SAPO Lifts Ban on Mao Community in Southern Angami Area
The Southern Angami Public Organisation (SAPO) announced that it is lifting the restriction imposed on the Mao community within its jurisdiction with effect from March 21, following the advice given by its parent body, the Angami Public Organisation (APO).
The Angami Public Organisation (APO) resolved to take over the contentious SAPO matter at hand during an ‘APO Extra-ordinary Meeting’ that was held on March 17 with its executive members, presidents of all frontal organisations, advisory board members and intellectuals, stated a release.
SAPO had imposed restrictions on the movement of Manipur’s Mao community in within its jurisdiction, Southern Angami area “to protest the unfair occupation of Manipur state government’s security forces and imposing CrPC 144 within the heart of Kezoltsa, which is currently in dispute, to construct roads and carry out other development activities,” it mentioned. The restriction was imposed from midnight of December 15, 2022 till March 20, the release stated.
It may be mentioned that a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court on March 13 has asked the Government of India (GOI) to look into the issue of complete ban on settlement, residency, trade & commerce and movement of the Mao Tribe members in areas under the control of Southern Angami in Nagaland including National Highway No.2 (Asian Highway No.1).
The Supreme Court has listed the matter to be heared on March 27, 2023 since it needed to be addressed in an urgent manner.
The directive followed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed, in connection with the current blockade and quit notice imposed/served by the Southern Angami Public Organization (SAPO) of Nagaland on Manipur’s Mao Community, under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution by Khurajam Athouba, current Convener of the Mao-Imphal Market Co-Ordination Committee and Vice President of IPSA.
Rs 63 Crore Lamjingba property attached
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on March 20 submitted a charge sheet against Sanasam Jacky, Chairman of the Lamjingba Group of Companies, and others before the Special Judge Prevention of Money Laundering Act Imphal East under section 4 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002. The ED has also provisionally attached immovable/movable properties worth Rs 63,18,52,275 (book value) belonging to Sanasam Jacky Singh and his associates in a Ponzi scheme, out of total POC of Rs 600 crore (approx).
The charge sheet of the Enforcement Directorate was submitted against Sanasam Jacky, son of late Sanasam Kulla of Babu Bazar; Mutum Robindro, son of Mutum Tomba of Babu Bazar; Lamjinba Management Service Private Limited; Lamjingba Hotel and Resort Private Limited; Lamjingba Motors Private Limited; Lamjingba Dairy Private Limited; Lamjingba Infra Development Private Limited; Lamjingba Jewellery Private Limited and Lamjingba Times Private Limited (all represented through its chairman cum managing director Sanasam Jacky).
2246 PDS Rice Bags in Six Trucks Found In Churachandpur
A patrolling unit of Churachandpur police on March 20 found six heavy duty trucks loaded with 2246 Public Distribution System (PDS) rice bags and registered a GD (General Diary) entry as the items were reportedly taken from the Food Corporation of India (FCI) godown at Tualnuam in Manipur’s Churachandpur District.
Reports quoting police sources said the rice bags were meant for public distribution in Churachandpur, Saikot, Singngat and Henglep Assembly Constituencies. In connection with it, the MLAs of Churachandpur, Saikot, Singngat and Henglep Assembly Constituencies held a meeting with the deputy commissioner, Churachandpur district on March 21.
The meeting decided upon the District Supply Officer, Churachandpur as the sole authority for the issuance of PDS rice and as such, will be held accountable for matters relating to the same, reports said.
The PDS rice bags stuffed in the six trucks will be returned to the respective godowns for distribution to the public, reports added.
CSOs Mourn Irom Singhajit’s Dead
Civil society organision (CSOs), human rights groups and various organisations in Manipur on March 19 mourned the untimely passing away of human rights defender Irom Singhajit on March 14 and extended condolences to his family.
A release signed by Managing Trustee of Just Peace Foundation (JPF) Khangembam Anandi stated that AMKIL, Nupi Samaj, Tammi Chingmi, Khwairamband Keithel Semgat Sagutpa Apunba Nupi Lup, Paona Keithel, Women Organization, Nongpok Leingak Apunba Nupi Lup, EEVFAM, Human Rights Alert and Just Peace Foundation expressed their condolences on the sudden departure of human rights defender Irom Singhajit.
“Many of us here knew him personally and he was well-loved among our network of activists. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family during this period of mourning,” it stated.
Irom Singhjit was born on April 28, 1959 in Kongpal Khaidem Leikai, Porompat. He is the fourth child among nine siblings of Late Irom Nanda and Irom Sakhi. He first started his social work activities in rural areas as Agriculture Officer in Manipur’s pioneer non-governmental organisation, Citizen Volunteer Training Centre (CVTC) during the late 80s.
After leaving CVTC, he started supporting his youngest sister, Irom Sharmila’s struggle for the repeal of AFSPA from the day one of her fasting in 2000 throughout her 16 years of fasting till it ended in 2016, the release added.
In 2007, he went to Korea to receive the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights on behalf of his sister Sharmila. Soon after returning from Korea, he and other prominent local activists started an organisation, Just Peace Foundation (JPF) and was involved in organising the ‘Festival of Hope Justice and Peace’ across Manipur to disseminate message of peace and justice inviting several dignitaries from India and abroad including Indonesia, South Korea, Nepal, etc.
He attended the UN Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva, Switzerland at least 3 times in 2015 and 2016 to deliver a message of gross human rights violation and the repeal of AFSPA in Manipur and elsewhere, the release added.
10,000 Bio-Input Resource Centres
Union Minister of State for External Affairs and Education, Dr. RK Ranjan on March 19 said 10,000 Bio-input Resource Centres will be established across India in the next three years under the Union government subsidy to push the growth of natural farming.
Union Minister of State Dr. Ranjan was speaking at the valedictory function of the three-day international conference on Natural Farming for Revitalizing Environment and Resilient Agriculture at College of Agriculture, Central Agricultural University, Imphal.
Dr. Ranjan stated that the government decided to take initiative realizing the importance and practicality of implementing natural farming methods for farmers in the country. The Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana and the Bhartiya Krishi Paddhati Yojana are being implemented in the country to transform the farming methods in line with natural farming, he added.
“In Union budget 2023-2024, the Central government concluded to transform one crore farmers into natural farmers in the next three years,” he said.
Crackdown Against Chinese Made Kenbo Bikes
At least 28 ‘Kenbo bikes’ were seized as Manipur police launched a special drive against use of foreign origin Chinese made motorbikes and other vehicles in the state. Chinese-made Kenbo bikes, very popular in the neighbouring country Myanmar, are also in high demand in the hill districts of Manipur bordering Myanmar.
Reports quoting police sources said that so far the police have seized at least 28 ‘Kenbo bikes’ during drives launched at the border districts of Kamjong and Churachandpur districts.
This bike is said to be illegally sold in the black market and seen widespread in the interior hill areas without registration numbers. The ban and crackdown came amid the reports of using these bikes for cross border drug smuggling.
Meitei Pangals Pledge Support to ‘War on Drugs’
A conglomerate of 12 Meitei Pangal organisations in Manipur on March 20 took a pledge to support CM N Biren’s “War on Drugs 2.0”.
Speaking to the media at the pledge-taking event held in Lilong Keithel, the Convenor of Meitei Pangal Council, Manipur, Haji Arafat Khullakpam, appreciated the war on drugs campaign in the state initiated by Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren.
“Uprooting the drug culture in the state is a must to save the youths of the state and every community should support it,” he added. He further spoke against mass illegal poppy plantations in the state by deforestation which leads to climate change in the state. He also mentioned about the current water scarcity issue faced in the state, reports said.
Members of Manipur Muslim Welfare Organization, Meitei Pangal Council, All Manipur Muslim Students Organization, Pangal Students Organization, All Manipur Muslim Welfare and Development Organization, Muslim Students Association, Manipur Muslim Online Forum, PYDC, ADCCM and Lilong Bazar Development Committee attended the pledge taking event, reports added.
Seven Student Bodies Demand NRC Update
Representatives of seven student organisations of Manipur on March 20 submitted a memorandum to the Union Home Minister Amit Shah on the need for updation of the National Register of Citizenship (NRC) in Manipur.
In the memorandum, the student bodies stated that Manipur, prior to its merger with the dominion of India in 1949, had strict regulations for outsiders in visiting and settling in Manipur and this regulation was done away with by the then Chief Commissioner Himmat Singh in 1950, opening a floodgate for outsiders to come and settle in Manipur, which is a small state of 22327 sq km comprising 0.7 per cent of the land surface of India.
The population growth suddenly shot up beyond imagination since then. The decadal population growth rate was only 12.08 per cent for the decade 1941 to 1951. But, the sharp increase in the decadal growth rate after the abolition of Entry and Exit Permit System by the then Chief Commissioner in 1950 resulted in a sharp increase in the growth rate, the memorandum stated.
The increase can only be explained by migration from neighbouring countries and states, and cannot be defined by natural birth, the student bodies said.
The seven student bodies are the All Naga Students’ Association Manipur (ANSAM), All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU), Manipuri Students’ Federation (MSF), Democratic Students’ Alliance of Manipur (DESAM), Kangleipak Students’ Association (KSA), Students’ Union of Kangleipak (SUK) and the Apunba Ireipakki Maheriroi Sinpanglup (AIMS).
The people of Manipur has been demanding the updation and implementation of the NRC through the available records as done in Assam with 1951 as the base year as Manipur joined the Union of India on October 15, 1949, the student bodies stated and demand that the NRC be updated in Manipur with 1951 as the base year.
Illegal Immigrants verification drive
Taking cognizance of the demand being raised by students and other organisations for updation of National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Manipur, the Manipur government is preparing for a verification drive in Manipur’s five districts to identify illegal immigrants. The five districts, which share a 398 km long international border with Myanmar, include Chandel, Kamjong, Tengnoupal, Pherzawl and Churachandpur.
Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren chaired a review meeting on March 17 to review the preparations for the verification drive to be taken up in five districts to identify illegal immigrants staying in Manipur.
“I believe that it is the state government’s bounden duty to protect the indigenous population, and we will take up all necessary means to carry out our responsibilities,” the Chief Minister said in a Facebook post.
The review meeting was held against the backdrop of the recent arrest of a couple from Myanmar held for staying without any legal documents from Phayeng Kharang Khunou village in Imphal West district, sources said.
Liuwtoh Phanit Festival 2023 Celebrated
The five-day long ‘Liuwtoh Phanit’, a seed sowing festival as one of the biggest traditional agricultural festivals of the Tangkhuls in Manipur was concluded on March 20 at Phadang (Phalee) village in Manipur’s Ukhrul district. It is celebrated by the Tangkhul villages in Ukhrul district every year with great fanfare.
The festive event was attended by village headman and leaders of various villages located in the Lungchong Meiphai (LM) Block among others, was held at the village ground in Ukhrul district.
As many as 150 indigenous farm seeds and traditional handloom items of the Tangkhul community in Manipur were displayed at the exhibition of indigenous seeds, culture and traditions held on the last day of the ‘Liuwtoh Phanit’ festival at Phadang (Phalee) village in Ukhrul district of Manipur.
Phadang village has been celebrating the festival for five long days, heralding the beginning of seed sowing for the year. The festival is celebrated in an effort to preserve the culture and indigenous seeds of crops grown in the village. Rice, maize, potato, and cabbage among others are the main crops cultivated by the villagers in Phalee. Phadang also known as Phalee is located west of Ukhrul in Ukhrul district, Manipur, and is rich in flora and fauna as it lies in the Indo-Burma Biodiversity Hot-Spot Region.
One Arrested With Three Kg Opium
One drug dealer was arrested and a huge amount of drugs, including three kg of suspected opium, was seized from his possession in Churachandpur district, Manipur on March 22. According to the Churachandpur police, the arrested person has been identified as one Henkholen Lupheng, 30, son of late Thangngam Lupheng of M Semoul in Churachandpur.
The arrest took place during a search operation conducted after the police received information at 11.30 am on March 22 that one Henkholen Lupheng was selling huge quantity of opium at his residence, reports said.
During the search, three everyday packets containing suspected Opium weighing 1 (one) kg each making it 3 (three) kg; 6.5 kg of opium seeds; two mobile phones and one digital weighing machine were recovered from the house of Henkholen, police said.
JAC plea on widening Sanjenthong-Minuthong Road
The Joint Action Committee (JAC) formed in connection with the Manipur Government’s proposal for road expansion from Sanjenthong to Minuthong bridge along the eastern side of Imphal River has urged the government to reduce the proposed width to seven metres on humanitarian ground.
The JAC submitted a memorandum to the chief minister with the demand to reduce the proposed width to seven metres.
In the memorandum, it is mentioned different communities such as the Kabuis, Tangkhuls, Kukis, Kom, Meetei Pangals, Meeteis, etc. have been settling along the stretch from Sanjenthong up to Minuthong along the eastern side of Imphal River for over a century.
The proposed expansion of I.V.R. along the Imphal River from Sanjenthong up to Minuthong on the pretext of the implementation of the project-‘Development of Eastern River Front (Road)’ under the Imphal Smart City Mission would require the acquisition of land that is currently occupied by these settlements. However, the residents of these settlements have been living here for generations and are deeply rooted in the community. They have built their homes, raised their families, and established their businesses here.
The demarcation was conducted as a follow up action of the order issued by deputy commissioner, Imphal East Khumanthem Daina Devi on March 16.
The order mentioned that the demarcation is conducted to develop a 2-lane road from Sanjenthong to Minuthong (2.20km) with a minimum width of 12 metre along the existing semi-pucca road on the eastern bank of Imphal River.
An Ordinance for Amnedment of NDPS Act
Inaugurating the celebration of 10th Anniversary of the High Court of Manipur, Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on March 23 announced that the state government sent an ordinance for amendment of NDPS Act in context to Manipur, as the state is witnessing an increase in cases under the NDPS Act.
The 10th Anniversary of the High Court of Manipur was celebrated from March 23 at the Manipur High Court Complex. The three-day celebration is to continue till March 25.
The ordinance was made in respect to the prevailing situation in the state, he said while referring to cases in which the quantity of drugs seized sometimes makes it difficult to register a case against offenders under the Act.
“Manipur’s future is dark, if the present situation is not brought under control,” he said. He appealed for joint and coordinated efforts among legislature, executive and judiciary to save the state from issues of drug menace, illegal immigrants, and mass deforestation, poppy cultivation, a DIPR release added.
CM Biren Flags Off AMWJU Team for Tour to Nepal
Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on March 25 flagged off a team of the All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) that will be visiting Nepal for an external press conducted tour.
The Chief Minister said such conducted tour will provide opportunities for journalists learn and share experiences among the media persons. The team will learn about the economic conditions and administrations of the country from their counterparts in the country, the Chied Minister expressed.
“Happy to flag off a team of AMWJU that will be visiting Nepal for an external press conducted tour today. Such tours will provide opportunities to learn and share experiences among the media persons in terms of exposure, coverage, and news reporting from different regions,” CM Biren tweeted.
The 40-member team is conducted by the Department of Information and Public Relations (DIPR) with the AMWJU and Editors’ Guild Manipur (EGM). The tour will continue till April 1.
The IPR Minister Dr. Sapam Ranjan and CAF & PD Minister Leishangthem Sushindro were also present in the flagged off ceremony.