Manipur hosts beauty pageant [TruthDive]

October 29, 2011 – 7:15 pm

Imphal, Oct 29 (ANI): Twenty charming young women exuding confidence and oomph walked the ramp at the ‘Miss Sakhenbi Ningol Contest’, a beauty pageant held at Imphal on Friday.

Incidentally, the contest was hosted in connection with the Ningol Chakkouba Festival under the auspices of the Young Women Help Organisation, a voluntary forum.

The prime objective of ‘Miss Sakhenbi Ningol Contest’ at the Bhagyachandra Open Air Theatre was to infuse an element of confidence and enhance the status of the women in the society.

“We are organising this contest in order to preserve the beautiful traditional costumes in connection with the Ningol Chakkouba Festival,” said Arambam Robita Devi, Secretary of Young Women Help Organisation.

The aspiring beauties contested for the coveted title of Miss Sakhenbi Ningol-2011.

The contest was divided into four rounds of introductory, casual, traditional and questions and answers.

“We want to upgrade the status of women. I participated in this contest to promote the cause. I’m very happy and I thought that I would never get the opportunity to showcase my talent but I’ve got one through this contest,” said Sobharani Devi, a contestant.

Another contestant, Salina Thoudam, said such contests and said that it was organised to collect funds especially to construct a home for the destitute womenfolk, who are the victims of militancy .

“The profit from the contest is going to help the women who have suffered a lot. The organisation is planning to build a home for the women who are destitute. I strongly support the organisation’s aim. The aim is also to select a perfect woman and I believe that I’m one of them,” said Thoudam.

In the last and final round, Chingakham Sanahanbi won the Miss Sakhenbi Ningol title while Rojiya and Sonia were the first and second runners up respectively. (ANI)



Manipur celebrates Ningol Chakouba with full fervour [Times of India]

Oct 29, 2011, 08.06PM IST

IMPHAL: In spite of the commodity crisis in Manipur due to the ongoing economic blockade on NH-2 and NH-37, the state celebrated Ningol Chakouba, the biggest festival for its women, on Friday.

Thousands of Manipuri ningols (women), especially the married ones, visited their parents’ homes in their choicest attire with sweets, meat and fruits and enjoyed various fish dishes with their siblings and parents.

People thronged the fish stalls in the markets of Imphal to buy fish for the grand feast in the morning. Due to the bulk production of local fish, the rate of certain fish reared locally remained unchanged but the price of fish brought from outside the state was somewhat high.

Owing to the festival, most business establishments were closed after noon. Various civil bodies including women organizations celebrated the day at different parts of the valley with women from different communities.

The ningols returned home in high spirits with blessings and simple gifts like clothes, kitchenware and small amounts of money from their parents and brothers.

“The festival revives family ties and strengthens the bond of love and affection, mainly between married women and their brothers. It ultimately helps in preserving and promoting unity and integrity in the society,” governor Gurbachan Jagat said on the occasion.

“The festival reinforces the fraternal and protective bond that exists between siblings and parents and daughters since time immemorial,” chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh said.

“Though the festival was originally celebrated by the Meitei community, other communities of Manipur like the ethnic tribal groups and Manipuri Muslims have also been celebrating Ningol Chakouba for the last one decade, promoting emotional integration and unity in the state,” the CM added.

Source: The Times of India(Guwahati)

For a day, Manipur forgets blockade and celebrates [Economic Times]

IMPHAL: The markets were buzzing with excited revellers, many haggling over the price of fish, and there was excited chatter at homes as people prepared various cuisines, all in celebration of Ningol Chakouba, one of Manipur’s biggest festivals that came on Friday amid the trauma of an economic blockade.

Ningol Chakouba reinstates the bond between brothers and sisters. Married women are invited to their parental home and pampered with lipsmacking dishes, which mostly constitute fish, and gifts.

Although the economic blockade has reached nearly 90 days now and household commodities continue to be scarce and expensive, people have refused to let their spirits be dampened, even if that means toning down celebrations by a notch.

“Fish is a very important part of the Ningol Chakouba festivities. We cook different fish delicacies… and by god’s grace, that is something which we have not really run short of. Manipur is blessed with good fish production,” Sharmila Maibam, a homemaker, told IANS.

“My daughter, who got married last year, will be visiting us today and we have prepared a feast for her. My son has bought her a sari and other trinkets. It’s a happy occasion,” she smiled.

To liven up festivities, the state fishery department on Thursday organised a temporary fish market at a playground, Imphal Hapta Kangjeibung, to sell fish at cheaper rates. It was attended by thousands of people.

In addition, an angling competition was organised for the first time at the Kakching lake in the foothills of the state on Thursday.

Madhu Chandra, one of the organisers of the festival, said: “Ningol Chakouba is a very important festival of the Manipuris. Amid the misery of the blockade, we decided to organise this festival to encourage the people to have some fun and promote peace and brotherhood.”

“We had around 700 competitors from all over the state and over 10,000 people from Kakching and surrounding villages witnessed the event. The fishes were then sold to the people,” he added.

One of the specie most in demand is the indigenous Pengba. This is also being farmed at the Kakching lake.

“I bought a variety of fish yesterday, but more than anything, my sisters love the Pengba. Both of them are married and live out of Manipur, so they miss eating this more than anything else,” Mahesh Laba, a 26-year-old salesman, said. He, however, still had some last minute shopping to do at the Khwairamband bazaar.

“The market’s so crowded today! People seem to have forgotten that we are in the middle of some blockade and are celebrating wholeheartedly… I have come to pick up some bangles for my sisters,” Laba said.

“This festival means a lot to us, especially for my family, because it’s like an annual family reunion when my sisters come home. They dress up in their traditional best and I serve them food… after which they bless me. It’s a special time,” he smiled.

“Thank god, there is no dearth of fish,” said 50-year-old Amu Singha. “I went to the fish market yesterday and was happy to see that I could still rustle up a good lunch for my daughter, even though the other things, like sweets, have to be toned down because they are so expensive.”

As for the women, they too bought gifts for their families, and especially their brothers, before going home. “Things are so expensive now. But I have been saving for sometime. So I bought clothes for my parents and brother, and got some homemade sweets,” said Nira Singha, a homemaker, on her way home to celebrate the festival.


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Manipur to witness hunger strike on Ningol Chakkouba [Imphal Free Press]

IMPHAL, October 27: Save Sharmila campaign, Jan Karwan launched by a group of human rights activists from Srinagar has reached Imphal this morning.

The rights activists also took out a rally from North AOC to the birthplace of Irom Sharmila at Kongal where a public meeting was also held at the ground of Amateur Athletics Association.

The delegation of 28 human rights activists was led by Ilabhan Patkar. They were planning to meet Irom Sharmila on October 28, however, the permission for meeting her was denied by the state authorities.

The Jan-Karwan team along with Sharmila Kanba Lup will hold one-day hunger strike tomorrow condemning the state government for not allowing them to meet Sharmila on Ningol Chakkouba-the biggest festival of women in Manipur, stated Irom Shingajit, brother of Sharmila.

A member of Jan-Karwan team, Fazal Khan stated that the draconian law AFSPA has been put into practice forcibly by the government despite campaigns for the repeal of AFSPA from the country.

The whole country will support Sharmila in her struggle for the repeal of the draconian law, he added.

The ‘Jan Karwan’ march was flagged off from Srinagar on October 16. Many social activists including team Anna member Medha Patkar, Magsaysay award winner Sandeep Pandey and human right activists from across the country took part in the flag off ceremony. The team has already covered more than 10 states.

On October 19 on reaching the national capital, the team along with its supporters mostly students organized a rally wherein they were allegedly attacked by ‘Aam Hindustani’ a right wing body injuring five students besides leading to the arrest of more than 100 other supporters

Source: Imphal Free Press

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SHDDC volunteers block works minister’s way, two injured in police action [Imphal Free Press]

IMPHAL, October 27: Works Minister K Ranjit and his entourage were blocked by the volunteers of Sadar Hills Districthood Demand Committee today at Kangpokpi Bazar on their return from Senapati after inspecting the mini secretariat complex.

A large number of women volunteers of SHDDC blocked the minister’s way to Imphal demanding immediate declaration of Sadar Hills district. However, works minister admitted that he cannot alone take the decision of granting Sadar Hills district. The matter has to be decided by the state cabinet, he stated.

Minister Ranjit held talks with the SHDDC representatives twice but remained inconclusive.

Following strong resistance made to Minister Ranjit, a special team of Imphal East, Imphal West, Thoubal and Bishnupur police commandos rushed to Kangpokpi to rescue minister Ranjit and his team.

The police commandos blank fired several rounds and also fired teargas and mock bombs to disperse the women who were blocking minister’s way.

Minister Ranjit reached Imphal safely at around 8 pm.

Two persons were injured in the police action.

Meanwhile, the blockade supporters burned down a truck of BRTF at Keithelmani at around 5 pm and also burned another mini truck at Kangpokpi at around 6 pm.

Source: Imphal Free Press

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UTLA in process to join SoO fold [Imphal Free Press]

IMPHAL, October 27: In a landmark peace initiative, 43 cadres of the United Tribal Liberation Army (UTLA) including the political wing and armed wing formally return to the mainstream during a home coming ceremony.

The homecoming ceremony organized by Red Shield Division was held at the Banquet Hall of the 1st Battalion of Manipur Rifles today. The function was attended by Chief Minister, Okram Ibobi Singh, DGP Y Joykumar,and Major General Binoy Poonnen,GOC 57 Mountain Division.

The Chief Minister in his speech appreciated the decision of the UTLA cadres to join the mainstream and to endeavor towards a life of peace and prosperity. He assured that the state government will do its best to provide for the needs and demands of the cadres. He also appealed to the cadres to adhere to the SoO ground rules and co-operate with the government while stating that there has been instances of certain groups who are presently in Suspension of Operation with the government but still carries out illegal acts of extortion and terrorizing the public.

DGP Y Joykumar also stated that the UTLA cadres joining the mainstream will be pivotal in bringing about peace and development along the Bangai range of Tamenglong district. Various hiccups faced by the state administration along the route including the construction of the Jiri-Tupul railhead will be able to advance peacefully. He also announced that the home department will operate a mechanized country made boat for effective police patrol in the waters of the area to check insurgency.

President of UTLA, Seipu alias Ishael in his address mentioned that the decision of the cadres to return to the mainstream was following in the footsteps of the other Kuki militant outfits that are demanding an independent land and are presently in talks with the government. “ We have come to this decision as we felt that we have been left on our own to struggle for our united demand and have felt that the effective way to rally for our demands will be through conducting talks with the government”, he said.

It may be mentioned that United Tribal Liberation Army (UTLA) was raised by James in 2003. However, at a later date after the death of James, the outfit was split into two factions called UTLA and UTLA (Max). UTLA (Max) over the period of time got neutralized and as of now majority of them are in jail. Due to leadership crisis and differences, president of UTLA Isheal and general secretary Seizahaou T Singsit ,along with 45 armed cadres were motivated to join the mainstream. On  September 8, the two leaders announced formally to join the Suspension of Operation (SoO).

This is by far amongst the largest number of constituents of one single underground organization to suspend operation and join the national mainstream in recent times. The antecedents of the cadres have already been verified by the group members and village chiefs from the areas that they hail from. The others would follow suit shortly for which, a repeat ceremony will be held at Leimakhong, the army in a release added.

It further stated that, Robert and SK Thadou of UTLA were also approached, however they have not yet joined the peace initiative and have requested for more time, since cadres are dispersed over large distance and in some cases, beyond the state boundaries.

The home coming ceremony was orchestrated by 27 Sector AR under the aegis of Red Shield Division. The Army and Assam Rifles have welcomed the initiative of the cadres. A huge cache of arms and ammunition of the UTLA cadres were also displayed at the ceremony. Along with three members of the political wing, one major, one lieutenant, two sergeants, one sgt major, four corporal, four lance corporal and twenty seven privates gathered at the home coming occasion.

Source: Imphal Free Press

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Governor, CM greet people on Ningol Chakkouba [Imphal Free Press]

IMPHAL, October 27: The Governor of Manipur, Gurbachan Jagat has greeted the people of Manipur on the auspicious occasion of Ningol Chakkouba.

In his message, the Governor stated that Ningol Chakkouba is a unique social festival of the Meiteis and it is observed on the second day of the new moon of the Manipuri month of “Hiyangei”. It rejuvenates family ties and strengthens the bond of love and affection mainly between married women and brothers, which ultimately helps in preserving and promoting unity and integrity in the society.

Ningol Chakkouba is a very happy and significant occasion on which the married women come to their parental houses along with their children and enjoy sumptuous feasts and receive “Dhakshina” after the feast as a token of love and affection. The festival will be celebrated in its true spirit with the involvement of different communities in Manipur, he added.

Chief Minister Okram Ibobi has also greeted the people of the state on the occasion of Ningol Chakkouba.

In his message, the Chief Minister stated that the festival of Ningol Chakkouba reinforces the fraternal and protective bond that exists between brothers and sisters and parents and daughters since time immemorial. Though the festival is originally observed by the Meitei community, the celebration now extends to other communities and tribes in Manipur thereby promoting unity and emotional integration in the state, he added.

Source: Imphal Free Press

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MU security guard physically abuses girl student [Imphal Free Press]

IMPHAL, October 27: Students of Manipur University once again faced harassment from ill-mannered security personnel right inside the university campus.

A drunken security guard of Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) posted at the Main Gate of Manipur University today physically abused a student girl of third semester of mass communication department.

According to the victim, the incident happened at around 1 pm when she along with one of her friend came out of their classroom to receive her cousin brothers who came to the university for submitting the application form of National Eligibility Test (NET). However, the security personnel at the main gate prevented her brothers from entering the campus even after showing them necessary documents.

She argued with the security guards as to why her brothers were prevented from entering the campus when others are allowed to enter the campus by depositing their identity cards with the security guards at the main gate.

Her friend also joined in the argument. The security personnel later allowed her brothers to enter the campus, but the guard began to taunt her asking unrelated questions about her brothers while they were signing in the entry book.

She scolded the guard for asking nonsense questions to her. The security guard then pushed her on her chest and tried to hit her. In feat of anger and humility, the victim also tried to slap the ill-mannered guard.

On hearing the news of physical abuse to a girl student, the students of Manipur University gathered at the mass communication department and strongly protested against the conduct of ill-mannered security guards.

The vice-chancellor of the university, Prof HNK Sarma, registrar N Lokendra and dean of School of Social Sciences, Prof Amar Yumnam came to pacify the irate students.

The university officials also took the statement of both the victim and the accused security guard. The vice-chancellor further assured to the students of taking up necessary action against the erring security guard.

The victim student was also examined by a medical team of the university after she became emotionally disturbed in the aftermath of the incident.

One student of mass communication department told IFP stated that such incidents had happened many times in the past. The security personnel have been giving torments to the students rather than ensuring a peaceful academic environment at Manipur University.

The university authorities should take the matter of abusing girl student seriously and report the mater to the highest authority, he enjoined.

Source: Imphal Free Press

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Women agitators corner Work Minister at Kpi, asked to grant districthood then and there [Hueiyen Lanpao]

Imphal, October 27: A large number of women agitators detained Works Minister K Ranjit at Kangpokpi Bazar today insisting that the Minister cannot leave without giving his signature on a blank paper to the effect of granting district status to Sadar Hills.
The incident occurred at around 3.45 pm today. Minister Ranjit was returning along with other officials of PWD after inspecting the progress of the construction work on the Mini Secretariat complex, 50-bedded district hospital and guest house at Senapati, which are scheduled to be inaugurated by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on November 2, when around 1000 women agitators stopped the Minister and his team from proceeding towards Imphal at Kangpokpi Bazar.

According to information culled from the site of the incident, after detaining the Minister and his team, women agitators insisted the Minister sign on a paper stating that the demand for upgradation of Sadar Hills to a full-fledged revenue district has been granted. The Minister, however, refused.

Later on, leaders of Sadar Hills District Demand Committee (SHDDC) requested for a meeting with the Minister. During the meeting, the SHDDC leaders contended that since Minister Ranjit is trusted confidant of Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh, the latter would not mind anything if the latter granted the district demand. However, Minister Ranjit made it cleared that he is not the only person who is running the government and there is the Council of Ministers.

The Minister further said that he has no objection to being detained if the agitators felt that the demand would be met at once.
As the agitators did not relent, the Minister and his team went back towards Senapati side again. After crossing a bridge, the Minister stopped his vehicle and informed the DGP of the road block.

Accordingly, the DGP dispatched a large team of Police Commandos from Imphal West, Imphal East and Bishnupur to bring back the Minister and team.

The police Commandos numbering around 100 were fully equipped with riot control equipments and were jointly led by Additional SP (Operation) of Imphal West Dr AK JHaljit and DSP Krishnatombi.

All along the way, the police commandos confronted agitators who were trying to block the road. A spokesperson of SHDDC has informed that a woman pharmacist sustained injuries in the action of the police commandos at Sapermeina one man had a broken leg in Kangpokpi.

Source: Hueiyen Lanpao


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Infantry Day – 2011 observed [Hueiyen Lanpao]

Imphal, October 27: GOC 57 Mountain Division Major General Binoy Poonen led other Infantry Officers, JCOs and soldiers in paying homage to the ‘brave sons of India who have made supreme sacrifice in the line of duty’ at the occasion of Infantry Day observance held at Leimakhong today.

According to a statement issued by PIB Defence Wing, Infantry, the Queen of the Battlefield, observes October 27 each year as the Infantry Day. On this day, 64 years ago, in response to the first threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our Nation, elements of the Indian Infantry, landed in Srinagar and resolutely defended Kashmir from falling into the hands of the enemy.

Procrastinating in the dilemma of choosing between remaining an independent state or joining the dominion of India or Pakistan, the Maharaja of Kashmir found himself in a precarious situation in the wake of independence. Pakistan stakes its claim on Kashmir and exploited the vulnerable situation by launching an attack with their raiders on October 18, 1947.

By October 26, 1947, the situation turned grave as the raiders advanced along Uri-Baramulla-Srinagar Road. Much devastation had been caused; Baramulla was overcome and the enemy was within 30 miles from Srinagar when Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession to India on October 26, 1947.

At 5 am of October 27, 1947, the Battalion Headquarters and a company of the First Battalion of the Sikh Regiment, hastily musteed from internal security duties in Gurgaon, were flown in to Srinagar. These valiant soliders fought a gallant action reversing the tide of the battle and saving Kashmir as part of independent India. To commemorate this maiden action of the Infantry, October 27 is observed each year as Infantry Day. Today’s observance was also attended by about 25 retired Infantry officers from across the state of Manipur.

Source: Hueiyen Lanpao


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