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Imphal Free Press - Imphal Free Press
Thursday, 07 December 2017 00:00

Cleanliness drive held

IMPHAL | Dec 6

As a part of the Swachhata Hi Sewa (SHS) campaign, 109 Bn CRPF, under the aegis of IGP M&N CRPF, today organised a cleanliness drive at Rising Athletics Union (RAU) turf ground, Lairik Yengbam Leikai, Khuman Lampak, said a release.

Further, under the supervision of commandant, Vinod Kumar, and in the presence of deputy commandant, Alok Ranjan, tree plantation was also organised around the camp area of 109 Bn CRPF, Mongsangei, Imphal West, the release mentioned.

More than 100 personnel participated in the said cleanliness drive and tree plantation, it added.

Published in News

By Oken Jeet Sandham

When Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang with his Cabinet colleagues pitching the longstanding Naga issue settled before the Christmas or at least before the next State Polls due early next year, Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren Singh’s coming to Nagaland and gracing the fifth-day of the 10-Day Hornbill Festival as Chief Guest on December 5, 2017 at Kisama assumed significance. Along with him, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu was gracing the event as Guest of Honor. In a rare show of unison, the Chief Ministers of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland shared the dais and graced the event.

While writing this, I only remember the wonderful road which was shown by Dr. Shurhozelie by going to Imphal and meeting his counterpart, Singh, early this year on 9 March 2017. When asked on February 23, 2017, one day after taking over the Chief Ministership of Nagaland, whether he was going to Manipur, he said, “Meiteis are our big brothers and more advanced,” “We have to live together as neighbors. There is no other way. Yes, I am going to Manipur for communal harmony.” Within three weeks, he proved by going to Imphal and met his counterpart, Singh.

If one looks at the natures of dealing with the Naga issue by the two Chief Ministers of Manipur and Nagaland, it is quite the opposite. Nagaland Chief Minister has been consistently making its stand clear that solution to the protracted Naga issue should be honorable and acceptable to the Naga people, whereas his counterpart, Manipur Chief Minister has been rather more vocal that the territory of his State could not be compromised while finding a settlement to the Naga issue.

The timing of Singh’s visit to Nagaland during the Hornbill Festival happened at a time when the Opposition Congress in Manipur has been staging “Sit-in-protest” demanding the BJP-led NDA Government at the Center to disclose the contents of the “Framework Agreement” signed with NSCN (IM) on 3 August 2015 at Delhi. Interestingly, even not a single legislator in Nagaland is also aware of the contents of the “Framework Agreement” till date in spite of demanding that it should be made public. Such demands were also made by several Naga civil societies.

However, there is upbeat mood of the general public when Interlocutor to Naga Talks, RN Ravi formally invited six Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) - GPRN/NSCN, NSCN(Reformation), Federal Government of Nagaland (FGN), Naga National Council (NNC) Parent Body, NPGN /NNC (Non Accordist) and GDRN/NNC/(Non Accordist) - to Delhi for holding first ever political talks. They held their first ever political talks on 27 September. Less than a month, Ravi came down to Nagaland and held their second round of political talks on 23 October at Chumoukedima Police Complex, Dimapur. NSCN (IM), which held over a hundred rounds of political talks with Delhi ever since their ceasefire with them on July 25, 1997, did not utter a single word on Ravi’s engaging in political talks with other six NNPGs. This is a hugely positive development as far as a settlement to the Naga issue is concerned.

Although Ravi or any Union Ministers had not uttered any timeframe for settling the Naga issue, they kept saying as usual that they were very close to the settlement.

It may be mentioned that, four years ago, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi gracing the Grand Opening Ceremony of the Hornbill Festival on December 1, 2014, at Kisama, he did not utter a single word relating to the ongoing Naga peace process. His silence on the Naga issue while attending the Hornbill Festival stunned the Naga people as well as the people of the Northeast who thought he would at least say something in respect of the settlement of the Naga issue. Because, as soon as he became Prime Minister, he announced that the Naga issue would be resolved within eighteen months.

Surprisingly, India’s new President Ram Nath Kovind while delivering his speech at the inaugural function of Hornbill Festival on December 1, 2017, said Nagaland was on the verge of making history after years of insurgency for which, he congratulated all groups for coming to a common platform for an early and honorable solution.

While the scenario of the Naga peace process entering into a crucial phase, Singh’s gracing the Hornbill Festival on December 5, 2017, would generate positive development more of the relationship between the two neighboring States. In fact, many in Nagaland were surprised as to what he would say on the Naga issue while attending the Hornbill Festival. Wisely, Singh like Modi did not utter a single word on the Naga issue. He had focused more on the developmental aspects and neighborly relationships of the two States. Similarly, Kandu also focused on the developmental aspects of the region.

How does the Naga solution come to a reality is something everyone keeps asking? You can’t blame the Congress if no solution is happening before Christmas or at least next Nagaland Polls because the States – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur – are ruled by BJP and BJP is a major ally in the DAN Government in Nagaland since 2003. At the same time, the BJP under the dynamic Prime Minister Modi has been ruling at the Center.

But if no solution comes before Christmas or at least next Nagaland Polls, it is sure that Prime Minister Modi and hordes of his same Ministerial colleagues will dash off Delhi for poll-bound Nagaland and display another melodrama with so many promises. In last electioneering in Manipur, Modi confidently informed the people of Manipur at Imphal that the “Framework Agreement” did not contain any Clause that would pose a threat to the territorial integrity of their State He even vowed that Manipur’s territory would be protected at all cost. Rajnath Singh, Union Home Minister, conveniently and proudly declared that no force in the world could disintegrate Manipur’s territorial integrity.

It is very sad that the political leaderships of this country who have been engaging in political talks with NSCN (IM) and now with six NNPGs have been playing with the “Naga issue” for their vote banks. This clearly shows that they have not been serious in resolving the issue once and for all. Instead of focusing on the mechanism of finding a solution that is acceptable to all concerned, they would only try to whip up sentiments of the people by playing with the Naga issue for their narrow political mileage.

The people of Nagaland should wake up and tell to all the political parties not to use the name of the Naga political issue any longer during electioneering. Any central political leaders including Modi should not be allowed to use the Naga peace process while campaigning for their respective candidates in the forthcoming Assembly elections in Nagaland. The Naga people should not allow the Naga political issue to be used as vote banks anymore. Any politicians belonging to any political parties can help expedite the process of finding a solution in any given situation and time and not during electioneering.

If Modi comes to Nagaland for seeking votes during the upcoming Nagaland elections, the people should rather ask him to give more hospitals, more Medical Colleges, more Engineering Colleges, more Technical Colleges, more industries, more electricity, finish the construction of sanctioned and approved National Highway roads, free medicines, more employment, more airports. The same should be asked to other central political leaders whoever comes to Nagaland for electioneering.

However, Chief Ministers of neighboring States attending each other’s festivals by sharing dais, meeting and mingling with the people would pave way in resolving many issues – be it social or political, besides strengthening the harmonious relationship of the region’s people.

On hearing Manipur CM’s attending the Hornbill Festival, former Minister and senior NPF MLA, Yitachu who accompanied Dr. Shurhozelie while visiting Imphal to meet Singh, expressed his profound happiness saying, “I am so happy that Manipur CM came for the Hornbill Festival. This is how the neighborhood should be. It’s a small world. The entire North East put together is also a small place to prove our significance in this world.”

GK Pillai, when he was Union Home Secretary, once told this writer that it is not Delhi that is going to live with you but your neighbors. You all have to involve in finding a solution by creating a peaceful environment, he said.

Published in Articles
Thursday, 07 December 2017 00:00

End polygamy

In 2008, Manipur Compulsory Registration of Marriages Billl, was introduced in the February session of the Manipur Legislative Assembly and passed in the Winter session in October the same year. The Bill, it will be recalled came as part of a directive from the Centre to the states. This Act, it was then hoped would end all hangovers of the feudal and pre-modern past which have put women in Manipur at the receiving end of conjugal life, as well as inheritance of parental properties. The first of the institutions that this new law, was expected to make illegal is bigamy/polygamy and its more shadowy sibling concubinary. Keeping an atonbi (second wife), is definitely considered a deviant male behaviour which would earn him a roguish philanderer’s reputation but all the same socially accepted. A woman matching such behaviour would not be similarly seen as merely naughty, but spat upon as a whore. We are not suggesting that prostitution should be socially endorsed, but only throwing in the reminder that if prostitution is bad for the woman, whoring should be equally bad for the man. Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, so they say, and there can be no two ways about this. To go into a little more nuances about the term atonbi, she is less than a wife (that is why parental neglect, and so too governmental neglect, is often described as atonbigi macha, atonbi’s children). She is not a courtesan, for a courtesan is generally a professional enchantress who cohabits volitionally with important men for return favours. She is definitely not a whore too. She is a second class wife, who does not even get to live in her “husband’s” home, or her children considered legitimate heirs of their father’s property. Most of the time it is not love that makes a man keep a concubine, but lust. On the woman’s part it is generally poverty and a desperate need for a sense of security which make her willing to offer herself as a concubine to a well provided man. In other words, this despicable institution is a rich man’s disease. The question now is, what has become of this Act?

It probably reflects on the guilt shared by a good many legislators in the Assembly, ruling and opposition alike, that everything is so quite now and the matter has seemingly been swept under the carpet. If the Act is invoked, many of our high and mighty probably would be facing criminal charges. This brings us to the next point. The Bill would seek compulsory registration of marriages, which would mean that if somebody seeks a second marriage for whatever the reason, he or she will have to legally divorce from the first marriage first or else face penal action. This is all very well, except while considering what status those already in such liaisons would be categorised in, especially because a majority of those guilty would be VVIPs and VIPs. Probably the resort has been to not to make the Act have retrospective coverage, but come into effect only from the day it is promulgated so that those already into such relationships can be exempted. Moreover, it will have to be also assured that children born out of such cohabitations are not left victims of the legislation for no fault of theirs. Even if the Act was not made applicable for offences committed before 2008, it has been nine years since 2008 and there probably are new violators. Why has the Act been allowed to remain in hibernation? If those in the government have a vested interest in silencing the Act, what are the reasons for campaigners of gender equality also silent?

While polygamy is one practice this legislation seeks to end, if we remember the discussions in the Assembly, the Act also had a lot to say about giving the girl child equal inheritance rights. Here too, the silence of child rights activist has been deafening. The Act also had a clause on alimony if a marriage were to end in divorce. We suggest the matter be brought back into the public domain once again. In the years that have gone by, there have been so many incidents of legally wedded wives being subject to domestic harangue and forcefully divorced. This is a crime of a different order, but even if it was only divorces which were being sought, the alimony clause should have restored some semblance of justice. Besides having a legal handle to deal with such offences, alimony would also be a deterrent to the corrupt rich men every time their philandering and wayward instinct prompt them to enter into a relationship they do not intend to keep or respect.

Published in Editorial
Thursday, 07 December 2017 00:00

Veterinary camp held

IMPHAL | Dec 6

26 Battalion of 9 sector Assam rifles and a team of 14 mob field veterinary hospital conducted a veterinary camp for the livestock of the villagers of Phunderei village in Thoubal today

Around 500 animals including farming cattle as well as pets were given medical aid, said a release.

The villagers were also sensitised about the upkeep of cattle’s health in winter season and the vaccination schedule, it added.

Published in News
Thursday, 07 December 2017 00:00

Automatic sewing machines distributed

IMPHAL | Dec 6

26 Assam Rifles of 9 Sector AR under the aegis of IGAR (South) distributed a total of six automatic sewing machines at Angtha village, Yairipok, as a part of their effort to empower women.

Commandant of the said unit handed the sewing machines to the ‘Light Youth Club and Embroidery Centre’, Yairipok, which is an all women self-help centre, said a release.

The villagers expressed their gratitude and satisfaction for the kind gesture of the Assam Rifles, it added.

Published in News
Thursday, 07 December 2017 00:00

RSAPPS celebrates annual day

IMPHAL | Dec 6

Red Shield primary school celebrated annual sports day on December 4 organised by the Red Shield Eagles at Leimakhong, said a release from PIB defence wing.

170 school children participated with 300 parents and guests.

Chief guest Suja Suresh declared the sports meet open. The sports day commenced with a march past by the children followed by pledge of sportsmanship.

Deputy general officer commanding, Red Shield Division, was also present to boost the morale of the participants.

RSAPPS students put up a display of exercise, aerobics, yoga, Manipuri dance and Zumba.

General officer commanding, Red Shield Division, also attended the event and urged parents to encourage children to take up sports as a career and bring laurels to the state and the country.

Published in News
Thursday, 07 December 2017 00:00

Training programme on bee keeping concludes

JIRIBAM | Dec 6 (JNN)

 A two-day bee keeping programme that began yesterday organised by People Endeavour for Social change (PESCH) in association with Haitung Goodwill Foundation under the supervision of District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) as a part of 14th State Level Orange Festival was concluded today.

 The programme held at Shekinuh-In under Tamenglong headquarters. D.C. IAS, Armstrong Pame who attended the programme as chief guest said the training programme was conducted with the goal to make Jiribam, a bee producing district and for the trainees in the programme to become fruitful.  He further said they will provide help the bee farmers make a source of income from their profession.

 Lecturer, Jiribam Government Higher Secondary School and managing director, Bee care and Research Centre Jiribam, H. Rajen Kumar Singh who attended as the resouarce person in the programme said Tamenglong is a place full of resources. Therefore, in order to make horticulture resources improve, bee keeping should be practiced more.

In the training programme, coordinator, People Endeavour for Social Change (PESCH), Namkhinlung Pamei attended as the moderator. 35 trainees hailing from different places were given certificates by Amstrong Pame.

Published in News
Thursday, 07 December 2017 00:00

State Level Youth Festival concludes

IMPHAL | Dec 6

The 22nd State Level Youth Festival, 2017, ended today with a valedictory function held at the auditorium, Khuman Lampak, sports complex.

Youth affairs and sports minister, Letpao Haokip attended the valedictory function as the chief guest while  state director, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, Imphal, Sahib Singh and retired IAS officer, RK Nimai attended as president and guest of honour respectively.

In his address, minister, Letpao Haokip mentioned that Manipur is like a mini-India where a number of ethnic communities reside. The youth of today have an immense role to promote the unity and integrity of the state, as well as the nation, he said.

He further encouraged the participants to be prepared and determined to become good leaders as the future of the state and the nation would be in their hands, one day.

On this occasion, RK Nimai stressed the need to revise the state youth policy so that the talents in the state are nurtured to their full potential. In this effort, he volunteered to offer his service so that the youth and sportspersons of Manipur are guided in the right direction. In the said closing ceremony, prizes were distributed for the competitions that were held during the entire festival.

Published in News
Thursday, 07 December 2017 00:00

Chingtam Ningol Chakouba

THOUBAL | Dec 6

United Chingtam Associaton (UCTA) Heirok have organised the 8th Chingtam Ningol Chakouba at the community hall, Leitan Makhong under Heirok Part II.

The event, which is annually held by UCTA, was organised in association with Chingdompok Ideal Top Youth Club (City Club) Heirok, Apunba Nupi Angang Semgatpa Lup, Heirok, and Social and Youth Progressive Association (SAYPO).

Organisation secretary, UCTA Heirok Ningthoujam Gopen Meitei said the occasion was held mainly for the purpose of bringing together the people of the hills and the valley. This was organised for the eighth time. In the Ningol Chakouba held today and during last year, it is very pleasing to see the ningols coming from the villages located at Chandel district which lie as neighbours to Heirok. The occasion will be held every year, he added.

The day was attended by pradhan, Hierok part I, gram panchayat, L. Yamba, pradhan, part II, gram panchayat, Th. Bhanumati, vice president, NIPCO, Rishikanta Yumnam, advisor, UCTA, Thoidingjam Manihar etc.

The ningols who took part in the day were presented with modest gifts.

Published in News
Thursday, 07 December 2017 00:00

Contract workers appeal for contract extension

By A Staff Reporter

IMPHAL | Dec 6

The All Manipur Accountant cum Data Entry Operator (AMADEO) appealed to the state government to extend their contract.

Speaking to media persons today at Manipur Press Club, Imphal, AMADEO publicity secretary, Ch, Milan said that they were working in contract basis under Rural Development and Panchayati Raj department from the year 2014.

Their contract ended on June 2017, but they have been working in the department till today, he added.

The publicity secretary said he came to hear that the department is going to recruit new accountants and data entry operators instead of extending their contract.

“It is not fair to recruit new staff instead of extending the contract of current employees. And many of us have already exceeded age bar to join the recruitment,” said Milan.

AMADEO warned to take up certain agitations if the government fails to pass their extending order within December 10.

Published in News
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Imphal Free Press is a widely circulated English daily published in Manipur, North-East India. Started in 1996, it has relocated its head office from Sega Road, Imphal to Palace Gate, Imphal.

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