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)

Source: TruthDive.com

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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.

Source: Economictimes.indiatimes.com

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Delhi cops probe PLA-Maoists links [The Sangai Express]

New Delhi, Oct 16 : The Delhi Police are continuing their investigation of the two high-ranking cadres of banned Peoples Liberation Army with the Maoists arrested here on October 1.

The police found out during interrogation that the two arrested PLA cadres Dilip Singh and Arun Singh were in the city to provide logistical support to the Maoists.

“We have found that PLA and Maoists have formed a strategic united front against the government in a joint memorandum they signed in 2008. Under this both groups will support each other against the government,” said N Aggarwal, Special Commissioner, Delhi Police.

Joint training camps of PLA and Maoists are held in Myanmar and funding and equipment are also provided to them.

Both these groups have established links with J and K terror outfits.

It is not the first time that the Maoists link with Northeast militants has come to light. In February this year, three ULFA cadres were arrested from Maoist camps.

Several reports have indicated that Maoists have established links with Paresh Baruah, the commander in chief of ULFA.

A few months ago Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi also talked about increasing Maoist presence in the region.

Experts consider these developments as a cause of concern as they believe that the main reason for the alliance is to procure Chinese arms through the Northeast route to instigate violence in the region.

Source: The Sangai Express

Team Anna to visit blockade-hit Manipur on October 24 [Hindustan Times]

Indo-Asian News Service
Ralegan Siddhi, October 15, 2011
Activist Anna Hazare on Saturday said that a two-member team, led by Arvind Kejriwal, will go to Manipur on October 24 to find a possible solution to end the 76-day-long highway blockade to the state. The decision was taken after a group of people from Manipur met him seeking his support to end the crisis. The meet was facilitated by Pune-based NGO Sarhad. “Anna-ji has assured us that Arvind Kejriwal and RTI activist Akhil Gogoi will visit Manipur and talk to different groups to find a possible solution to end the blockade as early as possible,” said Sanjay Nahar from Sarhad.

He said that Hazare has also assured them to take up the matter of Irom Sharmila, who has been on an indefinite fast against Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) in the state.

Sadar Hills District Demand Committee (SHDDC) began the indefinite road blockade agitation on the two crucial national highways, which link the northeastern state with the rest of the country, demanding that the  Sadar Hills sub-division in the Naga-dominated Senapati district in northern Manipur be upgraded as a fullfledged district.

The United Naga Council (UNC), the apex forum of Nagas in Manipur, has also been organising a counter-road blockade in all Naga-inhabited areas in northern Manipur, demanding that these areas should not be carved out without their consent.

The road blockade has severely hit the supply of essential commodities to the state.

Source: Hindustan Times

India: Manipur on the verge of a breakdown – Asian Human Rights Commission News

October 12, 2011

AHRC-STM-143-2011.jpg

* Picture courtesy: http://www.sinlung.com

If the economic blockade organised by the Sadar Hills District Demand Committee (SHDDC) is to continue further, it has the potential to develop into an ethnic conflict in Manipur. The SHDDC, has been organising a blockade of national highways 2 and 37 since the past 72 days. The two highways are the lifeline of the state’s economy and the blockade has literally chocked the state out of its fragile economic life. The two highways, the jugular veins of the state’s economic life are preferred targets of protesters inside and outside Manipur. It is reported that the state government is yet to find an amicable solution to the problem.

SHDDC has been spearheading the demand to convert Sadar Hills into a full-fledged district, a demand allegedly pending since 1992. On the contrary, Naga outfits and Naga political parties, like the United Naga Council (UNC) are also agitating against the possible division of what they consider as ‘Naga areas’, should the new districts are formed. Indeed, it is for the government and the protesting parties to find a solution to the issue. However, that does not mean that the state administration can absolve itself from its responsibility of attending to the daily needs of the ordinary citizens who find life miserable in Manipur.

It is reported that ordinary commodity prices in Manipur have skyrocketed since the blockade to such levels, that for instance to buy fuel, people have to pay several times the actual price. Many hospitals in the state have already stopped undertaking surgeries or even admitting patients due to the lack of medical oxygen. Commodities that trickle into the state have to be escorted with heavy security due to threats from the protesters. This not only delays movement of the commodities and affect perishable goods, but also causes a heavy dent upon the country’s and the state’s expenses, which at the end of the day is taxpayers’ money. Various factions of the protesters burned several trucks during this strike, for which the state government today has decided to pay compensation. There is no guarantee however, that no more trucks would be burned or property destroyed.

What stands out however is the apathy of the state and central government in finding means to end the present impasse. Indeed there are shortsighted political benefits by suffocating the people for everyone who have thrown their hats upon the table in Manipur. Driving the people to the verge of an ethnic conflict, which the present blockade has the potential for, given the already volatile environment in the state and in its neighbourhood, is the last curse the state and central government with the connivance of warring fractional interests could deliver to the people living in the region.

In a state like Manipur where the term ‘accountability’ and ‘responsibility’ makes no sense for its government, an ethnic violence would be additional reason for the corrupt state administration to milk more money from wherever it can in the name of security. Understanding this, it must be for the people living in the region to show their intellect and not fall prey to fractional interests.

None can save and serve a community better than the people who make it.

 


Top militant leader shot dead in Imphal

Last Updated: Tuesday, October 11, 2011, 09:57 

Imphal: A top militant leader, who escaped from a police station near here a week ago, was killed in an encounter with police in the wee hours today.

Sunil Meitei, ‘Commander in Chief’ of militant outfit Kangleipak Communist Party-Mobile Task Force (KCP-MTF), was shot dead during a gunfight with commandos attached to the Imphal West district police.

He had escaped from Porompat Police Station by digging a tunnel on October 4 last.

Meitei, involved in several cases of extortion, murder and kidnapping, was arrested from Bangalore on June 29 last year by Delhi Police and later brought to Imphal, police said.

Director General of Police (Manipur) Y Joykumar had earlier announced a cash reward of Rs one lakh for anyone who could give information leading to the re-arrest of Meitei.

PTI

Source: Zee News

Manipur CM promises rehabilitation package to surrendered militants

Imphal, Oct 11 (ANI):

Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh has promised a rehabilitation package to four militants belonging to the United People’s Party of Kangleipak (UPPK), after they surrendered here on Monday. 
Addressing mediapersons here, Singh said that the state government would provide a rehabilitation package to these militants to ensure them a decent lifestyle post a troubled past. 
 
“We, from our government’s side, welcome those (surrendered militants) back to the national mainstream. We will do our best in ensuring (them) a secure and sustainable livelihood in the future. We would also help to rehabilitate them so that they can settle peacefully along with their families,” said Singh. 

The militants surrendered before the officials of the Border Security Force (BSF) in Imphal on Monday. 

The militants were identified as Akoijam Suranjit Singh alias Bung (30), R. K. Sghamson alias Thabalcha (30), Okram Rojen Meitei and Rohen (27). 

Meanwhile, the militants said that UPPK was diseased with dirty politics and a constant fight for leadership, which forced them to quit the organisation. 

“I joined the party because of my strong desire; however I found that it was diseased with dirty politics and the constant fight for leadership. They never listen or address our grievances.

I also think that the current motive of the organisation has drifted from its initial goal,” said A. K. Suranjit, a surrendered militant. 

According to security officials, over 50 militants have surrendered in the past four months.(ANI)  

Source: NewsTrackIndia

Draft National Telecom Policy unvieled

Mobile Telecomunications Tower,A303, Hampshire

Oct 10,  07:08 PM

 

Transparent allocation of airwaves and free roaming services are the main highlights of the New Draft Telecom Policy. The Communications Minister Kapil Sibal unveiled the policy in New Delhi today. Strategies to increase rural reach, higher broadband speeds and more funding options for operators and a new law on spectrum allocation and usage are some other highlights of the policy. The new draft policy, which was uploaded on the official website by Communications Minister Kapil Sibal, seeks to de-link allocation of licence to service providers from the award of radio waves. This will pave the way for acquiring the air waves through competitive bidding or by sharing it with existing firms. Mr. Sibal also said that, after receiving inputs from stakeholders and people at large, the final policy will be unveiled by December. He said, the policy is designed to transform socio-economic scenario through accelerated, equitable and inclusive economic growth. He also said that this can be achieved by laying emphasis on providing affordable, quality services in rural and remote areas.

Our correspondent adds that thrust areas include increasing rural tele-density from 35 percent to 100 percent by 2020, ensuring broadband on demand, 600 million connections by 2020 and grant of one nation-wide licence , mobile number portability across the country and better quality services.

Other highlights include enactment of a new spectrum act to address allocation issues, infrastructure status to telecom for better financial options, a new company to help fund telecom projects, appropriate policy for firms wishing to exit telecom business,and a new fund to promote domestic research and manufacturing.

The minister also made it clear that while pursuing the new policy, the focus will be clearly on the development agenda and not on the money that can accrue to the exchequer and to make India a hub of value added services.

 

Source: All India Radio

Supreme Court stays Ajmal Kasab’s death verdict

Photograph of Ajmal Kasab, one of the ten terr...

Image via Wikipedia

Oct 10,  3:23 PM

Supreme Court has stayed death sentence of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack convict Ajmal Kasab. The Supreme Court today heard the plea of the Pakistani terrorist challenging his conviction and death sentence in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks case. Kasab, the sole convict in the case, has filed the petition through jail authorities in the apex court which had appointed senior advocate Raju Ramachandaran as amicus curie to assist it in deciding the appeal.

On September 2, the apex court had agreed to hear the plea of Maharashtra government against the acquittal of two accused Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed in the 26/11 case. It, however, had refused to pass any order on Kasab when the state government pleaded that his letter to the Supreme Court challenging his death sentence should be tagged with this appeal. The Bombay High Court had in its February 21 verdict upheld the trial court order awarding death sentence to Kasab for the “brutal and diabolical” attacks aimed at “destabilising” the government.

Source: All India Radio