest, said that the festival is annually celebrated in Manipur, and it aims to increase awareness about the ‘Shirui Lily’ flower, and develop sustainable and responsible tourism in Manipur, he said.
The Shirui Lily, which blooms from late May to early June, is known to the world due to its rarity, he further said, adding the flower is found only on the top of the Shirui Hill of Ukhrul District in Manipur. He further said that proper scientific study is needed so that the flower can continue to thrive in its original habitat.
More Communities Pledge Drugs War
More communities of Manipur continue to show their pledge against drugs and poppy plantation in their areas. The communities which join have recently joined Manipur Government’s War on Drugs 2.0 in support of Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren are Mao and Anal.
The Mao Council of Senapati district on May 26 declared the entire Mao area in Senapati district as a ‘drug free zone’ and took a stand against the poppy cultivation in support of the state government’s ‘war on drugs’ campaign.
A delegation of Mao Council, village chiefs, student organisations and women led by minister Letpao Haokip and MLA Losii Dikho met Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on May 26 and submitted a resolution of the tribe declaring Mao areas as ‘drug free zone’. The decision to declare the area as a drug free zone was taken during a consultative meeting held at Mao Council office located at Tadubi on May 20.
Five Arrested, Brown Sugar
While Manipur Government claims success in its War on Drugs 2.0 campaign, five persons were arrested and 2.273 kg brown sugar worth around Rs 4,54,60,000 were seized from their possession on May 24 along the Indo-Myanmar border.
A combined team of special commando unit, a column of 43 Assam Rifles and Chakpikarong police station apprehended the five persons with 2.273 kg brown sugar around 5 pm on May 24 during a joint patrol along the Indo-Myanmar border to thwart illegal infiltrations.
The apprehended persons have been identified as Seitinthang Haokip, 22, son of late Thangkhongam Haokip of Molcham Village Chandel district; Ngamminlun Guite, 25, son of Tonminthang Guite of Yangoubung village, Tengnoupal district; Seiminlun Guite, 24, son of Themsei Guite of Yangoubung village, Tengnoupal district; Seiminlal Guite, 16, son of Yangkhomang Guite of Yangoubung village Tengnoupal district and Doukhosei Mate, 35, son of Holkhothang Mate of Champol village, Chandel district.
Reports said while patrolling, the team received information regarding movement of drugs in a truck (Shaktiman) along the Indo-Myanmar border. However, the vehicle bypassed the joint patrolling party via an alternate route. Accordingly, Chakpikarong police personnel and special commando stopped and detained the vehicle bearing registration number MN04-4721.
On verification, the five occupants identified themselves and on further examination of the vehicle, a total of 186 soap cases containing suspected brown sugar were found hidden at the rear seat. A total cash of Rs 49,620 and five mobile phones were seized from their possession. Further, the arrested persons disclosed that the seized brown sugar was brought from Moreh for sale in Churachandpur, reports said.
MHRC Show Cause Notice to Govt
The Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC) on May 25 notified the Manipur government to submit a show cause as to why appropriate directions, including payment of interim monetary relief, should not be issued for alleged illegal arrest of advocate Sanoujam Shyamcharan.
The notification was issued through the chief secretary, DGP Manipur, SP- Imphal West, City Police OC after the MHRC registered a complaint case advocate Sanoujam Shyamcharan.
DGP Brokers Peace at Thangjing
Manipur’s Director General of Police (DGP) Paotinlal Doungel was successful in averting a communal crisis by resolving the Thangjing Hills controversy through negotiations with the major stakeholders on May 23.
As a result of intense negotiations, the Committee on Protection and Preservation of Historical Rights of Koubru and Thangjing Hill Range (CPPKT) and Kuki Students’ Organisation (KSO), Henglep Block and Churachandpur have revoked their statements on Thangjing Hill range issued on May 20 and May 5 respectively.
The CPPKT and KSO decided to withdraw their controversial statements after clearing all the misunderstandings during a meeting chaired by DGP, Manipur P Doungel at his office on May 23.
Abducted Driver and Handyman Released
A truck driver and handyman who were allegedly abducted have been reportedly released after irate locals of Khurai under the aegis of Khurai Social Youth Club (KSYC) blocked the Lamlong Keithel in Imphal East from May 22 morning in protest against the incident.
A sit-in protest was staged in the middle of the Imphal-Ukhrul road at the Lamlong Keithel. All markets, establishments and shops in and around Lamlong Keithel were made to shut-down as a part of the protest.
Truck driver Thangjam Pal from Khurai Puthiba Leikai and his handyman Maibam Mani of Khurai Chingangbam Leikai all in Imphal East district were alleged to be abducted by the ZUF cadres on May 19 from Nungba area in Tamenglong district, reportedly in connection with an unsettled monetary demand with one contractor Takhelmayum Robin who hired them to transport fertiliser from Jiribam on May 18.
Manipur to Have PNG, CNG Supply Soon
Manipur will soon have Piped Natural Gas (PNG) connections and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) supply, according to Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on May 27. The Indraprastha Gas Limited made a presentation on the feasibility of implementation of the City Gas Distribution project in Imphal and Greater Imphal areas to the Chief Minister at his office in Imphal. The City Gas Distribution project envisages providing PNG connections to all households in the capital city and supplying CNG for automobiles.
“Held a meeting with the representatives of Indraprastha Gas Ltd today. A presentation was made on the feasibility of providing Piped Natural Gas (PNG) in Imphal area as well as Compressed Natural Gas(CNG) for automobiles. The project aims to generate over 3000 jobs in the state,” CM Biren tweeted.
The supply to the city network will be made from North Eastern Gas Grid of Indradhanush Gas Grid Limited. Implementation of this project will secure kitchen and automobiles fuel supply in Imphal City and Greater Imphal area. The project will generate 3,000 direct and indirect jobs in the state, the chief minister’s office informed in a Facebook post.
CM Biren also expressed his desire to study the feasibility of extending the CGD network in all district headquarters, and the need to expedite the project to make natural gas supply available by 2024.
Women Protesters Demand Demarcation of Village Boundaries
Women protesters under five organisations staged a sit-in protest on May 25 at Ima Panthoibi community hall, Kadangband Part I, demanding immediate boundary demarcation of Kadangband village of Imphal West district and Ireng (Puilong) village of Kangpokpi district.
The five organisations – Singda Naharol Yaipha Thouni Lup, Kadangband Khun Development Committee, Kadangband Part-I Nupi Lup, Kadangband Part-II Nupi Lup and Kadangband Apunba Naharol, speaking to the media, said that the deputy commissioners of both Imphal West and Kangpokpi district had issued directions to conduct the boundary demarcation of the two villages within May 24 and 26.
Reports said volunteers of Kangchup Area Land Protection Committee interfered on May 24 and stopped the demarcation process. The five organisations strongly condemned such interference after both the villagers of Khadangband and Ireng had already agreed for the demarcation on May 13.
They urged outsiders not to interfere in the boundary settlement between the two villages, and appealed to the state government to take up the demarcation process so that a permanent boundary of the two villages may be settled, reports added.
CSOs Demand Severe Punishment For Mark T Haokip
At least 10 civil society organisations (CSOs) on May 27 demanded severe punishment for Mark Thangmang Haokip for allegedly describing freedom fighter Rani Gaidinliu as a criminal. Justifying its demand, the CSOs also expressed their concern Mark T Haokip may repeat the same towards other freedom fighters of Manipur, including Hijam Irabot and Bir Tikendrajit.
The civil bodies that voiced and raised the demand are International Peace and Social Advancement (IPSA); The All-Club Organisation Association and Meira Paibi Lup (ACOAM-Lup); People’s Action for National Democratic Movement (PANDM); Indigenous People’s Association of Kangleipak (IPAK); KANGLAMEI; Kabui Mothers’ Association (KAMA); Kanglei Ima Lup (KIL); Chanura Lamchinglel Kangleipak (CLK); Zeliangrong Union (ZU).
Reports quoting General Secretary of KAMA, Ranjita Golmei speaking as having said to media at its office located at Paona Bazar on May 27 said, “Mark does not have any knowledge of Manipur history for he is not a Manipuri”. Golmei further said such a person should be given the harshest punishment, “If the government let him free then in future, he could also criticise Hijam Irabot and Bir Tikendrajit as criminal”.
Earier least 13 persons, including three policemen, were injured in a clash that broke out between the police and supporters of International Human Rights Association (IHRA) president Mark Thangmang Haokip in Tuibong town, Churachandpur district.
The incident occurred a day after the arrest of International Human Right Association (IHRA) president Mark Thangmang Haokip. Mark Thangmang Haokip, 37, son of M Limkhosei Haokip, resident of Molnom west, Churachandpur, was arrested on May 24 afternoon at KishanGarh, New Delhi by a team of Manipur Imphal Police Station. Mark was brought to Imphal on transit remand from New Delhi on May 27 in connection with FIR case registered before City police in connection with a Facebook post that allegedly promoted enmity between communities.
Following Mark’s arrest, a large number of his supporters gathered at Peace ground in Churachandpur to organise a rally against the arrest.
Among the injured, 10 are civilians, of which four are reported to be in serious condition. They sustained injuries allegedly inflicted by teargas firing. Three policemen also reportedly sustained injuries due to the pelting of stones by the protesters.
The protesters bearing placards and chanting the slogan “release Mark Haokip”, “we want justice” and “where is the law” headed toward the Deputy Commissioner’s office of Churachandpur before they were stopped by the police.
Meanwhile, the Duty Magistrate, Imphal West on May 27 released human rights activist Mark Thangmang Haokip on bail but the court remanded him to 15-day judicial custody due to failure of furnishing the bail bond of Rs 1 lakh with sureties of two like amount.
Reports quoting Police statements said that Mark Haokip’s Facebook post creates or promotes enmity, hatred or ill will amongst the communities, thereby leading to confusion and affecting the sentiments of different sections of Manipur.
The court, after examining the materials, granted Mark Thangmang Haokip bail. However, Mark Thangmang Haokip failed to furnish the bail bond and like amount surety. Therefore, the court remanded him in 15-days judicial custody till June 10.
Three Arrested; Sandalwood, Heroin Powder Seized
Three people were arrested in two separate incidents following seizures of 160 kg sandalwood and 2.22 kg heroin powder from the possession of the arrested person.
While a team of Bishnupur district commandos seized around 160 kg of sandalwood and detained one person at around 8:30 am May 26, a team of Imphal East district commandos along with district police seized 2.22 kg heroin powder and arrested two drug peddlers at around 1:30 pm from Khabam Lamkhai, Imphal East district on May 24.
The incident in Bishnupur took place when a commando team, while performing normal duty at Ngangkha-Lawai near an oil pump along Tiddim Road, detained one A-Star car bearing registration number HR26AV-7357 for verification. During verification and checking of the car, four different packets, containing sandalwood with a total weight around 160 kg, were detected.
The boxes were seized at the spot.
The owner-cum-driver of the car, identified as Md Hussain Ahamad Choudhury, 31, son of Haji Tahamatullah Choudhury of Kwakta Bazaar, along with the seized goods, have been handed over to District Forest Officer for taking further necessary action.
Meanwhile, the arrested persons of the Imphal East incident have been identified as one Abhinash Koli, 30, son of Pasuram Koli of Mantripukhri Devi Lane (Driver) and one Sagar Sharma, 18, son of Deepak Sharma of Kanglatombi Durga Mandir presently staying at Senapati Wokha Bazar.
Acting on a specific information, the police team, along with district commando, detained one truck bearing registration number MN06T 1820 at Khabam Lamkhai near Sushma Photo Studio for verification, reports said.
After adhering to procedures and in the presence of district magistrate and gazetted officer, 176 soap cases of suspected heroin powder weighing about 2.228 kg were found which were concealed inside a spare tyre of the said truck. Both the occupants of the vehicles were arrested and the detected items were also seized at the spot by observing necessary formalities, reports added.