Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

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MPCC protesting the manner Manipur Assembly session was rushed through without taking up any substantial agenda

State Assembly Adjourned After 11 minutes Only; MPCC Hoists Black Flag in Protest; BJP Blames Congress; Rejection of August 29 Assembly Proceedings Demanded; CPI Says Government Deaf; Five Killed in Bishnupur Gunfight; SC Tells the Govt to Ensure Essential Supply Chain

State Assembly Adjourned After 11 minutes Only

The Manipur Assembly session held on August 29 was adjourned sine die just after 11 minutes of business, with only nine minutes of actual business conducted amid protest by the Opposition members of the Congress. The session began with the CLP leader’s impassioned outcry, denouncing the nature of the Assembly and the state of democracy.

The only five opposition Congress MLAs, stood up in unison to criticise and protest the Assembly’s proceedings, raising slogans and displaying placards that read, “Save democracy, save constitution.”

The Congress demanded extension of the session to five days and include the present crisis as an agenda.

Amid the protest, Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren, as the leader of the House, carried on with an obituary reference and called for a two-minute silence, which was observed by all members except the protesting Congress MLAs.

The Chief Minister, addressing the Assembly, pointed out that according to Rule 132, discussions on matters that are currently before the court are sub judice and do not need separate consideration in the House.

In spite of the opposition protest, the Chief Minister also took a moment to commend the recent successful mission carried out by ISRO expressing gratitude to the scientists and the Prime Minister for their contributions.

As the protest by the Congress MLAs persisted amid Chief Minister’s speech, the Speaker adjourned the House for a 30-minute interval after just 9 minutes of business.

Even after the resumption of the session, the protest by the Congress MLAs was gaining momentum.

Then, merely two minutes after the session had resumed, the Speaker Thokchom Satyabrata announced, the House is adjourned sine die.

While the 10 Kuki MLAs including two cabinet ministers were absent both Meetei and 10 Naga MLAs were present in today’s session.

Meanwhile, the Assembly Secretariat in an official communique said, the fourth session of the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly reaffirmed its unwavering dedication to unity and peace during these challenging times.

The Assembly also offered condolences for the lives lost and emphasised the importance of healing wounds and fostering a brighter future for all residents.

With heavy hearts, the Assembly mourned the tragic loss of numerous lives resulting from the recent violence that has shaken the state. Acknowledging the profound pain and grief experienced by families, communities, and the entire state, the House passed a resolution expressing heartfelt condolences to the affected families and their loved ones, the release said.

The resolution earnestly wished for the departed souls to find eternal peace. In a bid to restore harmony and stability, the House fervently appealed to individuals across the state to reject divisive influences, uphold peace, and renounce violence for the greater good of both Manipur and the nation.

The resolution reiterated the Assembly’s commitment to working towards the oneness and cohesion of all Manipuri people, regardless of caste, community, region, religion, or language.

Underlining the priority of peace in the state, the House also made a resolute promise to mediate and address differences among the people through constructive dialogue and constitutional means until peace is completely restored in Manipur.

MPCC Hoists Black Flag in Protest

Manipur Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Okram Ibobi on August 29 claimed that the 4th session of the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly was a “murder of democracy” even as the Indian democracy is known as the “mother of democracy” in the rest of the world.

CLP Leader Okram Ibobi made the charge during a press conference held at the Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) head office located at BT Road, Imphal, on August 29 just after the one-day Assembly session was adjourned sine die.

Before the press conference was held, the five Congress MLAs hoisted a black flag at the premises of its head office claiming that August 29 will be the ‘black day’ for the system of Indian democracy.

Ibobi told the media that after the May 3 incident, people of Manipur have been waiting for the Assembly session in order to discuss the present turmoil in the state that has lasted nearly four months now.

The Manipur Legislative Assembly has been considered a sacred temple for the people of Manipur and people from various sections of the society have been demanding the convention of an assembly session, he continued.

Ibobi also said that with an aim to bring back normalcy in Manipur, 10 like-minded political parties, including the MPCC, had submitted a memorandum to the Governor of Manipur demanding to convene a session.

The CLP leader said the protest with “Save Democracy” placard was not only for the state of Manipur but for the entire nation. He said the Congress strongly condemned not considering the private member resolution that was submitted to the Assembly on August 25 signed by the five Congress MLAs to discuss the present turmoil in Manipur.

BJP Blames Congress

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of Manipur led by Nongthombam Biren on August 29 blamed the Opposition for creating and disrupting the fourth session of the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly, making it impossible for the session to proceed as scheduled.

Addressing the press on August 29 at the Auditorium of DIPR after an Eleven-Minutes Assembly session, Law and Education Minister Thounaojam Basantakumar blamed the Opposition, saying they were willing to discuss all issues confronting the state. However, the nature in which the five Opposition MLAs came towards the Speaker made it impossible to continue the session, he added.

Minister Basantakumar said that the one-day session of the Manipur Legislative Assembly witnessed unruly behaviour by the Congress Party, leading to the disruption of proceedings and missed opportunities to discuss the pressing crisis.

The minister expressed concern over the disruption caused by the Congress party during the important fourth session of the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly.

The session, convened under Rule 271 of the Rule of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Manipur Legislative Assembly, was poised to address the critical present crisis, he added.

While the leader of the House managed to pass a resolution amid the chaos, Basantakumar likened the behaviour of Manipur’s Congress Party to that of national leaders like Rahul Gandhi and Adhir Ranjan Choudhury, citing their recent actions in the Lok Sabha session.

Moreover, Works Minister Govindas Konthoujam said that the Assembly session was incomplete due to the unruly and unconditional behaviour of the opposition party Congress MLAs, terming it unfortunate. “Even before the Speaker could utter a single word, the Opposition MLAs began shouting, preventing any productive dialogue. This unruly behaviour ultimately led to a missed opportunity for a comprehensive discussion on the state’s current challenges,” Govindas said.

Rejection of August 29 Assembly Proceedings Demanded

Veteran ans seasoned politician and former Law Minister of Manipur Okram Joy demands to denounce the proceedings of the eleven minutes Assembly session as it will make a dark canvass on Manipur’s reputation and one of the most disheartening parliamentary sessions in history.

The seasoned political leader Okram Joy demanded that the Governor of Manipur rejects and disapproves of the proceedings, alleging a violation of constitutional and parliamentary norms.

Speaking at his residence in Kakwa in Imphal West, Joy highlighted several irregularities in the Assembly’s approach. He pointed out that the inclusion of the Business Advisory Committee Report in the agenda was an unprecedented move.

Moreover, he emphasised the absence of an agenda titled “Business (if any)” to accommodate discussions beyond the listed business items. Expressing concern over the ongoing turmoil, the loss of innocent lives, internal displacement, and the continuous attack by narco-terrorists, Joy asked why the Assembly failed to deliberate on these crucial matters.

He argued that, as representatives of the people, the MLAs hold the responsibility to engage in meaningful discussions within the assembly, echoing the long-standing demand of the citizens.

Responding to claims by certain ministers that opposition disruptions led to the session’s turmoil, Joy countered by asserting that the ruling MLAs, including the Chief Minister, appeared to flee from addressing Manipur’s pressing issues. The press briefing was also attended by former MLA RK Anand and former Law Minister L Jayanatakumar who are also legal experts.

CPI Says Government Deaf

The Communist Party of India-Manipur State Council (CPI-MSC) has lashed out at the Manipur government and said that state Assembly session on August 29 was conducted for namesake. The government turned a deaf ear to the cries and repeated appeals of the people, it alleged.

The CPI-MSC, in a release, condemned that no important discussion pertaining to the prevailing conflict in the state was held during the assembly session that lasted for 12 minutes.

The CPI-MSC demanded for convening an assembly session lasting not less than five days at the earliest. It alleged the state government of repeatedly sidelining the interests of the people and opposition parties, asserting that Tuesday’s incident is a clear example of the same.

The CPI-MSC has been pleading to conduct an all-party meeting, a special assembly session etc. to bring solutions for resolving the ongoing issue, it mentioned. It reiterated its demand to call an assembly session lasting not less than five days to facilitate carving of political solutions in the effort to restore normalcy in the state at the earliest.

Five Killed in Bishnupur Gunfight

At least two village volunteers were killed on August 31 in a series of gun battles with Kuki militants in various areas across Bishnupur district since early morning on August 29, as incidents of heavy gun battles gripped the violence-hit state, sources said.

The deceased persons have been identified as one Moirangthem Ropen, 44, son of Commander from Yorbung, presently staying at Nungoi and Pebam Devan, 50, son of late Ibomcha of Thamnapokpi Ward number 5.

Village volunteers of Thamnapokpi Ward No 6 in Bishnupur district were engaged in an intense exchange of fire with Kuki militants, reports said.

So far, at least five Kuki militants had been confirmed dead in the series of gunbattles since Tuesday, reports added.

Sources said, at least two Kuki militants who were injured on August 30 firefight near Naranseina in Bishnupur district succumbed to injuries on August 31 at Churachandpur district hospital.

The two were identified as one LS Mangboi, 42 years and Richard Henkholun, 31 years.

Earlier on August 29, Jangminlun Gangte, 30 years, died of gunshot injuries.

Meanwhile, suspected Kuki militants also opened unprovoked firing towards the 2nd IRB Battalion Head Quarter at Naranseina Maning in Bishnupur district around 5:00 am, sources said.

Intermittent heavy fighting comes after the unprovoked firing by Kuki militants at the village erupted on early morning on August 29 for the day on August 30 wherein 2 IRB personnel and 4 village volunteers were injured, reports added.

SC Tells the Govt to Ensure Essential Supply Chain

The Supreme Court of India on September 1 directed the Centre and the Manipur government to ascertain basic supply of food, medicines and other essential materials are not disrupted for the people affected or displaced due to ethnic strife in the state, calling it a “humanitarian aspect” requiring the court’s intervention.

Taking note of the reports of blockades in the state, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud ordered that all steps necessary to improve the situation, including removal of blockades, should be taken by both the Central and State governments.

“We direct the government of India and the government of Manipur to distribute basic supply of food, medicine, and other essentials so that there is no denial of basic human facilities. The manner in which the blockade is dealt with is under law enforcement. However, considering the humanitarian aspect of the matter, the Government should explore all options including air dropping necessity, if necessary. The court shall be appraised of the steps taken to ameliorate the situation in the next hearing,” the order by the bench, also comprising Justice JB Pardiwala, said.

The court order came after a committee of retired women judges brought up the issue of supplies of food and essential items to the victims of violence, especially those housed in relief camps. Senior counsel Meenakshi Arora, representing the committee, and Indira Jaising, appearing for one of the parties in the matter, submitted before the bench that blockades in the Moreh region of Manipur have prevented people from getting basic rations. They also raised the issue of an outbreak of measles and chickenpox in some relief camps.

The bench, however, said that removing blockades was “easier said than done” and was a complex and sensitive issue that required careful consideration, as these blockades were often set up by local individuals or groups.

“Removing a blockade is not about directing the armed forces to do it. There are sensitive issues. What we will do is that the govt is aware of the fact and that the govt will take appropriate steps after evaluating the situation,” the order added.

Another counsel urged the court to note that such blockades had not only been affecting Moreh but also other areas including the National Highway 2, which runs from Dimapur (Nagaland) to Imphal, reports added.

Student Dies in Shock of Seeing Displaced Parents

In a shocking incident, a 14-year-old student, feeling overwhelmed upon seeing his parents, who had been separated from him ever since the conflict broke out, suddenly collapsed and died on August 27.

The deceased student has been identified as one Atom Nganba, 14, son of Atom Tejmani from Ikou Bazar under Saikul police station in Kangpokpi district, the sources said.

According to the sources, Nganba was staying at Success School boarding in Chingarel Tezpur in Imphal East District along with his 12-year-old sister, Thaja, when the conflict broke out.

His father, Tejmani, 40, and his mother, Asha, 39, along with their grandparents had to flee their house following the attack by Kuki militants around 7:30 pm on May 3. Their house was also reportedly burned down in the attack.

They had been seeking refuge in the relief camp opened at Naorem Birhari College in Khundrakpam ever since. The two children, Nganba and Thaja, were staying at the boarding school during the conflict and had remained separated from their parents. However, they were well aware of the situation their family members were facing and their stay at the relief camp, the sources said.

Tejmani and his wife Asha also acquired a spot in prefabricated shelter homes at Sajiwa Jail Complex, Imphal East district and made all arrangements to move in on Sunday, August 27. Following which, they went to the boarding school around 8 am to get their son and daughter.

Upon hearing that his parents had come to get them, Nganba came running, excited and relieved to see his parents after months. He then told his parents to wait as he went off to bid farewell to the teachers of the school, reports added.

However, Nganba suddenly collapsed in front of his teachers, following which; he was immediately rushed to Raj Medicity Hospital. Sadly, the doctors could not revive him and he died. According to Nganba’s grandfather, Nganba passed out once after he came back from a football practice at Ikou Bazar 3 years ago, reports said.

Three Houses Burnt in New Checkon Amid Tight Security

Amid tight security in Imphal East’s New Checkok area, three houses in 3rd Street of New Lambulane were burnt down at around 2 pm August 27 despite the presence of heavy central paramilitary forces.

According to sources, two of the three houses were completely gutted. The cause of the fire is still yet to be ascertained till the filing of the report.

Following the event, teams of Manipur Fire Services rushed to the site and doused the fire before it spread to other neighbouring houses in the area.

Ever since May 3, the entrance to the Kuki inhabited area in New Checkon was sealed off to create a security buffer zone.

A large number of central paramilitary forces were also deployed to guard the sensitive spots in the New Checkon area, including both ends of New Lambulane 3rd Street. Since then, Meitei residents of New Checkon have been barred from entering the buffer zone for security purposes.

However, the slew of sporadic incidents of arson inside the sealed area has irritated the locals and led them to cast suspicion over the central forces and question the effectiveness of the security presence in the area. The northern stretch of New Lambulane 3rd Street where the houses were burned is situated in close proximity to Meitei houses.

First Status Report of Manipur Cases By October

DD Padsalgikar, former Deputy National Security Adviser, the officer appointed by the Supreme Court to monitor and supervise cases handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and those of Special Investigation Teams (SITs), called on Manipur Governor Anusuiya Uikey and apprised her of the current crisis in the state, the Raj Bhavan said in a release.

Padsalgikar has been posted in this state, mainly to supervise the cases investigated by the CBI and SITs. He informed the governor that, to begin with 42 SITs will be set up and investigated all the violence-related cases expeditiously.

As far as the cases in the hill districts are concerned, he informed the governor that video conferencing facilities will be provided through BSNL and NIC to get the cases investigated.

The first status report of the investigation will be submitted to the concerned authority by the first week of October, Padsalgikar informed, as per the release by Raj Bhavan.

He said, he had visited many relief camps and met internally displaced people in the camps. He requested the Governor to take all possible steps to extend help to the people, the release added.

MHRC Chairperson UB Shah Visits Ccpur Relief Camps

The visit of Manipur Human Rights Commission chairperson UB Shah to Churachandpur district on August 30, along with three media persons, has revealed the unhygienic and pathetic conditions of the relief camps in the district besides the lack of essential materials such as medicines, blankets and sanitary pads.

Several new mothers staying at Don Bosco Higher Secondary School relief camp and other relief camps are even facing issues in breastfeeding their new-borns as the lack of nutritional food has made lactation difficult; in one case, it even led to the death of a baby, informed a woman at a relief camp, reports said.

The Nodal officer of the Churachandpur relief camps informed that there are 2081 displaced people from Kangpokpi district as they feel safe here. The officer further informed that Churachandpur district has a population of over 2 lakhs with over 2000 displaced people added to it. There are also 102 relief camps in the district, she informed.

MHRC Chairperson UB Shah also interacted with ITLF representatives and students where the Legal Cell of ITLF l submitted a memorandum to the chairperson regarding human rights violations.

Reports said, while travelling from Helipad to 27th sector of AR, the team crossed a Meitei village called Thenggra which was completely levelled with nothing left.

MHRC Chairperson called on the deputy commissioner of Churachandpur for protection of Meitei villages and appealed to the people of Churachandpur for bringing peace stating that it is the poor, children, women and displaced people that suffer the most.

Earlier, the chairperson visited a relief camp at Ideal College located at Akampat. The displaced people from Churachandpur and Moreh informed the chairperson about the lack of hygiene and their want to resettle in their own villages.

Chief Secretary Visits Ccpur

Manipur Chief Secretary (CS) Dr Vineet Joshi visited Churachandpur district and interacted with the internally displaced persons (IDPs) and civil soceity organisations (CSO) leaders on August 31.

During his visit, the Chief Secretary visited five relief centres namely ECA, Tuibong, Greenwood Academy, CFC Tuibong N Muolhoi and M Songgel Relief Centres. He also distributed relief materials, including blankets, buckets, mattresses etc., to the IDPs at these centres and interacted with the affected people.

The Chief Secretary held a meeting with the leaders of various CSO leaders and displaced medical, nursing and NIT students at Conference Hall, DC’s Office, Churachandpur.  He expressed his deep concern for the hardships faced by the students and general public and assured necessary support at the earliest, reports added.

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