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Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham, Editor of Imphal Times has more than 15+ years in the field of Journalism. A seasoned editor, was a former editor of ISTV News. He resides in Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai, with his wife and parents. Rinku can be contacted at [email protected] 

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MANPAC re-launches agitation against CAB; Khwairamband Keithel ladies stage anti- CAB protest; 18 hours bandh to begin from midnight today

IT News

Imphal, Nov 18

Manipur People Against Citizenship Bill (MANPAC) has re-launched its agitation against the passing of the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) today. Ahead of the 18 hours bandh called by the organization Vendor ladies of the Khwairanband Keithel today shut their stalls and staged protest in-between the two Khwairamband Keithel market building blocking the road leading to Thangal Bazar today afternoon.

Convenor of the North East Forum for Indigenous People (NEFIP), Lancha Ningthouja, speaking to reporters at Khwairamband Keithel at the sideline of the protest said that the protest by the vendor ladies of Khwairamband Keithel is the beginning of the agitation that has been resolved by the NEFIP to launch agitation across the North East states.   

NEFIP a joint body of organizations against the CAB comprising of over 18 different organizations from the seven North East states including Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura , Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

Lancha further said that after today’s protest, 18 hours total shut down will begin from midnight today and in the later stage various form of democratic protest will follow up until the contentious CAB has been withdrawn.

Lancha further said that On August 9, 2019, a memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister had been submitted through the Head of the States followed by another submission of the same to the Chief Minister of the region on October 3, 2019 appraising therein the possible devastative effects it may cause, if the CAB has been enacted to the entire North East region.

During the time the civil society organizations numbering around 250 had been assured of a pre legislative consultation with all stakeholders to insert clauses to ensure that the North eastern states will not be affected by the passing of the Bill. However, instead of pre-legislative consultation and other assurance, the Government of India once again tried to introduce the CAB 2019, without consulting the people of the North East states.

“ NEFIP is affirmed of the fact that accepting the legalization of CAB and submitting to Genocidal Act is suicidal and will lead total extinction of the Indigenous population of the entire North East and the NEFIP will go on with its agenda until the CAB is withdrawn”, Lancha said.

Mayanglambam Ongbi RK Radhesana, President of the Kwairamband Nupi Keithel Nupi Semgat Sagatpa, while talking to reporters said that we have been staging various form of agitation demanding the disclosure of the Frame Work agreement. People are crossing the limit to the silence of the government. When the people are agitating for the disclosure of the FA the government is again all set to pass the CAB.

Radhesana said that various protest has been staged even at New Delhi, demanding withdrawal of the CAB, however, the protest went in vain. CAB is an instrument to abolish the indigenous people of the state. 

Former president of AMUCO P Devan Sharma, Convenor of MANPAC Yumnamcha Dilip among others were also present during today’s protest.

Meanwhile, the 18 hrs total shut down has been extended full support by MANPAC, Jiribam Branch.

Talking with the media person, Y. Romen Singh, Convenor, MANPAC, Jiri branch said  the MANPAC has called total shut down against the possibility of CAB being introduce on the winter session of the Parliament. In which the MANPAC, Jiri branch will extend full support in their initiatives to spearhead the mass movement against the CAB.

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Is there any way forward that the Meitei, Naga and Kuki jointly resist CAB from a common platform

The “fall of the Berlin Wall” paved the way for German reunification, which formally took place on 3 October 1990. Seven years down the line, here in the erstwhile kingdom of Manipur, then became a state of India, started construction of a virtual wall to divide the state into pieces. Twenty two years later, the virtual wall is nearing completion, and today frustration haunts the people. Ideological symbiosis between the different communities of the state is nearing to perish. The strength of unity that once fought the aggressive storm blown from the Northern block is now history. The strength to resist external invasion that will be leading the ideology of this community towards different direction has been weaken. Hadn’t this virtual wall be opened and stitch the divide between various communities today, in another ten years, children of the time may not feel the pride of being born as Manipuri or say Naga (as desire by some). 
Each and every communities knows that its time that we the people of this region particularly the people belonging to various ethnic communities of Manipur unites to jointly resist the move for introduction of the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) in the next one or two day. Justification to the CAB by some vested interested sons of this soil will not help in fooling the people as we all know that there is an agenda. Insertion of a clause to the CAB 2016, tabled during the last government, for skipping of some North Eastern states including Manipur is an excuse that will serve no purpose to the resistance of the people. Manipur’s Meitei community, who are mostly Hindu and the Naga and Kuki Community who are mostly Christian, could have accepted if Myanmar is included among the countries which was stated in the Bill. Picking up of only Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan is a revelation  of the Agenda of RSS and BJP. This is being said because there are 1000s and 1000s of Manipuri Hindu , whose right has been deprived by the Myanmar authority by not allowing them to give a Hindu name and treated like a second class citizen. There are also many Christian Naga and Kuki who face similar fate in that country. This is known to every think tank of India and one wander why should the CAB be from only three countries, when the real religion persecution is being faced by either Hindu or Christian living in Myanmar whose origin is the state of Manipur. 
When state like Mizoram, Meghalaya and Nagaland which have special legislation to tackle the influx of migrants stood against the CAB, on what ground would the state of Manipur accept the CAB. As of today there are no legislation to safeguard the state of Manipur and the Bill passed by the state Assembly for protection of the state from the invasion by the migrants still is not given assent by the President of India. 
On the other hand, we do know that those expected to applied citizenship under the CAB (if suppose it becomes a law of the nation) is likely to be mostly persons who are struggling for survival. We also know that concerns for religion come next after they settled, as Bangladesh is a country which cannot give equal economic supports to all its citizen. Most influx might be the Muslim community by birth and no Indian authority will know which religion these migrants belong to. If one watch the Bollywood movie  “Jolly LLB -2” , where Bollywood superstar Askshay Kumar play the role of an advocate, how a Muslim terrorist took shelter posing himself as a Brahmin. A saffron dress , or a lugoon or pair of Chandan on the forehead is enough to proof that he is a Hindu. Under the CAB it is also possible that many such imposters can take advantage to become a citizen of India. And let us assumed a Bangladeshi granted citizenship under CAB at other part of the country entered the north eastern states like Manipur , will the government have legal tools to resist them from entering the state. 
The agenda is crystal clear, and at this crucial time the people of the entire North East particularly in the state of Manipur and Nagaland, people of all community need to have a break for some time over the issue of Naga and its final settlement. It is time to reconcile and stand united to chart an effective strategy and fight the CAB. As we also know that they (the BJP) will certainly pass the Bill in the next some few days as they now have numbers in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha,  there should be a clause that Meitei (Hindu) and Christian (Naga and Kuki) from Myanmar will also be granted citizenship in addition to the three country stated in the CAB.  


Enigma of Unique Histories

This article is an excerpt from the article “Reflections on the Conflicts of our Times : Attempt at Common Sense reading of the Manipur Experience” written by Lokendra Arambam

As for the issue of the
    GoI’s decision to
    recognize the unique history, culture and situation of the Nagas, the people in the valley have other fears. Because the demographic situation of the Manipur state is composed of a plural spread of some thirty four ethnic communities all over the hills and plains and certain smaller ethnoses had been converted into the denomination of Nagas, like earlier anthropological understanding of some old-Kuki communities like the Moyon, Monsang, Anal, Maring etc. have identified themselves as Nagas, and there are resistances to this programme. The Aimol community had refused to be recognized as Nagas. They wanted to remain Aimol, and some other smaller communities like Chothe also refused to be incorporated into larger tribes. When the NSCN (IM) submitted their demands for the settlement of the Indo-Naga Peace Talks, they surely must be presenting to the Centre a history of the Nagas as they claimed to be unique, and one is not sure what is the representation of the Manipur Nagas, apart from their solid history of the Nagas in Nagaland and Burma, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. When the civil representatives asked for a White Paper from the GoI to produce the documents of the Indo-Naga Peace Talks since 1997, Mr. Ravi was reported to have brushed aside the idea curtly, saying that he didn’t bring any ‘baggage’ of the past, meaning GoI had rejected the earlier 17 years old non-settled ambivalences of the UPA Government of the Congress, that the Modi Government was starting afresh on the issue. This means that the Modi Government had also rejected certain decisions reported to have been communicated to the Naga representatives by Mr. Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister that the idea of sovereignty of the Nagas shall not be recognized and that Naga integration of territories and people in neighbouring states are also ruled out. This sudden turn-about in the policies of the Centre, and recognition of the History of the Nagas as told by the Nagas only, not the history of ethnic components of neighbouring states, which are as yet not invited by the Centre from them. Here lies a complex bind on the case!
It is feared that the case of the Manipur Nagas, and their history in Manipur could have been wrongly reported by the NSCN (IM) to the Centre. It had been widely circulated that the Nagas of Manipur had never been conquered by any other power other than the British in Manipur history. It was circulated that the Meetei kingdom before they came under British rule in 1891 was only in the valley of Manipur. The Nagas of Manipur were therefore represented as being ‘independent’ in the hill regions of Manipur till the advent of the British.
It looks like the history of the Nagas in Manipur were being presented to the Centre in a one-sided version. The history of pre-colonial Manipur was not much studied as public knowledge, and not much of studies had been done on ethno-history, the issues of authority relations in the pre-colonial polity, the ritual relationship amongst communities with the state, and the facts in history about progressive awareness of self-hoods amongst pre-colonial ethnoses as against others, the development of the in-group consciousness of solidarity and out-group hostility being only a late phenomenon in our lives. The Indo-Naga Peace Talks, which was freshly started by the Modi Government, with Mr. R.N. Ravi’s perceptions of having carried no baggages from the past, was based on mistaken paradigms of conflict resolution exercises. Mr. R.N. Ravi himself was carrying a baggage of severe mistaken notion of Naga history, a discourse of unique history and situation of the Nagas, told by the NSCN (IM) and accepted by the NDA Government under Atal Bihari Bajpayee since the Amsterdam Conference of 2002. No other neighbouring states in Northeast India, which have Naga citizens in their territories, had ever been invited to relate their ethnic histories and cultures.
The civil societies in the Manipur valley have a relevant point to demand a White Paper of the GoI-NSCN (IM) negotiations since 1997, for the very issues of the Manipur Nagas could have been wrongly represented in the context of the negotiations. A correct perspective of history must be established about Naga uniqueness, if ever that too was reflected in Manipur history. There would be another uniqueness of Manipur history, if the pages of pre-colonial Manipur are opened. For it will be discovered that the hill tribes were participating as voluntary components of the pre-colonial Manipur polity since the tenth century of the Common Era. A ritual of mutual relationship with collective solidarity in tow known as Mera Haochongba (Dance by the Hillmen in October) was established during the reign of King Irengba (984-1074 C.E.). Both the lowland and highland dwellers fought together in Manipur’s wars against foreign powers like the Burmese and the English. The hills and the plains had a symbiotic relationship, forged by the geographic, ecological and economic inter-dependencies of the natural environment. The Manipur Nagas were not being understood as Nagas, which was a British invention. The Manipur polity recognized them in their ethnonyms, their original ethnos names like the Tangkhuls, the Mao, the Maram, the Thangals etc. The spread of the idea of Naga consciousness was a fairly recent phenomenon, a post-Phizo development. Even the legendary sacrifices of Jadonang and Gaidinlieu from the Manipur hills against the British imperial power, as interpreted as forbears of Naga nationalism was found to be an incorrect interpretation. For the two leaders fought for kingdom of the Makam people, which now is represented by the Zeliangroung people. Such critical nuances in the interpretation of historical events did create a lot of misunderstanding in the study and analysis of conflict. The story of the actual participation of the Nagas of Manipur in the overall Naga ethno-national movement should be dispassionately debated in the Naga inhabited areas, understood by the neighbouring communities so as to encourage proper treatment of the subject of their dignity, status and autonomy appropriate in context.        
The suggestion would however remain as wishful thinking since the issue of Naga integration under one administrative roof is a very strong demand of the NSCN (IM) and their supporters. Naga civil society groups in Manipur believe it as an act of faith that the Naga National movement is inexorably connected with the unison of territory with identity. Sanjib Baruah, an Assamese intellectual once remarked on ‘The emerging inclusivity of Naga identity with geography coming into clash with the territorially embodied identities of states like Assam and Manipur! For the Nagas, to bring together all the Nagas and the areas inhabited by them under one political roof is a driving force of the Nagas (Now there are opponents of this idea in Nagaland itself). The fundamental rights and aspirations of the Naga people as expounded by their leaders incorporate this fond belief. The constitution of the Naga National Council, the initiator of the Naga political struggle endorses this principle. Many prior agreements between the representatives of the Naga movement, and the officials of the Dominion of India in the wake of the Independence of India reflect this possibility.
“Naga integration implies explicitly that it is an issue of removing all the arbitrary boundaries created without the free and informed consent of the Naga people by the Government of British India, Burma and India. Therefore, for the integration of all Naga areas, under one political roof, the partition made in the past must be removed. The total geographical area of the land which is desired to be integrated is approximately 1,00,000 sq. Km. The division of their territory is one of the greatest wounds that has been inflicted on the Naga people by the power that be including the Naga opportunist elements who have more faith in the dominant system than the Naga people. It is clear that the Naga people did not decide to be part of Assam or Arunachal Pradesh or Manipur”. (White paper on Naga Integration by Naga Hoho 2002).
Civil society groups of Nagas in Manipur and Nagaland expressed deep sense of hurt when mass movements in the plains of Manipur were organized to oppose threats to the disintegration of the state, which they feared was being negotiated in the ongoing talks between the GoI and the NSCN (IM). In 1997, Nagas derided the Meetei rally, ‘as it was purportedly organized on apprehension of the Manipur Territorial disintegrity in the light of the ongoing talks between the Government of India and the NSCN (IM). The Nagas of Manipur along with the rest of other Nagas have been combating the mighty India for the last 50 years for Naga sovereignty and this long struggle by shedding blood of thousands of men, women and children cannot be easily sacrificed for the sake of Mammoth territorial integrity. The Naga political struggle is not without historical facts. The voice of the Meiteis should not be allowed to prevail upon the settlement of 50 years long political struggle of the Nagas in any manner’. (M. Dili et al – Naga Territorial Integrity Vs Manipur Territorial Integrity 14-9-97).
The tense dynamics of the ethnic relationships in Manipur and its contours are often defined by their very relationships with the Indian Government, for the Indian state is the ultimate arbiter and dispenser of ethnic justice. The future of the ethnoses in Northeast India seem to heavily lie with the decisions being made in the corridors of power in New Delhi. The equations of the proximity with and distance from the Centres of power therefore were critical factors in assessing the environment of distrust and mutual suspicion over moves and manoeuvres being made by the representatives of Indian authority, their nearness with respective political groups, and the very secrecies and hush-hush methods of the intent and actions of their higher officials. There seems to be no room for transparencies where the Central authority could be seen as being impartial and just in the eyes of the contending groups or ethnicities. Ethnic suspicions or distrust amongst themselves were thus heightened by the seeming behaviour and actions of the Central Government. This moral universe which is being tensely watched by the ethnoses in NE-India does not seem to impact on the national political parties vying for power in the five yearly exercise of electoral politics. The rivalries between the Congress Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party, and their opposing views and attitudes over the peripheral others of the Northeast does not portend any kind of democratic justice over conflictual issues in the Northeast. For the North-easterners view themselves as equals in their relationship with the Centre, and a slight tilt in favour of one ethnos against other ethnoses is regarded as sheer favouritism. The NDA government is mistrusted as being nearer to the Nagas than to the others in the Northeast.

Burning Manipur likely to be fueled by Government agenda to pass CAB; MANPAC calls 18 hours total shut down

IT News

Imphal, Nov. 17

June-July syndrome of pre BJP led government in the state has been resumed in another avatar, perhaps due to the exotic climate change. Manipur is likely to face an extreme form of uncertainty in the later part of this month as the Government of India is all set to table and pass the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) in the upcoming Parliamentary session that will begin from November 18. Manipur People Against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill , 2016 (MANPAC) an organization which has been spearheading the agitation against the introduction of CAB is all set to re-launch the agitation against it by calling 18 hours total shut down in the state.

November usually was a clam season with Sangai Festival offering joy to the people of the state, but this year it seems the prevailing situation is not going to give any chance to celebrate the most significant festival that bring peace and harmony to the state. It appeared rather as a shrewd revenge to the integrity of Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, who had dedicated for restoration of the peaceful atmosphere between various communities of the state. But, by whom?   

Democratic protest and voice of dissent is an essential part in the functioning of democracy. The legitimacy of the people’s democratic protest need to be acknowledge over the issue for settlement of the vex Naga issue. But if this very issue is purportedly used for free passage of CAB in the parliament then it is wrong.

The Manipur People Against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill , 2016 (MANPAC)  today announced 18 hours total shutdown  starting from midnight of November 18 till 6 pm of November 19 against the passing of the contentious CAB. A statement by MANPAC said that people of the state will gather at Khwairamband Ima Keithel here in Imphal and shout slogans against the passing of the CAB. The statement also urged the 4 MPs of the state to understand the feeling of the people of the state through the state government instead of putting the blame to the general public.  

A statement by the North East Forum for Indigenous People (NEFIP) , a federation of civil society bodies from the North Eastern states, said that they have been opposing the Bill since its introduction on January 8, 2019 as it challenges the very existence of the Indigenous People of the North Eastern Region.

On August 9, 2019, a memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister had been submitted through the Head of the States followed by another submission of the same to the Chief Minister of the region on October 3, 2019 appraising therein the possible devastative effects it may cause, if the CAB has been enacted to the entire North East region.

The MANPAC said that recognizing the illegal immigrants as ‘Natural Persons’ who can acquire Indian Citizenship on the basis of religious identity runs unethical to the Constitution of India.

The NEFIP also stated that the eligibility criterion to grant citizenship to these illegal migrants besides being unreasonable and unlawful is genocidal for Indigenes of the entire NE region.

Giving shelter and providing citizenship to the so called religiously prosecuted migrants who are in fact economic labour shall adversely prosecute the Indigenous population of the entire North East region.

“Hence, the NEFIP is affirmed of the fact that accepting the legaliszation of CAB and submitting to Genocidal Act is suicidal and will lead total extinction of the Indigenous population of the entire North East”, the statement of the NEFIP said.


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