Students of Manipur University on September 30 erupted in protest against the show-cause notice served to Manipuri Department’s Assistant Professor Dr. Naorem Sanatomba, decrying the show-cause notice served for reportedly criticising the state government in his speech, in a debating competition organised on September 25 by the Manipur University Students’ Union (MUSU), which has gone viral on social media.
Reports said a huge number of students stormed the administrative block and office of the registrar of the university, demanding revocation of the show cause notice. The agitating students demanded that academic freedom be respected.
It may be mentioned that the Registrar of Manipur University Prof. W Chandbabu issued the show-cause notice, according to which the assistant professor criticised the government in regards to tourism, liquor legalisation and on various other sensitive issues in his speech during a debate competition organised by Manipur University Students’ Union (MUSU). It stated, “Such speech made by him in the public platform has tarnished the image of the university which prima facie appears to be highly derogatory and defamatory.”
Meanwhile, six student bodies namely AMSU, MSF, DESAM, KSA, SUK and AIMS have expressed strong condemnations over the show cause notice served to the assistant professor. The student bodies, in a joint press statement, demanded the authorities concerned to revoke the notice at the earliest.
The six student bodies in the statement have raised concern that gagging freedom of speech is becoming common in the state. It drew the attention of all concerned to carry out public discourse or dialogue with the people instead of targeting one person since the issue in question is a public issue.
Liquor White Paper First says CADA
Coalition Against Drugs and Alcohol (CADA) on September 29 declared that it will not meet the government or any minister and hold discussions on the legalisation of liquor until a white paper on the matter is produced.
CADA Secretary General Geetchandra Mangang told the media at its office located at Pureiromba Khongnang Makhong, Palace Compound in Imphal East that CADA has no knowledge about its representatives and Nupi Samaj are going to hold discussions with the government on September 30.
Geetchandra said that in an occasion, CAF & PD Minister L Susindro Meitei had said that he was going to meet the representatives of CADA and Nupi Samaj on September 30 that they have no knowledge of such a meeting.
He further said that CADA also contacted Nupi Samaj, and they also have no knowledge about any meeting with the minister on September 30. It is pointless to meet with the government or any minister regarding the matter until a white paper on the legalisation of liquor is produced.
Geetchandra recalled that Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren had expressed the state government’s firm stand on the cabinet decision, while the CSOs, local club organisations were welcomed to talk on the matter.
He continued that Minister Susindro had also expressed earlier that CADA and Nupi Samaj have failed to discuss the matter with the government, and it will initiate necessary steps. The statements of Chief Minister and Minister Susindro are an insult to CADA and the movement that has been going on endlessly for decades, reports added.
CM Says c On Liquor Legalisation Soon
While speaking to the media on the sidelines of the Observation of Jana Neta Hijam Irawat Day at Irawat Square, Lilashing Khongnang Makhong Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on September 30 stated that the government is coming up with a blueprint or a white paper on liquor legalisation in the state soon.
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of Jana Neta Hijam Irawat Day celebration at Irawat Square, Lilashing Khongnangkhong in Imphal, the Chief Minister said that the government is preparing a blueprint or a white paper as demanded by CADA.
The statement came at a time when various civil society organisations like the Coalition Against Drugs and Alcohol (CADA) and Nupi Samaj and other women groups are demanding the revocation of cabinet decision to partially lift liquor prohibition and to produce a white paper regarding the said proposal.
CM Biren further announced that the blueprint, along with ‘dos and don’ts’ to be followed while brewing and selling of liquor, once legalised, will be issued within a short period of time. He added that the government will not be taking any decision haphazardly and there will be due consideration with stakeholders once the blueprint is finalised.
Students Protest Postponement of College Elections
A clash broke out between police and students of Imphal College along the Tiddim Road in Imphal West on September 29, during a protest demonstration against the postponement of election for student bodies of government and aided colleges across Manipur. A number of student protests were wintessed in and around the places where government and aided colleges situated.
Reports said the clash resulted as the students allegedly started pelting stones to the police forces while they were trying to control the protest. In retaliation, the police fired a few rounds of tear gas shells and mock bombs, and successfully brought the situation under control within a few minutes. Three police personnel and a male student reportedly sustained minor injuries while a girl student fainted at the spot, reports added.
In a notification issued on September 21 by the Director of University and Higher Education, Government of Manipur, the date to hold the election was fixed on October 6. However, a new notification issued by the same department on September 28 evening postponed the election indefinitely and declared the previous notification as null and void.
The students demanded that the election be scheduled as per the previous notification. The students demanded resignation of Director of University and Higher Education, Rangitabali Waikhom and Education Minister Thounaojam Basantakumar terming the new notification as a ‘mockery’ to the student community.
Unsung Heroes Will Be Recognised As Martyrs: CM
Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on September 29 while speaking during the One Day National Dialogue on Tribal heroes in India’s Freedom Struggle at the Centenary Hall of Manipur University, Canchipur in Imphal West assured that the government is ready to recognise any unsung heroes as martyrs, including tribal freedom fighters that fought against the British. The programme was organised by the National Commission for Schedule Tribes (NCST) as a part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.
Reports said Chief Minister Biren said before the coming of the BJP government, people across the country recognised only some of the freedom fighters, including Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Bhagat Singh and some others.
However, with the coming of the BJP government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government started digging into the history of the freedom fighters, irrespective of caste and creed, including unsung heroes to explore at micro-level who fought during the free India movement against the British rule, he added.
He said some tried to distort the history of freedom fighters by neglecting those who took major roles during the freedom fighting movement. Recalling some of the freedom fighters of Manipur, Biren said Chirai Naga was a tribal freedom fighter of Manipur and two Nagas, Choukami Naga and Gouho Naga were also sent to jail at Andaman Nicobar Island along with Maharaja Kulachandra for revolving against the then colonial rule. There are some evil elements who want to distort the cooperation that had been among the various communities of Manipur since the British war, he added.
He said the death anniversary of freedom fighter Bhagat Singh is commemorated however, Kajao, who killed the political agent of the then British rule, Grimwood, is not remembered. He appealed to the people to do research on freedom fighters as the government is ready to recognise them as martyrs, reports added.
Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on September 28 visited Thingkeu village under Henglep Sub-division in Churachandpur district and laid foundation stones for Rs 4.8 crore Amusement Cum Children Park at Songpi village and improvement/upgradation of Henglep Thingkeu Tipaimukh Road (31.782 Km) with an work order amount of Rs 75.94 crore.
DIPR report said the Chief Minister also inaugurated Henglep High School (6 Classrooms) at Henglep with a project cost of Rs 57.28 lakh and construction of Transit Quarter (for Medical and Education Staff) with a project cost of Rs. 73.67 lakh both under Backward Block Development Fund, North Eastern Council.
Addressing the gathering, Biren said that Churachandpur the luckiest district as a medical college with 100 seats of MBBS has been established, recognising the potential of the people of the district. He appealed to the public to refrain from bandh and strike to express their grievances and come up for talks to solve issues. He also appealed to render support in government’s initiatives for the development of the district.
Biren also informed that an Eklavya Model Residential School (EMRS) would be constructed at Henglep Headquarters, citing its backwardness, DIPR report added.
Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on September 27 while speaking as a chief guest during the World Tourism Day celebration organised by the Tourism department on the theme ‘Rethinking Tourism’ at a historically significant Maibam Lotpa Ching, Nambol in Bishnupur district announced that the state government is working on a tourism circuit and will soon come up with the same to attract domestic as well as foreign tourists in the state.
Reports said the chief minister observed that the state is becoming super tourist friendly and tourists from many foreign countries are eyeing to visit Manipur with significant improvement in law and order situation. He said that delegates from foreign countries such as Thailand, Saudi Arabia among others are visiting the state ahead of the upcoming Sangai Festival, 2022.
Chief Minister Biren maintained that the economic development of the state solely depends on the tourism sector. He elaborated that the government is developing a tourist circuit by setting up and face-lifting several tourist spots in the state like Khangkhui cave and Shirui hills in Ukhrul district, ethnic-park, Heritage Park at Makhel in Senapati district, Tharon Cave in Tamenglong district, Ebudhou Marjing Polo Complex, water amusement park and several others.
Biren further announced that the government will introduce ‘Chief Minister’s Sagol Kangjei Tournament’ from this year’s edition of Sangai Festival to give a flavour of the traditional game to the tourists apart from the International Polo Tournament.
He mentioned that various direct flights connecting Imphal have been introduced recently. The government is putting maximum efforts to introduce Imphal-Bangkok flight service as well to further boost tourism, reports added.
UCM Urges India-Naga Settlement
Amid the alleged extortion and harassment of drivers on national highways by the NSCN-IM which is under ceasefire agreement with the Government of India, the United Committee Manipur (UCM) on September 25 urged for speedy settlement of the India-Naga peace talks.
While speaking to the media during the “Aroiba Langban Thagi Heitha-Leithaba (Meitei traditional practice of paying tribute to late souls)” held at The Great June Uprising Memorial Complex in Kekrupat in Imphal, UCM President Joychandra Konthoujam said the outcome of the India-Naga peace talk, however, should not hurt the interest of Manipur.
UCM President Joychandra Konthoujam stated that the extortion allegedly indulged by militant groups (under ceasefire agreement) along the two lifelines of Manipur is one of the reasons for the soaring prices of essential goods, reports said.
Joychandra said it is unfortunate that the Central forces remain silent spectators though such crimes of extortion and harassment of drivers are routinely carried out on the highways by those militant groups who are under ceasefire agreement with the Centre. The people of Manipur will never compromise on the state’s integrity though the NSCN (IM) is demanding a separate constitution and flag in the Naga inhabited areas, Joychandra said.
Public Rally Against Terror by Security Forces’
Several hundreds of people took out a peaceful public rally at Puiluan (Kambiron) village of Manipur on TuesdaySeptember 27, condemning the “terrorist act of planting a bomb” in the heart of Puiluan (Kambiron) by one personnel of CRPF under the alleged instructions of 39 Assam Rifles on September 24.
Reports said the rally was jointly organised by the Rongmei Naga Council Manipur (RNCM), Rongmei Naga Luh Phwam Manipur (RNLPM), Rongmei Naga Students’ Organisation Manipur (RNSOM), Nungba Area Village Authority Association (NAVAA) and Nungba Area Joint Action Committee (NAJAC) under the aegis of the United Naga Council (UNC), Naga Women Union (NWU) and the All Naga Students’ Association Manipur (ANSAM).
The protesters alleged the CRPF personnel, in connivance with 39th Assam Rifles, attempted to carry out a bomb attack on the Naga people at Puiluan village, Nungba Sub-Division, Manipur.
During his speech, ANSAM general secretary Eno Thotso said that the CRPF personnel admitted to committing the attempt to disrupt the peaceful atmosphere of Puiluan village and surrounding areas under the direction of Assam Rifles, reports added.
Bomb Threat in Thoubal Protested
Meira paibis of Langathel Thingel Leikai in Thoubal district on Monday demonstrated a sit-in protest against the incident in which a Chinese-made hand grenade was found at a residence in Langathel Thingel Leikai on September 25.
Reports said the meira paibis demonstrated the sit-in protest, demanding the miscreants who placed the bomb to give a clarification. The protesters displayed placards which read ‘Give reason for placing the bomb’, ‘No bomb around civilians’, and ‘We want peace’.
In the protest, owner of the residence where the bomb was found Puyam Ongbi Leibi, wife of Puyam Tenden said that her eldest son, who was declared ‘wanted’ by the NIA, had not returned home ever since he ran away, reports said.
It can be mentioned that the eldest son of Tenden, Sanatomba had reportedly not returned home ever since he ran away. He was reportedly declared ‘wanted’ by the NIA for his alleged involvment in the bomb attack of an army convoy at Singhat subdivision, Churachandpur district on November 14, 2021. The bomb attack killed seven Assam Rifles personnel, including an Assam Rifles commanding officer along with his wife and their son.
Assam Police Seize Drugs From Manipur
Assam police seized a truck traveling from Manipur with a large quantity of drugs while the driver was arrested near Bokolia along the National Highway 36 in Assam around 12.15 pm on September 25.
Reports said the Assam police approached a group of truck drivers from Manipur as the drivers were preparing their lunch. “The team of Assam police approached the drivers and started asking for information about the driver of the particular truck.”
After the driver was identified, the police team started searching the truck. “The police team could not find any drugs at first but after contacting someone over their mobile phone, they searched a specific spot on the truck and found the drugs,” reports added.
The police team found 149 separate packets of the items suspected to be WY tablets. Although the police team found the items wrapped in many layers, they did not open the items at the site of the incident, reports added.
The truck had an Assam registration number but the owner is from Pangei in Imphal East, Manipur. The police team seized the truck by instructing one of the Manipuri drivers to drive the truck to the police station, reports added.
Imphal-Tezu Flight Launched
Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on September 26 inaugurated Flybig’s Imphal-Tezu at the Bir Tikendrajit International Airport in Imphal. Flybig’s maiden flight from Arunachal’s Tezu to Imphal Airport was welcomed with a water cannon salute and a cultural show.
Speaking to the media after the flagging off ceremony, Chief Minister Biren said that under the ambitious UDAN scheme initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Manipur will now have direct air connectivity to Arunachal Pradesh. Such initiative will not only shorten the distance among the people of the Northeast but also boost the trading and tourism sectors.
Chief Minister Biren also announced that Imphal to Bangkok flight services via Guwahati will be operational soon adding that the direct flight from Imphal to Bangkok is still under consideration, reports added.
55 Ukhrul Police Personnel Promoted To ASI
Fifty-five head constables of the Ukhrul district police were promoted to the rank of Assistant Sub-Inspector during a ceremony held on September 26 at Police Reserve Line, Phungreitang. Superintendent of Police of Ukhrul District Ningshem Vashum handed over the promotion certificates to the newly promoted police officers in the presence of various district police officers, family members and well-wishers.
Reports said speaking at the occasion, the SP Ningshem Vashum exhorted them to continue to serve the force wholeheartedly and told the new officers that with their promotion comes a bigger responsibility. He further appealed them to be a role model and not rest on their laurels.
Myanmar Nationals With Fake Aadhaar Cards Held
At least Myanmar nationals carrying fake Aadhaar cards along with Myanmar identification cards were rounded up at Sugnu Khongnang Khong in Manipur’s Kakching district by a team of commando unit of Sugnu on September 28.
Reports said that a team of commando unit Sugnu led by Hav Santi stopped one Tata Sumo passenger vehicle travelling from Serou, as a part of a routine frisking and checking at Sugnu Khongnang Khong. While checking the passengers, the team found three Myanmar nationals travelling in the vehicle, it stated. The three individuals were detained. On further inspection, they were found carrying fake Aadhar cards along with Myanmar ID cards.
The three individuals were identified asKhaikhenmung, 30, son of Ginkhanchin with Aadhaar address mentioned as Vengnuam Village, New Lamka in Churachandpur district. Thongkapthang, 30, son of late Khamsuankap with Aadhar address mentioned as Mongken Village Singhat sub-division in Churachandpur District, and a juvenile of 16 years (as per Aadhar) with the Aadhaar address mentioned as Mongken Village, Singnat sub division in Churachandpur district, reports said.
The three persons revealed that they were originally from Kalemyo, Saingang region in Kale district of Myanmar.They had boarded the sumo from T Nampao Village in Chandel district and were travelling to Churachandpur district, reports added.