Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

NSCN(IM) chief, Thuingaleng Muivah taking the salute at the Naga Independence Day celebration on August 14

Three Killed in Thawai Kuki Village; Kuki-Zo MLAs Demand Separate CS, DGP, Rs 500 Cr for Relief; Patriots’ Day 2023 Observed; KIM Demands Apology From Amit Shah

Three Kukis Killed in Thawai Kuki Village

Thre Kukis who are said to be village volunteers were reportedly killed in an encounter in early morning on Friday (August 18).

A heavy gunfight broke out at Thawai Kuki Village in the foothills of Manipur state under Litan Police Station in Kamjong district (Phungyar Sub-Division) at around 4:30 am on Friday morning. Sounds of heavy gunfire were heard from the village. Thawai Kuki Village is located approximately 47 Km from the district headquarter, Ukhrul town. The armed miscreants are suspected to be Meitei armed groups, sources said.

Reports quoted Ukhrul Superintendent of Police Ningshem Vashum as saying that the incident occurred at the Thawai Kuki village around 4.30 am. “It was an unprovoked and intentional attack… three people have been shot dead,” Vashum said. “We suspect that armed miscreants from the Valley side intruded [into] the Hills and attacked them. The deceased were volunteers who were guarding the village.”

Ningshem Vashum, the Superintendent of Police (SP) in Ukhrul District Headquarters said that the miscreants are reported to have approached the Kuki village from the hills to the East, where they engaged in a gunfight with the village guards, reports said.

According to sources, the bodies of the deceased villagers were found after a hectic search by CSOs and villagers. Deceased persons were identified as Jamkhogin Haokip, 26, Thangkhokai Haokip, 35 and Hollenson Baite, 24. They were found killed in their bunker. All the three deceased are being taken at District Hospital, Ukhrul, for Post mortem, a government order said.

Out of the trio, two sustained multiple bullet injuries while the arms and legs of the third person were mutilated. Till the time of filing this report, there are no further reports of casualty. Tangkhul villages close to Thawai Kuki village informed that the gunfight lasted for almost an hour in the wee hours with sounds of automatic weapons and mortars. It may be mentioned that many Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) belonging to Kuki-Zomi tribe are taking shelter in Mongkot Chephu Govt. High School, PWD Bungalow, Veterinary dispensary and Church building at Litan Sareikhong Village, around 4 Km from Thawai Kuki village. The neighbouring Kuki villages of Thawai Kuki Village in this area are Zalenbung village, Shangkai village, Mongkot Chepu village, Jalembung village etc.

In an order issued by Manipur government today in connection with the firing incident at Thawai Kuki Village, under Phungyar Sub-Divison, Kamjong District, Rang David Kung, SDO/Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Phungyar has been detailed for Magistrate duties.

Kuki-Zo MLAs Demand Separate CS, DGP, Rs 500 Cr for Relief

The 10 MLAs who belong to the Kuki-Zomi tribes of Manipur have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him for immediate creation of the post of the chief secretary or its equivalent post and the post of DGP or equivalent post for five hill districts for “efficient administration”.

In the memorandum submitted to the PM on August 16, the 10 MLAs requested the PM to create the posts at Lamka in Churachandpur district for the five hill districts of Chandel, Churachandpur, Kangpokpi, Tengnoupal and Pherzawl.

The 10 members of the Manipur Legislative Assembly also requested the Prime Minister to sanction Rs 500 crore from the PM’s Relief Fund.

In the memorandum, the MLAs stated the Kuki-Zomis, mostly residing in Imphal as government employees, businessmen, daily wage earners and laborers, were affected by the violence that broke out on May 3, 2023. They also stated that students studying in the valley were adversely affected by the incident, thus leading to loss of their academic session and career.

Suddenly they were subjected to a wave of devastating attacks by the Meitei militias, viz. Arambai Tenggol and Meitei Leepun along with Meitei mobs in Greater Imphal area, during which their residential houses, quarters, vehicles were torched and burnt to ashes, which spread like wildfire within the city of Imphal, the Manipur State Capital.

Even members of the State Legislative Assembly were not spared, they stated, adding that the Manipur Legislative Assembly Member of Thanlon Constituency Vungzagin Valte and his driver were waylaid while he was returning from a meeting from the Chief Minister’s Bungalow.

Stating that the Imphal capital has become a valley of death and destruction for the Kuki-Zomi people, the MLAs added that no one dares to go back to Imphal, where important offices, including the state secretariat and other important government offices and institutions are located.

No Kuki-Zomi people can go to Imphal, nor government employees posted in Imphal capital and other valley districts can attend their offices, the MLAs stated while alleging that “there seems to be no end because it is a state-sponsored war against Kuki-Zo tribals”.

It is also pertinent to mention here that even the IAS and MCS officers; and IPS and MPS officers belonging to the Kuki- Zo tribes have been unable to function and discharge their duties as Imphal valley has also become a valley of death for us, they stated.

In order to solve the problems faced by the government employees belonging to the Kuki-Zomi tribals and for efficient administration of the districts inhabited by us, the post of Chief Secretary or its equivalent post and the post of DGP or equivalent post need to be immediately created. Besides, other key senior level posts in the civil and police department should also be created in public interest, the MLAs stated.

The MLAs of the Kuki-Zomi tribes also appealed to the prime minister to sanction Rs 500 crore from the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund for proper rehabilitation of the Kuki-Zomi people.

Patriots’ Day 2023 Observed Across Manipur

Patriots’ Day was observed across Manipur, both by the government and civil society organisations, in memory of the great souls, Thangal General and Bir Tikendrajit Singh, who sacrificed their lives in the Anglo-Manipuri war of 1891 against the mighty British imperialism to defend the sovereignty of Manipur.

Obserbing Patriots’ Day, Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on August 13 stated that the state government is working tirelessly under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah to solve the ongoing crisis.

Speaking as the function president at the state-level observation of Patriots Day 2023 in Imphal, Biren expressed shock at the unfortunate incidents leading to the loss of many valuable lives in the state in the past three months.

The Manipur Governor, Anuishya Uike speaking as Chief Guest, said this day reminds us of the heroic deeds of the Manipuris on the fronts of the Anglo-Manipuri war of 1891, which showed the world that the Manipuris were brave enough to challenge the mighty British Empire, make sacrifices and show indomitable courage to defend their motherland.

Governor Anuishya said, the day is considered as an important day in the history of Manipur because it was on this day in 1891 Bir Tikendrajit and General Thangal were hanged publicly by the British at Pheida Pung in Imphal in front of thousands of Manipuris.

“We got freedom because of the tireless efforts and sacrifices of our forefathers. This day is an opportunity for us to make our future generations the sacrifice, penance and sacrifices of our forefathers… While paying tributes to the heroic forefathers of Manipur, we must reiterate our pledge to work with dedication for our motherland.”

Expressing concern about the unrest in Manipur, Governor continued that the state is passing through a period of unrest and violent incidents arising out of the ethnic conflict for the last three months.

Stating that the spirit of mutual brotherhood and cooperation has decreased, that human values have faded, the governor said it needs to be restored and appealed to all the citizens to give up violence and hatred among themselves and create an atmosphere of love and mutual understanding and brotherhood so that peace and tranquillity can be restored in Manipur.

KIM Demands Apology From Amit Shah

Various Kuki-Zomi bodies, including the Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM), have condemned Union Home Minister’s remark in Parliament in a ptotest demonstration near Gamgiphai in Kangpokpi District on August 13.

Morover, Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM) has demanded an apology from Union Home Minister Amit Shah in relation to his statement in Parliament.

Reports said about 10,000 Kuki-Zomi women across Kangpokpi district participated in the sit-in-protest organised by the Kuki-Zomi women of the district under the aegis of CoTU Women Wing.

The placards read, “Amit Shah needs to own his mistake”, “Amit Shah needs to clarify his tongue slip in Parliament”, “We Are Indians, Not Illegal Infiltrators”, “Our Existence In Manipur Predates British Rule”, among others.

The protesters also shouted slogans such as, “We Are Indians”, “We condemn the Union Home Minister’s Remark in Parliament”, “We Want Constitutional Solutions”, and “We Want Justice”.

Meanwhile, CoTU articulated its dismay over the minister’s statement wherein he claimed that the current ethnic violence is a result of the influx of Kukis from Myanmar following the military coup in February 2021.

The Kuki Inpi Manipur, the apex body of the Kuki tribes, also condemned the Union Home Minister’s statement in Parliament terming it as an “unparliamentary and disheartening” remark.

JSCC Observes 77th Independence Day of Manipur

The Joint Students’ Coordinating Committee (JSCC) joined hands with the rest of Manipur in celebrating the 77th Manipur Independence Day. In celebrating Manipur’s 77th Independence Day from British, independent Manipur’s flag, which embosses Lord Pakhangba having tuthup mapan was hoisted at the Millenium Institute of Sciences, Kwakeithel Mayaikoibi in Imphal West district.

It may be mentioned that the historic kingdom of Manipur attained independence a day prior to India’s independence in 1947. However, it was later merged into the Dominion of India in 1949.

Leaders of the JSCC also paid homage to the brave souls of Manipur’s freedom fighters who contributed to its struggle for independence. The JSCC is conglomerate of six student bodies – AMSU, MSF, DESAM, KSA, SUK and AIMS

The event also witnessed the participation of Millennium Institute’s administrator M Binod, representative from the National Research Centre Th Ajit, former UCM President Sunil Karam, IPSA president T Birjit and KaPHA president Shyam Khuman as presidium members, reports said.

77th Naga Independence Day Observed

NSCN (IM) General Secretary Thuingaleng Muivah at the 77th Naga Independence Day celebration at Camp Hebron, Nagaland on August 14, 2023

The National Socialist Council of Nagaland – NSCN (IM) observed the 77th Naga Independence Day on August 14 at CampHebron in Nagaland. On the occasion of the celebration, General Secretary of the NSCN (IM) Thuingaleng Muivah said, “Nagas are a sovereign people, who have been living in their own land from time immemorial”.

Muivah also said that Nagas are not begging for a piece of land from others. Nagas have every right to build their own nation-state in their land. Muivah added that Nagas must decide their future by themselves.

“We Nagas are proud of our past dynamic leaders who took the right decision in declaring the Naga National Independence on August 14, 1947, on the eve of the British departure from the British India… It was a historic step that gives new meaning to the Naga national identity and saved the future of the Nagas.”

In yet another challenging moment, according to Muivah, the Naga people reaffirmed their national decision to remain a sovereign independence Nagalim, rejecting the offer of Union of India and that of the Burma. “I adore and salute those visionary leaders and the revolutionary generations”.

After 18-year-long political talks, the Government of India and the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN), the one and only authentic political organization of the Naga people finally signed the historic Framework Agreement on August 3, 2015, on the foundation of recognition of the unique history and sovereignty of the Nagas, and shared sovereignty and coexistence of the two entities, Muivah stated.

On the issue of integration of all Naga areas, according to Muivah, the Government of India has officially acknowledged that it is the legitimate right of the Nagas and therefore, “it shall be finalised accordingly”.

The NSCN (IM) General Secretary then said flag and constitution are naturally inseparable from the sovereignty of a people. “It is universally an accepted truth that flag and constitution are constituent parts of sovereignty. There is no ambiguity about it. The Indian leaders understand it too. They must take the stand to speak the truth”, he also stated.

Muivah then concluded his speech by saying, “This free Nagalim for Christ is our portion of land from God. We must possess it and defend it at all costs. No power on earth can stop the moving wheels of history. We will keep going”.

Landslides Strand 500 on Jiri Highway

Heavy rainfall in Noney district over the past few days have triggered many massive landslides along the National Highway 37 Imphal-Silchar Road. The landslides led blockade of Jiribam highway and about 500 trucks are said to be stranded thus leading to disruption in food and fuel supply to the landlocked Manipur.

The massive landslide has reportedly cut off National Highway-37 since August 15. At least 500 goods-laden trucks, including 420 IOCL bullet tankers, are stranded on either side of the highway due to the landslide, officials said on August 17. However, no casualties have been reported so far, sources said.

The landslides occurred on National Highway-37 between Irang and Awangkhul part 2, Khongsang and Awangkhul, and Rangkhui village. Restoration work is underway to clear the road and get vehicular movement back on track.

Due to the landslides, the supply of essential items is feared to be affected in the strife-torn state. Road blockades have not only affected the movement of goods and vehicles but also crippled daily lives as the state is already looking at the food scarcity problem.

A landslide measuring around 100 feet blocked portions of the National Highway-37 in between Irang bridge and Awangkhul village part II under the Nungba Police Station in the Imphal-Silchar sector, in the Noneh district, police sources said. There are also reports of landslides near Rangkhui village on NH-37.

NHIDCL have been trying to clear the roads but the incessant rain has been a huge inconvenience in the clearing process.

The landslide has been cleared at milestone 100 and 103 in Khongsang area after the rain stopped on Thursday. But it failed to clear at milestone 87 area from Irang till Awang Khun Part-2 under the jurisdiction of Noney Police Station. Assurance has been given that the landslide would be cleared out by August 18 if the rain stopped, reports added.

MCPCR Takes Cognizance of Child Soldier Video

The Manipur Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MCPCR) has taken a suo moto cognizance of the video and pictures circulated on social media platforms of minors in combat uniform handling guns and joining combat training and rallies.

A video has gone viral on social media showing some children getting combat and gun shooting training. In the video, one person was providing training to some children in a hill district.

A letter submitted to the Director General of Police (DGP), Manipur on August 14 mentioned that minors who are involved in such activities should be given proper rehabilitation and social integration to bring them back to the mainstream society.

If any adults are found instigating or using minors for the above activities, they should be booked and punished under law.

HC Asks Govt to Ease Ban On Mobile Internet

After three months of mobile internet blackout in Manipur, the Manipur High Court has asked the Government of Manipur to consider devising a mechanism for providing internet services through mobile phones by whitelisting the mobile numbers on a case-to-case basis.

A bench of Justice Ahanthem Bimol Singh and Justice A Guneshwar Sharma on Friday called for providing internet services through mobile phones by whitelisting the mobile numbers on case-to-case basis and in a phase-wise manner.

Accordingly, the state authorities are directed to consider this aspect and to submit a report, the court said.

During the hearing, the state’s counsel submitted that the Manipur government had earlier issued necessary orders lifting the ban on providing internet through broadband services (ILL & FTTH) in a liberalised manner. The counsel said this “was subject to fulfilment of certain safeguards/terms and conditions and as of now, many citizens have availed such internet services”.

Counsel for the petitioners submitted that since there has been no data leakage through the whitelisted mobile phones, the high court can pass appropriate orders directing the state to whitelist all mobile phones in a gradual manner. The counsel said authorities have conducted physical trials about revoking the mobile internet ban by whitelisting certain mobile numbers.

As per the report submitted by service providers, there is no data leakage to any other numbers which are not whitelisted, the counsel added.

An indefinite Mobile internet ban has been in force in Manipur since May 3 after violence broke out in the state.

The Manipur High Court will hear the matter again on August 31.

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