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Items filtered by date: Sunday, 01 November 2015 - Imphal Times - A Daily Eveninger

IPR Day observed; Edn. Min. cautions media in reporting sensational news

Education Minister, M Okendro, who is also the spokesperson of Manipur Government cautioned the media fraternity of the state from publishing stories that may provoke hate feelings to the various ethnic community of the state. Speaking as Chief Guest, at the 66th Information and Public Relation Day observed by the Directorate of Information and Public Relation at Moirangkhom, here in Imphal, Okendro said that media plays important role in maintaining peace and tranquility in the state.
“Some vested interested people are trying to disturb the harmonious relationship between the Hill and plain people and people in the media should know it”, said the Education Minister.
He said both print and electronic media should restrain from negative reporting which might provoke hate feelings to different community. He further added that the state government will soon come up with a new policy to monitor the news content of the state media.
About upgrading the DIPR into a major department, Okendro said that the government has already approved for recruitment of 58 to 60 staffs to fill the vacant posts in the department. He also added that process is on to procure equipments for the department.  Parliamentary Secretary, IPR & MI, K. Meghachandra, who preside over the observance function also lauded the roles being played by the media in the state.”In democracy media plays crucial roles, it bridge the gap between people and the government”, Meghachandra said. The first Publicity Officer of Manipur Government was appointed on November 1 in 1949. Late Rajkumar Maipaksana Singh was the first Publicity Officer of Manipur.
The Information and Publicity office became a Directorate in March 1974 with the appointment of Director and Ex-Officio Secretary.
The Directorate extended its services to the district headquarters by posting Reporters and Information Assistants in districts in 1978.Manipur Information Centre (MIC) was opened at New Delhi in 1981.
IPR Principal Secretary Letkhogin Haokip, who was also present at the occasion stressed the need for bridging the gap between people of the hill and valley through DIPR.

On the occasion prize winner of the Photo completion organized by the DIPR were also conferred certificates, mementos and cash awards. The photo competition was held in four theme. Under the theme “Unity in Diversity”,  Arbind Sorokhaibam bags 1st Position,  Devendra Hijam bags 2nd Position and R.K. Nepolian bags 3rd Position.
On the theme “Manipur Marches Ahead”, Oinam Deepak bags 1st Position, Kosygin Leishangthem bags 2nd Position and  Bimal Thongam bags 3rd Position.
On the theme  “Environment, Ecology & Ecotourism of Manipur”, Arbind Sorokhaibam again bags 1st Position, Oinam Deepak bags 2nd Position and  Longjam Himmat bags  3rd Position.
In “Candid from the Streets of Manipur” theme, Ranabudhi Nongyai bags 1st Position, Nikhil Prasad bags 2nd Position and  Soibam James bags 3rd Position.

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KUT celebrated with cultural flavour

Chavang KUT, the post harvest festival of Kuki-Chin- Mizo was celebrated today with cultural flavour at 1st MR Parade ground.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh appealed the people of the state to celebrate the spirit of KUT festival with traditional flavour to spread communal harmony in the state.
He said that understanding the significance of KUT festival in promoting peace and unity in the state, the state government had celebrated the festival at state level declaring the day as state holiday. He appealed the people to preserve the culture and traditions of every community in the state. 

Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam in his speech elaborated on the significance of celebrating the festival saying that the festival brings us kindness and prosperity to the people. He said the various kind of festivals being observed by different communities of the state showed that we are people who admires peaceful co-existence among various people of the state.
“ We all know that Naga, Kuki, Meitei, Pangal etc. have been  living together from the time immortal. Our forefather may not get formal education but they are more educated as they know the art of living peacefully”, said Gaikhangam. 
The function was also attended by Law and Forest Minister Devendra, Health and Family Welfare Minister Phungzathang Tonsing, Industry Minister Govindas Konthoujam, RD& PR Minister Franchis Ngajokpa, Edn. Minister M. Okendro, IFCD Minister Gnamthang Haokip, PHED Minister I Hemochandra,  Social Welfare Minister AK Mirabai and MLA O. Landhoni graced the occasion as dignitaries on the dais.

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Mushroom Cultivation

3 days skill development program on Mushroom Cultivation was held at Khurai Thongam Leikai. The skill development program which began from October 29 was jointly organized by NCUI- Women Co-Operative Education Project OF Imphal West and Rama foundation. Gram Panchayet of Khurai Thongam leikai, Wahengbam Romesh singh, Chair Person of NCUI Jeena Potsangbam and Director of ICM Imphal grace the closing function as chief guest, president and guest of honor respectively

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AR Brigadier visits family of slain rifleman

Brigadier Rajiv Chhibber, Commander, 26 Sector AR and Mrs Vandana Chhibber, President, Assam Rifles Women’s Welfare Association, 26 Sector Assam Rifles visited the family of Late Rifleman Paokholet Baite at Moreh on Saturday and shared the grief with family members. Rifleman Paokholet Baite of 24 Assam Rifles was killed in militants attack at Satang area near Kwatha in Chandel district on October 25. Rebel group MPA had claimed the attack. The Assam Rifles provided all possible assistant to the widow of the Rifleman.

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KCP-MC supports MCPM Gen. Strike

The proscribed outfit KCP-MC (liberation) in a press statement issued today said the outfit will support the all Manipur General Strike called on Maoist Communist Party Manipur on the first day of Sangai Festival, 2015.
The statement further said the outfit will fully support any step for the upliftment and development of Kanglei (Manipur) Tourism taken up by Maoist Communist Party Manipur. Meanwhile the party also appealed Maoist Communist Party Manipur to take a leading role in uniting among all the communist parties established to bring structural equality, justice and cordial social relationship in Manipuri society.

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MCPM terms Sangai Festival as looters fest.

Rebel group Maoist Communist Party, Manipur today said that if the Manipur Government fails to charted a long term policy to promote tourism Industry in the state instead of looting public money in the name of organising Sangai Festival then the outfit will call general strike in all days of Sangai festival. In a press statement, the outfit said that some of the people in the government are looting public money in the name of renovation works of roads and other infrastructures without caring to maintain quality control. The renovation works at Zoological Garden has also been criticise by the outfit saying that quality was not maintained. It said it will highlights the name of the contractors involved in the renovation works.  “Every years the government allotted works for construction of roads and renovation works of infrastructures but as the works are done to meet the deadlines, quality was never maintain”, the Maoist statement said. It further added that the government till today has not taken up any plan to connect the Dzuko Valley, Siroi Lily or Kangkhui Cave. It said no tourist destination has been established in Tamenglong district where the Deputy Chief Minister was elected.

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‘India must respect Irom Sharmila’s 15 years of struggle’

Today marks the completion of 15 years of the selfless and unparalleled protest of Irom Sharmila, 42 year old poet and human rights defender from Manipur, India. She has been on hunger strike since 2 November2000, demanding the repeal of the draconian Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) which has been criticized by several national and international bodies. The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), Human Rights Alert (Manipur), Amnesty International India and Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights urge Indian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Irom Sharmila and repeal AFSPA.
“Irom Sharmila’s 15 year hunger strike is a symbol of a brave struggle against injustice. The AFSPA has caused widespread human rights violations like enforced disappearances, extrajudicial executions, torture and sexual violence,” said Henri Tiphagne, Chairperson of FORUM-ASIA. In particular, “AFSPA has been used to justify killings on mere suspicion as well as granted virtual immunity through a clause prohibiting legal proceedings without sanction from the federal government, which is virtually never granted.”
Irom Sharmila started her hunger strike on 2 November 2000 demanding the repeal of AFSPA. However she was arrested four days later and charged with attempted suicide, a crime under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code. “According to Section 309, a person convicted of the crime of attempted suicide may only be imprisoned a year. Since then Sharmila has been arrested, released and rearrested to be released after a year of judicial custody where she is forced fed through a nasogastric tube,” said Babloo Loitongbam, Director of Human Rights Alert Manipur. “Sharmila has never been convicted of charges of attempted suicide. Sharmila has repeatedly rejected the allegation that she is trying to commit suicide and maintains that she is on hunger strike demanding the repeal of AFSPA”.
On 19 August 2014, a Manipur court ordered Sharmila to be released stating that her hunger strike was a “political demand through lawful means”. On 10 December 2014, the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs said the Indian government had decided to repeal section 309 which would decriminalize attempted suicide. Most recently, on 23 January 2015, a district court in Imphal rejected the charges of attempted suicide and ordered to Sharmila’s release from custody. However, she was re-arrested on the very same charges a day later. Sharmila has been facing this farcical cycle of arrests and re-arrest and has been subjected to force feeding since she began her hunger strike in November 2000.
“A hunger strike is not an attempt at suicide. Irom Sharmila is being detained by the government only for her inconvenient activism,” said Aakar Patel Executive Director of Amnesty International India. “She is a prisoner of conscience, using her freedom of expression to protest against an unjust law. And her shameful detention leaves a stain on India’s commitment to human rights which grows harder to remove with every passing year.”
The criminalization of Irom Sharmila’s peaceful protest also goes against the spirit of Article 1 of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, which guarantees the right of human rights defenders to promote and protect the realisation of human rights.
Despite repeated calls to withdraw the AFSPA from UN experts as well as national and international groups, the Act continues to be enforced and continues to cause flagrant human rights violations. During the then UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay’s visit to India in March 2009, she said the Act breached “contemporary international human rights standards.” Furthermore, Margaret Sekaggya, then UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in 2011 and also Christof Heyns, then UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary executions in early 2012, had recommended repeal of AFSPA. During the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review in 2012, India also received specific recommendations to review and repeal AFSPA. However, these recommendations were ignored as India was reluctant to accept them. Earlier this year, the Indian government-appointed High Level Committee on the Status of Women recommended repealing AFSPA. Previously, several other government-appointed commissions have recommended repealing the law.  The Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee, the Second Administrative Reforms Commission and the Prime Minister’s Working Group on Confidence-Building Measures in Jammu and Kashmir have recommended the repeal of the AFSPA. The Justice Verma Committee, set up in 2012 to review laws against sexual assault, noted that AFSPA legitimizes impunity for sexual violence. The Justice Santosh Hegde Commission, set up by the Supreme Court in 2013 to investigate cases of extrajudicial executions in Manipur, described its findings as “egregious examples of the AFSPA’s gross abuse.”
FORUM-ASIA, Human Rights Alert (Manipur), Amnesty International India and Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights urge the Indian government to take immediate measures to repeal AFSPA given that is not in accordance with the international human rights standards. Repeal of AFSPA is already much delayed.
We also reiterate our repeated calls to the Indian authorities to promptly end judicial harassment against Irom Sharmila and demand her immediate release in consideration of her historically rooted and democratic protest, rather than criminalizing it.
Background
Irom Sharmila has been involved in a prolonged campaign demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, (AFSPA). She began her hunger strike after the killing of 10 people in Manipur by the Assam Rifles (a paramilitary force) in Malom, Imphal in November 2000. She was also demanding the removal of the AFSPA from Manipur.
She was arrested shortly after she began her hunger strike and charged with attempting to commit suicide, a criminal offence under Indian law. While she was under arrest, she refused to sign bail bonds maintaining that she had not committed any offence, and instead called for the criminal charges against her to be dropped.
Irom Sharmila has been the recipient of several human rights awards for her outstanding activism in promoting human rights. She was awarded the 2007 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights1, which is given to “an outstanding person or group, active in the promotion and advocacy of Peace, Democracy and Human Rights”. In 2009, she was also awarded the first Mayillama Award of the Mayilamma Foundation for her nonviolent struggle in Manipur.

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