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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Twin bomb blasts darken festival of light celebration [The Imphal Express]

IMPHAL, October 26: Six persons were injured in twin blasts at Alu Gali, Thangal Bazar today at around 8 pm amidst hectic festivities of Diwali festival.

The twin blasts occurred at the same time, one inside Milan Enterprises and the other at the staircase of Indian Overseas Bank which is about 30 metres from the previous spot.

The injured persons have been identified as Sultana, 20, d/o Nijammuddin of Kshetrigao Awang Leikai, Md Farooq, 23, s/o Yakub Ali of Lilong Mayai Leikai, Manish Sekhawat, 16, s/o Dasharat of Alu Gali, Manicha Sekhawat, 12, d/o Dasharat of Alu Gali, Mustakim, 16, s/o Shiyauddin of Masjid Road and Kusum Agarwal, 28, w/o Nitish Agarwal of Paona Bazar.

The injured persons have been admitted to RIMS and Raj Polyclinic for treatment. They sustained splinter injuries, but none of them is in critical condition.

According to the police, the bombs could be Improvised Explosive Device (IED) planted at the spots before.

The explosion ripped the metal shutters of Milan Enterprises and caused damages to major portion of the shop. The collapsible doors of Indian Overseas Bank were also damaged by the explosion.

Several shops and houses nearby the blast sites were hit by splinters.

A team of high ranking police officials along with the bomb squad conducted searches at the blast sites.

There could have been more casualties if the blasts took place at the busy hours when people came out to witness the festive lights of Diwali.

Source:  Imphal Free Press

Three nabbed along with IED [Imphal Free Press]

IMPHAL, October 26: A team of Imphal east police commandos and personnel of 23 Assam Rifles has arrested three KCP (MC) militant cadres along with five kgs of IED yesterday noon at 12:30pm from Yumnam Khunou under Heignang police.

A police source has identified the three as Akham Premkumar alias Mubi, 40, s/o Yaima, Moirangthem Birmani alias Kangleipurel, 33, s/o Khomei both residents of Phubala Awang leikai, Bishnupur and Oinam Tomba, 42, s/o Angou of Nambol Leimapokpam.

On receiving information about the presence of some armed militant cadres in the general area of Yumnam Khunou, the combined team conducted frisking operation at the area and arrested the three individuals.

Source: Imphal Free Press

Pro-Sharmila rally to arrive in state [Imphal Free Press]

IMPHAL, Oct 26: The save Sharmila campaign-Jan Karwan-launched by a group of human right activists from across the country and starting from Srinagar on October 16 demanding repeal of AFSPA, will reached Imphal tomorrow.

The campaign reached Guwahati yesterday where they were felicitated by the Assam Sahitya Sava, at the conference hall of the organizations’s office.

The team having covered 12 different states will reach Imphal around 11 am and they will organize a peace rally in Imphal along with the civil society organizations of the state tomorrow.

The rally will kick off from North AOC via Minuthong, New Checkon, Porompat crossing, Ayangpali and conclude at Kongpal Porompat at the birth place of Sharmila.

A public meeting will also be held at the Amateur Athletic Association ground followed by a press conference.

I Singhajit, Sharmila’s brother, and also a member of the organizing committee, said that on October 28 the team is likely to meet Sharmila as the team is yet to get the official permit to meet her. The team is however optimistic that the Chief Minister will grant permission to meet Sharmila, he said.

Singhajit further informed that if the team is denied permission to meet the Iron Lady, the team will stage a hunger strike on ‘Ningol Chakouba’ October 28, the biggest festival of Manipur.

In response to a query from the media persons, whether the committee will take any initiative against the attackers of the rally at New Delhi, Singhajit said further course of action in connection with the incident will be decided after reaching Imphal.

The ‘Jan Karwan’ march was flagged off from Srinagar on October 16 and with many social activists including team Anna member Medha Patkar, Magsaysay award winner Sandeep Pandey and human right activists from across the country have taken part.

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 winged body injuring five students besides leading to the arrest of more than 100 other supporters.

Source: Imphal Free Press

Union minister to inspect projects under TD and RD & PR during two day visit [Imphal Free Press]

IMPHAL, October 26: The Union minister of tribal affairs and panchayati raj V Kishore Chandra Deo will be on a two day visit to the state starting November 1 to assess the developmental activities and various schemes implemented in the state under the funding from his ministry.

According to an official source the minister will be reaching the state capital at 10:55 am at the Tulihal Airport. The Union minister will be meeting the state Chief Minister at his official chamber at 3:30pm and discussed the various progress reports of the developmental projects taken up by the departments concerned including the RD & PR and TD. The reports according to the source, have already been submitted to the state Chief Minister by the departments concerned.

Prior to the meeting with the Chief Mnister, the union minister soon after his arrival at the state will be meeting with the state RD & PR minister MD Allauddin Khan at 2pm which will be followed by another meeting with the secretary and other state officials of the Tribal Development, the source, added.

The visiting minister will further convene a meeting with the Hill Area Committee of the Manipur State Legislative Assembly.

Further according to the source, the Union minister will attend the state level Kut festival at the 1st Manipur Rifles ground in the evening at around 5pm.

The next day, on the November 2 the visiting minister will leave Imphal for border town Moreh by helicopter at 8:30am and inspect the various projects taken up in the border town under the TD department.

During his short visit to the border town, he will meet the DC Chandel and the ADC Moreh regarding the projects undertaken in the area under the TD and RD & PR.

Further according to the source, the minister will also meet representatives of the Kuki Inpi Manipur along with chairpersons of ADCs of the state.

The minister will further leave for Churachandpur hq at 11am and upon reaching the district hq, he will meet the DC and SDOs of the district at the CCpur DC office.

Before coming back to Imphal, he will be meeting the local MLAs of the district.

The Union minister will leave Imphal for New Delhi at 5pm, stated the source.

Source: Imphal Free Press

CM inaugurates bridge, market and health centre at Yairipok [Imphal Free Press]

IMPHAL, October 26: Chief Minister Okram Ibobi has inaugurated Yairipok Tampha Market, Yairipok Bridge and Yairipok CHC Building today.

Speaking at the inaugural function, Chief Minister Okram Ibobi stated that the real owner of land is the government and no community should think they are the real owners of the land where they inhabit.

He further asserted that various communities of the state have been living in peace and harmony since time immemorial.

Chief Minister also announced the upgradation of Yairipok Nagar Panchayat and Lilong Nagar Panchayat to the status of municipality along with Rs. 50 crore package for the development of tourist centres at Kaina, Khongjom and Kwarok Mahadeva.

He assured that the government will take up various development works in the state from time to time as per the requirement and convenience of the public.

The newly inaugurated Tampha Market is a gift to Yairipok people for Ningol Chakkouba, Chief Minister added.

It may be mentioned that the construction of Yairipok Bridge began in 2002 and completed in October 24, 2011. The estimated cost of the bridge is Rs. 586.30 lakh while Yairipok CHC has been constructed at the cost of Rs. 176.57 lakh.

The Tampha Market was constructed by Manipur Development Society.

The inaugural function was also attended by works minister K Ranjit, health minister L Jayentakumar and Wangkhem MLA K Meghachandra.

Source: Imphal Free Press