Archive for the ‘Manipur’ Category

Manipur Groups Boycott Sonia’s Visit

November 10, 2010

sonia-gandhiImphal, Nov 10 : Seventeen civil society groups of Manipur have called a statewide general strike from 2am to 5pm on November 12 to boycott UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s visit.

During her one-day visit, Sonia Gandhi is scheduled to inaugurate three newly constructed women markets here and the Khuga multi-purpose project in Churachandpur district. She is also expected to launch other development projects.

The organisations have called the strike as a mark of protest against the non-disclosure of the whereabouts of Sana Yaima, the chairman of the United National Liberation Front, who was reportedly arrested from Dhaka and brought to India.

Media reports said RAW and Bangladesh intelligence officials had arrested Yaima alias R.K. Meghen from Dhaka. A UNLF release also claimed that he was arrested from Dhaka on September 29 and brought to India.

Union home secretary G.K. Pillai had denied the reports during his visit here last month but had promised to confirm it from Bangladesh officials.

Yaima’s wife, R.K. Ongbi Ibemnungshi, has submitted representations to the home ministry and the National Human Rights Commission, seeking the whereabouts of her husband.

She has also filed a petition in the Imphal bench of Gauhati High Court seeking directives to the home ministry, defence ministry and the Manipur government to produce Yaima.

The Centre has not made any official confirmation or denial of the reported arrest so far.

“The government is violating all international human rights laws by not disclosing the whereabouts of Sana Yaima after arrest. This is a case of involuntary disappearance. We are boycotting Sonia Gandhi’s visit against violation of human rights,” O. Bikramjit, spokesperson of the 17 civil society organisations, told reporters this afternoon.

The organisations are demanding that Yaima be produced immediately.


Beaten Manipur Woman Sent Back to Husband

November 10, 2010

Takhelchangbam Ambravati

Takhelchangbam Ambravati

In my work with abused women, one of the most important things is the support of the family and their resolve to stand by the decision of their daughter.

In a recent case I dealt with, a woman who had been regularly beaten by her husband was forced by her family to go back and live with him.

This young woman, let me call her Preity, had a long history of domestic violence. Her husband, a former drug abuser, was also openly having a long-standing affair with a woman living nearby.

This led to frequent quarrels which would end with him beating her up. Preity returned to her father’s house many times, but every time her husband would come and plead for her forgiveness.

Early this year, they quarrelled yet again and this time she went to stay with an aunt. One evening she thought why should I remain depressed when he is enjoying his life? So in an act of defiance, she dressed up and joined a celebratory dance of men and women, usually unmarried ones, which was being held as part of the Holi festival known in Manipur as Yaoshang.

But as she was walking home, her husband accosted her and tried to stab her, saying he would rather kill her than have her cavorting with other men. Thankfully she survived with a few wounds to her fingers.

At this point her aunt approached me for help. We were earnestly trying to help Preity – taking her to hospital, approaching a legal counsel and so on. We also asked her husband to meet us separately and asked him to make a statement. We even approached his employers to seek their opinion of his character and to ask for their help.

Preity was adamant that she would no longer continue to be victimised. She also wanted to file a legal case against her husband and the paperwork had begun.

However, after some time, we learnt that Preity had gone back to her husband after pressure from her own family to return to him.

I think the lack of strength and support from Pretty’s parents was mainly due to their poverty, as well as the fact that Preity’s husband’s house was very near their own. It meant that every now and then he would come and beg for forgiveness.

People are frightened by the very mention of filing a legal case. The legal process in this country is usually very drawn out and can become very expensive as a result.

People want speedy solutions. And even though the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 stipulates that cases should be resolved within the mandatory 60 days as far as possible, more often than not cases remain pending. As a result people are discouraged and disheartened.

For me, it is sad that a woman has to continue suffering due to loopholes in legislation and lack of support from her own family.

As told to Anjulika Thingnam


Ningol Chakouba Celebrated in Manipur

November 8, 2010

Ningol ChakoubaImphal, Nov 8 : Ningol Chakouba, a festival during which sisters and daughters are invited for special feasts by fathers and brothers, was celebrated in Manipur today.

Reports said markets were thronged with people since early morning buying fish, vegetables and other items for the festival.

Reports said the fishery department yesterday organised a special fish festival at Hapta Kangjeibung ground for people to buy fish at cheap rates.

Diesel Shortage Hits Mobile Services in Manipur

November 7, 2010

By Sobhapati Samom

mobile-towerImphal, Nov 7 : The seizure of diesel by the police in their anti-blackmarketing drive in Manipur has seriously affected the mobile services since the last five days.

The cellular service networks of most of the major service providers as a result have virtually collapsed. Aircel, Vodafone, Reliance and Idea mobile phone network users of the State’s 10 lakh mobile users are the most severely affected, according to sources here.

“Functioning of around 30 per cent of the towers have been disturbed as there is no diesel supply,” sources in the Manipur Telecom Diesel Filler Committee (MTFC) which had been providing 30 litres of diesel per day to each of the 700 towers for the six cellular services such as BSNL, Airtel, Aircel,Vodafone,Tata Indicom and Reliance, said.

With the approaching festive season, the situation has become depressing, affecting lakhs of mobile users across the State. “Except BSNL, there is no mobile phone network here”, Etomba, a resident of Ukhrul said.

Manipur had been facing acute shortage of fuel even after the United Naga Council Manipur sponsored 69 day economic blockade on the National Highways was concluded months ago. The situation still remains the same even as it recovers from the economic blockades.

MTFC had reportedly stored around 4,000 litres of diesel for their emergency use in view of the ongoing situation. But police has seized it as part of its anti-blackmarketing drive recently.

Meanwhile, talks are on with the State officials for the restoration of the mobile towers’ functioning. With the arrival of the representatives of the concerned mobile service providers in the State, fuel supply to the mobiles towers has resumed, according to MTFC sources.

Manipur Gets Bumper Mustard Crop With New Technique

November 7, 2010

By Sobhapati Samom

mustardImphal, Nov 7 : After successful cultivation of oil seeds such as mustard under zero tillage cultivation formula, Manipur has started to apply the same principle on pea for the first time.

The new method of cultivation without any form of fertiliser has been initiated under State Agriculture department’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) method of cultivation with the additional technical inputs from Central Agriculture University (CAU), Imphal.

According to Pheiroijam Rajendro,Deputy Director (Soil Chemist) of the Agriculture department, the State authority under guidance of the Centre is planning to take up zero tillage pea cultivation for the first time. This could be perhaps the first time in the entire Northeastern States.

“As of now we are initiating it in just 30 hectares of recently harvested rice fields”, Rajendro said. Longjam Sarat, 45, a cultivator of Nongpok Lourembam village in Imphal East district has started to cultivate pea under zero tillage formula at his recently harvested rice field.

“I have taken up this new method of cultivation on a trial basis after attending an awareness programme at a mobile plant health clinic”, Sarat said in an interaction with The Assam Tribune at his field. “We are planning to expand the cultivation area once the entire harvest is over”.

Sarat used to get not less than 100 bags (each bag weighing 50 kilogram) of rice from his family’s five hectares of land at Nongpok Lourembam Loukon measuring around 30 hectares. He had cultivated mustard sometime ago, but it did not get him much profit.

His elder brother Modhuchandra said, “Cultivating pea under the new method will certainly help the rural economy in the State as Manipuris love to eat various parts or forms of pea particularly it’s fresh leaves and bud, etc.

A rice field measuring one fourth of a hectare requires around 20 to 25 kilograms of well treated pea seeds. However, Dr Kh Ibohal, an Entomologist from CAU Imphal want the farmers to carry out proper seed treatment to avoid crop diseases.

“We need to use authenticated fungicide (carbendazim 12 per cent plus Mancozeb and insecticide Imidacloprid for the seed treatment to protect the plants from any disease”, the Entomologist said. “Chances of attack by any worm is very negligible if we do so”.

It may be worth mentioning here that IPM method of cultivation has a success story in the mustard seed production in the recent past in this land locked State which is, however, blessed with suitable agro-climatic conditions.

Farmers of Maklang village in Manipur’s Imphal West district got a bumper harvest in the last season, producing an average of 1,300 kg of mustard seed per hectare which is much higher than that of national yield of 1,070 kg per hectare. They cultivated mustard in an area of 1,500 hectares last season.

AFSPA And Unsolved Massacres in Manipur

November 4, 2010

By Anjuman Ara Begum

murder by armed forcesHeirangoithong massacre: March 14, 1984: Thousands were watching a volley ball match at the Heirangoithong Volley Ball Ground in Imphal. Some extremists tried to snatch weapons from the CRPF personnel there which resulted in the CRPF beginning to fire killing five people.

The injured extremists soon fled. The CRPF at the spot then began to shoot indiscriminately at the crowd, and more joined the team from the nearby CRPF camp.

Thirteen people were killed and 31 injured in the firing that went on for half an hour. Mr Y Ibotombi Singh, District Judge, was appointed as Enquiry Commissioner vide Manipur Government Notification No 1/1/ (45)/84-H dated June 25, 1984. The Commissioner reported that there was no cross-firing and that two constables fired at the crowd even after the extremists had fled away, killing and wounding them. It found that the Platoon commander instigated to fire more instead of controlling the situation. It also reportedly accused the Platoon commander of being little conscious and completely forgetting his duty. A compensation of a mere Rs 10,000 each was given to the next of kin of those killed and those injured were given Rs 4000.

Operation Blue Bird at Oinam: July 10, 1987: Insurgents raided the Assam Rifles post at Oinam village and looted the armoury. Nine AR personnel were also killed in the attack which triggered the Operation Blue Bird. Three months saw a reign of terror by the AR in 30 villages there. Fourteen civilians were shot dead and several others died of hunger, starvation and torture in the concentration camps, out of the shock of witnessing the torture of dear ones, etc. In an infamous incident of the operation, a woman was forced to deliver her child in public view in an open field, as the troops jeered.

Tera Bazar Massacre: March 25, 1993: Unidentified youth shot at CRPF personnel at Tera Keithel, Imphal which killed 2 CRPF men. Thereafter, the CRPF personnel rushed out and fired indiscriminately. Five civilians were killed and many others received bullet injuries. However, no enquiry has been instituted to date.

RMC Massacre: January 7, 1995: On the morning of January 7, 1995, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel shot dead nine innocent persons at the Regional Medical College (RMC), Imphal, in retaliation for the attacks on them by the members of an armed opposition group. The victims were Moni Riba, a student of RMC, Laimayum Pradeep Sharma (Guard), Wangkhem Upendra Singh, driver, Mohammed Jakir, rikshaw puller, and autorikshaws drivers Saikhom Premchand Singh, Hijam Khogen, R K Khogen Singh, Angom Debendra Singh and Koijam Rajendra Singh. Shri.D.M Sen, retired Judge, Calcutta High Court, conducted an inquiry and confirmed the arbitrary and intentional shootings by the CRPF personnel. The enquiry commission found that one member of an insurgent group had fired at the CRPF personnel posted at the RMC’s main gate. He was guarding his colleagues who were injured in Bishenpur district on January 1, 1995. However, the injury of (their colleague) Mr. Yadav provoked the CRPF personnel of the 199th Battalion and they were angry when they were fired. As soon as the firing took place, the CRPF personnel reportedly shouted ‘hamara admi ko mara, sab Manipuri ko maro’. After killing two medical staffs, the CRPF personnel came near the gate of the RMC and shouted at the rikshaw pullers and started firing at them. A rikshaw puller Mohammed Zakir cried out ‘Allahu akbar’ when injured. One CRPF personnel shouted, ‘kya Allah?’ and shot again. Zakir fell down and died on the spot. Five rickshaw pullers were killed.

Compensation paid by the state to the next kin of those killed was Rs 25,000 and the injured received compensation of Rs. 5, 000. On March 17, 2008, the Adhoc Additional Sessions Judge, Fast Track Court, Guwahati, convicted four CRPF personnel for killing the nine civilians. A statement issued by the Central Bureau of Investigation from New Delhi on March 26, 2008, said that the four CRPF personnel were handed life terms in an order issued on March 17, 2008, and named the convicted men as Head Constable Ram Dayal Sah, Constables Shiv Kumar Pandey and Puttu Lal and Naik Md Razak. The four were also fined Rs 5000 each, failing which their prison terms would be extended by three more months

Malom Massacre: November 2, 2000: Assam Rifles convoy was attacked near Malom, Manipur by insurgents. In retaliation, the troops shot at civilians at a nearby bus-stop leaving 10 civilians dead, including a 60 year old woman and a boy who had been awarded the bravery award by the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. A brutal combing operation followed. Irom Sharmila’s fast-to-death began in the aftermath of this incident.

Several other massacres are
 Oinam Leikai Massacre on November 21, 1980
 Ukhrul Massacres on May 9, 1995
 Bashikhong massacre on February 19, 1995
 Churachandpur Massacres on July 21, 1999
 Nungleiban Massacre on October 15, 1997
 Tabokpikhong Massacres on August 12, 1997
 Tonsen lamkhai Massacres on September 3, 2000 (is it 1999?)


Manipur Militants Credit Scheme, Pumping in Rs 30-40 Lakh

November 3, 2010

UNLF militants manipurImphal, Nov 3 : Manipur based UNLF militants, which is still outside the peace process, has been successfully running a unique co-operative saving and credit banking system (Phunga Marup) since 2009, a report in a regional daily revealed.

The report while saying that the saving and credit banking system was part of outfit’s bid to spread its tentacles in the Northeast India.

The scheme came to light during the interrogation of its secretary M Nongyai arrested by security force in Assam recently.

Security forces recently stumbled upon the outfits’ activity while interrogating the arrested secretary, M Nongyai.

According to security forces, the main objective of the outfit is to win over the hearts of the local populace by lending them money and in return taking safe shelter in villages.

The system is in operation in four districts of Manipur and Cachar, Hojai sub-division in Nagaon which has a sizeable Meitei population, the report revealed.

The outfit is believed to be pumping in about ‘ 30 to ‘ 40 lakh per annum in this core finance system.

According to information revealed to security forces by the arrested UNLF cadres, the outfit through the Marup system has been financing villagers to be self reliant through weaving, handicraft and other means of livelihood.

The loan amount to individual varies between ‘3000 to ‘ 4000 for a period of four to five months with interest rates varying from 0.5 to 1%.

“The UNLF forms self help groups consisting about 15 members and there are about 45,000 beneficiaries of the finance system,” a source said, according to Times of India reports.

The money used by the outfit to finance the rural populace is collected through extortion from different areas in Manipur.

Miss Kut 2010 is Divya Chingtham

November 2, 2010

Widespread Kut celebrations today

Imphal, Nov 2 : The Kuki-Chin-Mizo-Zomi people of Manipur will be celebrating Kut 2010 with pomp and gaiety in different parts of the state tomorrow.

The state level Kut 2010 will be celebrated with grand functions at the 1st Battalion Manipur Rifles Ground in Imphal.

Governor of Manipur, Gurbachan Jagat will be the chief guest, MP Rajya Sabha, Rishang Keishing, Minister of TD, District Council & Hills and Veterinary & Animal Husbandry, DD Thaisii, Minister of PHED and IPR & Tourism, TN Haokip will be guests of honour and president respectively at the inaugural function, which will start at 10.30 am.

Miss Kut 2010
Miss Kut 2010 Divya Chingtham (centre) along with 1st runners up Kimkhanthem Haokip (left) and 2nd runners up Khuraijam Rajeshwori (right) posing for lensmen after being crowned for their respective titles.

Dr Chalton Lien Amo, Chairman of State Level Kut Committee, will welcome the gathering.
Besides a lot of cultural programmes, Miss Kut Contest will also be held.

Chief Minister, Okram Ibobi, MLA and president of MPCC, Gaikhangam, Minister of Agriculture, Social Welfare and Minor Irrigation, N Loken and Minister of Power, Horticulture & Sericulture and Science & Technology, T Phungzathang Tonsing will be chief guest, guests of honour and president of the function respectively at the evening session of the programme.
The Kut celebration will also be held at other parts of the state where Kuki-Chin-Mizo-Zomi people settle, especially Kangpokpi, Chandel and Moreh.

Deputy Chairman, State Planning Board and MLA Bijoy Koijam will be the chief guest at the function of Moreh.

Chairman of Hill Areas Committee and MLA Thangmin Lien Kipgen, MLA Doukhomang Khongsai and MLA Haokholet Kipgen will be chief guest, guest of honour and president respectively at the celebration of Kangpokpi.

Manipur Iron Lady’s Fast to Complete a Decade

November 1, 2010

No Solution in Sight

By Narendra Ch

Irom Sharmila Chanu 10 YearsIrom Sharmila Chanu is demanding repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 2958 (AFSPA). She is leading an unprecedented and extraordinary struggle, in a true Gandhian (non-violent) way. She started her fast after gruesome Malom massacre.

The indefinite hunger strike by Manipuri poetess Irom Sharmila Chanu will complete a decade on November 2. The entire nation should be ashamed of the unpardonable negligence shown towards the conditions that prevail in the culturally-rich north east, particularly in the tiny state of Manipur.

Chanu is demanding repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 2958 (AFSPA). She is leading an unprecedented and extraordinary struggle, in a true Gandhian (non-violent) way. She started her fast after gruesome Malom massacre, where ten innocent civilians were gunned down by the security forces on 2nd November, 2000.

AFSPA provides special powers to arrest detain and even kill civilians on suspicion. The armed forced are empowered to search and destroy properties on mere suspicion in the ‘disturbed areas’ of the North East and subsequently in Kashmir.

Wherever AFSPA is operational, sudden disappearances of people, extra-judicial killings, tortures, rapes and arbitrary detentions are a routine affair.

The gross human rights violations are even severe in Manipur as compared to the Kashmir valley. But the national media, political parties and intellectuals, including high-profile human rights activists react sharply even if a single incident of police firing or curfew is reported in the Kashmir valley. But, when hundreds of innocent people suffer in north east, not much is said on it.

Even the unwavering courage showed by Chanu for standing up as a voice for thousands of voiceless people demanding to repeal AFSPA is not much known outside the region. Her 10-year fasting symbolises the-as of now unending-journey of the people of Manipur and other areas of North-east for peace, freedom and stability from violence, oppression and fear.
She has taken an indomitable stand that her fast will end only when the Government of India repeals the AFSPA. Ironically, the Government of India responded by arresting her several times on charges of attempted suicide under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code. The cycle of arrests of Chanu has continued for the past ten years.

When the Union Home Minister introduced the law in the Parliament in 1958, he assured that the Act will just be a temporary measure. Sadly, it has dragged on for more than 52 years now.

The people of Manipur have done whatever is humanely possible to register their protest against AFSPA. That includes naked protest by mothers, self-immolation by student leaders, mass demonstrations, petition to the Supreme Court, complaints to the United Nation bodies. But the Government of India, in fact the nation as a whole, remains completely indifferent on issues of right to life and dignity.

Today, her persistent protest has become unprecedented in the history of resilience. Her struggle lies not only in defending the most basic and fundamental human rights of her people, but also in questioning the very foundations of Indian democracy, which venerates Mahatma Gandhi and his principles of ahimsa (non-violence).

Irom Sharmila has been recognized internationally for her work on the issues of women’s empowerment, peace and human rights and her non-violent means of fighting for human rights. In 2007, she has been awarded the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights and in 2010 the Rabindranath Tagore Peace Prize was bestowed upon her.

As the international community recognizes her work and struggle, the Indian government suffices its duty by keeping her under judicial custody in the Security Ward of the Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital in Imphal and forcibly feeding her through naso-gastric intubations.

On November 2, 2010 Irom Sharmila as well as the people of the North-east India will mark a decade of the hunger strike not only for fundamental human rights, but also for truth in the foundation of Indian Democracy.

We do not want another year of celebration of Irom Sharmila’s hunger strike and we do not want another year of the AFSPA’s enforcement in India. The human rights defenders and women human rights defenders in Asia, stand as one demanding that the AFSPA should be repealed immediately and that the hunger strike of Irom Sharmila must end NOW.

Kut Festival – Time to Romance Tradition And Flirt With Modernity

October 31, 2010

kut festivalImphal, Oct 31 : Kut fever has gripped among the Chin-Kuki-Mizo group.

The day falls on Novermber 1.It is one of the most anticipated calendar days for the Kuki-Chin-Mizo group of Manipur and elsewhere.

One of the few occasions, KUT (as it is called) symbolises happiness and health, hard work and toil, peace and brotherhood, abundance and hope.

On this day, all roads in Manipur zeros in at the epicentre(s) for a day-long jamboree of cultural extravaganza.

Diaspora and locals, wherever they may be, come together in bonhomie on this day to celebrate and rejoice in God’s bountiful providence.

Given the increasing tendency of modern society to fragmentation and disintegration, Kut may be seen to be a local reincarnate of the hippie-days bohemian musical fete ” Woodstock “.

Young and old, kings and paupers, strong and weak are united in the spirit of ancestral unity.

Traditionally, locally brewed beers were exchanged within a village marking an end to agricultural drudgery consequent to plentiful harvest.

The day officially announces the beginning of leisure and game.

Cut to modern days, the festival has been laced with festoons and fanfare with the showcasing of tradition within the modern context.

The festival is in this sense, a link between the gapping hole of tradition and modernity.

For the people of Chin-Kuki-Mizo, it is a time to retrospect about the past and look forward to the future with optimistic zeal.

Diaspora of Kuki-Chin-Mizo takes time out to reunite with their roots despite the mad search for global identity.

For those unable to make a connection to their forefathers’ blood-drench soil of Manipur, they still make an effort by organising Kut wherever they may be roaming.

The principal highlight of the spectacular event, understandably, is the ostentatious display of traditional attire and dance forms of Kuki-Chin-Mizo fraternal tribes.

It is a day-long carnival divided into two action-packed halves.

If one were to take a historical and civilizational comparison of the separation of the day into two halves, it would appear to show the inevitable transition of the society from traditional to modern.

The first half of the day witnesses a display of customary and folk extravaganza interspersed with crooning sensation taking the audience to a dizzying heights of awe inspiration.

Many VVIPs are a major fixture of the first half of the day.

The later half of the day attracts a huge fan following with Miss Kut pageantry and Rock bands lined up to enthral young crowds of discernible taste.

Interestingly, the festival is celebrated in different parts of Manipur, from the State level down to village levels.

Towns like Moreh, which is located on the Indian side of the Indo-Myanmar international border, and villages like Saikul’s Gangpijang, steeped in its engagement with tradition and culture, have been attracting enormous admirers from every nook and crannies of the state.

Over the years, the state level event has unofficially become synonymous with multicultural and multi-community affairs.

Participation from other communities of the state in convincing numbers has lent itself a global facet.

As far as the state is concerned, it has long recognised the importance of the event and has declared November 1 a state holiday.

This post-harvest festival gives the participants reasons to dress up in their best from the wardrobe.

An abiding feature in their clothes is, for boys either a scarf or a tie with traditional motif on it, and for a girl it normally is traditional wraparounds.

Between the fête on November 1, if cry of “li li li li…li, Ho!” fills the air, rest assured that it is not a war cry.

Join in the chorus and invoke God for the manifold providence and bountiful harvest of the year.