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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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The ceasefire between GOI and NSCN-IM not extended in Manipur –CM

IT News

Imphal, Feb 24

The ongoing ceasefire between the Government of India and the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM) is not extended to the state of Manipur. This was stated by Chief Minister N. Biren Singh while replying to a calling attention motion moved by Congress MLA K. Ranjit in today’s assembly session.

Congress MLA K Ranjit sought an explanation from the state home department regarding the hasty release of a cadre of NSCN-IM who are arrested by Assam Rifles and handed over to Manipur Police. He also questions why the state police who were supposed to drive out mob blocking road remain mute spectators by taking video of the movement.

Answering the call attention motion, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh said that it is the judiciary that has to decide on whether an arrested person can be released on bail or not depending upon the nature of charge-sheet submitted by the investigating officer of the Police department.

“The cease-fire between GOI and the NSCN-IM is not extended to Manipur and the security force had already intervened in to stop the NSCN-IM from setting up camps at Tamenglong, Chandel, and Ukhrul”, N. Biren Singh, who is also in charge of Home said.

The calling attention motion was moved by K Ranjit in connection with the confrontation between cadres of NSCN-IM and the Assam Rifles that happened on February 20 at Senapati and the incidents that sparked out following the incident.

Referring to news reports appeared in local dailies, K Ranjit said that a Captain of the Assam Rifles and his team while conducting raid at an NSCN-IM hideout camp, was overpowered by the cadres of the NSCN-IM and was freed after snatching his service weapon.

He further said that on February 21 the AR troops arrested a Town Commander of the NSCN-IM from Senapati district headquarter and handed over to the police. He was later shifted to Lamphel police in view of the security condition. Meanwhile, supporters of NSCN-IM vandalized the vehicles of AR and even tried to torch it for arresting the NSCN-IM cadre.

Ranjit said the arrested NSCN-IM cadre was released on bail on the same day by producing at the residence of CJM Senapati district which happens to be at Imphal and released on bail. As per newspaper report, the NSCN-IM cadre was even escorted by state police till Senapati, Ranjit alleged and question for the reason of such act.

“The state police didn’t escort the released cadre and it is the judiciary that decides whether to release on bail or not as per the charge sheet”, Chief Minister N. Biren said. He added that no weapon or any incriminating documents have been seized.

In connection with the integrity of the state, N. Biren said that his government will never compromise the integrity of Manipur for any issue.

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RPF rejects any dialogue with Government; says no compromise with Manipur’s Freedom

IT News
Imphal, Feb 24

Armed rebel group Revolutionary People’s Front (RPF) in a statement released to media house in connection with its 41st Foundation which the party observed as ‘Independence Demand Day’ flatly rejected any dialogue with the government at this juncture.
In a message by the President of the outfit, Irengbam Chaoren sent out in connection with the ‘Independence Demand Day’ said, “Under the current situation, it will be impossible to come to any form of agreement on liberation of Manipur through dialogue between the Government of India and the revolutionary groups of Manipur.
He said that there will be no conducive atmosphere for political dialogue on independence until and unless there are inescapable conditions which compel India to liberate all the nations which it annexed at the time of its formation.
India’s initiative for dialogue is basically about merging the revolutionaries into the
Indian mainstream, make them real Indians; disarm the revolutionary groups and bring a solution within the constitution of India. The statement said thatManipur’s Freedom  will never compromise.
The statement however said that RPF welcomes all efforts of the  people particularly CSOs to address the separatist tendency of several communities living together in Manipur and consolidate the idea of a united Manipur.
“In fact, we are well aware that forging unity among the communities is a crucial task of paramount importance. RPF’s armed movement to liberate Manipur is a response to the call of the over 2000 years old national history of independence and freedom. To protect the freedom and independence of Manipur, our forefathers fought against neighboring Myanmar for over 500 years.
To RPF, one major obstacle to correct this notion and take the nation on the right path is the Government of India’s colonial rule. In fact, RPF’s armed movement which is now over 40 years old is fundamentally against the Government of India’s colonial rule.
The statement said that the armed movement is not a manifestation of grievances against administrative or economic policies formulated by the Government of India for the people of Manipur.
The armed movement is a movement to liberate Manipur and establish self-rule. As of now, the movement is unable to achieve much progress as the enemy, with their superior resources and power, has been posing all kinds of hurdles to the movement.
“We believe we have two big reasons for the ‘Ultimate Victory’ of the liberation movement of Manipur; the first one being Manipur’s written history of being an independent nation which is over 2000 years old, and the second one is the forced annexation of Manipur by India. It has been accepted by one and all that it was these
two reasons which gave birth to the revolutionary movement.
As we cannot rely on our own strength alone in our fight against India, it is our indispensable strategy to forge alliance with neighboring revolutionary groups. It is also a part of our strategy to make ourselves capable of seeking timely assistance from countries which are hostile to India or which intend to weaken India. We are also well aware that there is a strong possibility of disintegration of India from inside with different communities/States/regions giving more emphasis to their own interests at the cost of united India.
The statement also blamed India terming it as a war-mongering country which has been provoking neighboring countries to wars without thinking of the consequences. The recent statement of newly appointed Indian army chief General MM Naravane that the Indian army will conquer Pakistan Administered Kashmir if the Parliament gives permission and insertion of Nepal’s Limpiyadhura, Lipulek and Kalapani within the territory of India in maps published by India unmistakably testify that India is a country which is keen to revive the idea of imperialism. As a result, India’s diplomatic relations with neighboring countries have been growing from bad to worse., the statement added.
The statement said that the claim of State Government leaders and those who see the revolutionary movement only from its appearance that the movement has been suppressed is not based on the right perspective.
“We will definitely pave the way for a war of liberation for our future generations even if the war takes a thousand years. This will be a sweet victory for the revolutionary movement”, Irengbam Chaoren said.

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The dilemma in parliamentary reporting

Budget Session of the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly began from February 14. 2020, with the Governor of Manipur Dr. Najma Heptulla addressing the house. First time in the history of Manipur Legislative Assembly, Except one opposition MLA no other opposition MLAs including the opposition leader skipped a photo session officially taken on the first day of the Assembly session. The reason for not attending the official Photo session with the governor of the State has not been announced, however, the way that all opposition MLAs abstained from the photo session rise eyebrow to too many political analysts.
The greatest challenges of amateur journalists while reporting the assembly proceeding particularly during sessions. Senior colleagues often advised being cautious while reporting Assembly session proceeding as there is possibility of unwanted consequences that may occur during the course of filing stories about the proceedings.
Usage of terminology has been a major concern for journalists doing parliamentary reporting. A minor mistake on the terminology often amounts to a mockery of the legislators besides degrading the credibility of the media organization. It is not just the usage of terminology but it is also about maintaining the integrity of being a journalist which was often hampered due to the privilege of the house.
A senior Journalist of the state was once summoned to apology before the house for alleged mockery of the house reflected at one of his write up.
Sometimes if a member of the house was found sleeping when another member was moving motion or answering to questions. Sometimes a member walks out of the house when the house was discussing serious issues. Sometimes a mere breach of protocol by a member becomes a joke or sometimes a mobile phone ringing might disturb the proceeding of the house. These are stories that will draw the attention of the audiences. Sometimes, slang and unparliamentary words from a member of the house during the session but went unrecorded as per the ruling of the Speaker can be reported or not.   Any write up criticizing an event that comes under the jurisdiction of Assembly Secretariat during the session or any damage done during the period could be called upon for contempt.
The question arises out here is - Are we journalists being denied the right to freedom of reporting? Are our rights limited only to a certain area?
Certainly, there are certain limitations to parliamentary reporting. But what are the limitations? The area of limitation at which a reporter need to strictly abide need to be published by the authority of the learned staffs of the state Legislative Assembly.
Is any critical and analytical reporting on the speech of the Governor of Manipur be produced in the newspaper. If in case there are proved of the inefficiency of the then assembly staff in proving information to the honorable members. But would not this amount to the breach of privilege of the house?
Now another question is the certain alleged misappropriation happening inside the Assembly secretariat. Journalists certainly want to put up the issue through their story but on assuming whether it amounts to a breach of privilege or not, one often rollback.

Is the North-East for sale?

By : Tuisem A. Shishak,
Patkai Christian College

When the Chinese attacked NEFA (North-East Frontier Agency, now Arunachal Pradesh) in 1962, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the Indian Army fled, leaving the helpless citizens of NEFA to fend for themselves. But who cared as long as mainland India was intact? China could even have swept easily through Assam and chopped off the “chicken-neck” corridor connecting the whole North-Eastern Region from the Indian sub-continent. Nehru’s government officials and the Army quickly came back only after the Chinese Army had unilaterally withdrawn. It was divine intervention, not New Delhi, that saved Arunachal and the North-East. Have we in the North-East Region forgotten that so soon?
Even after the British left India in 1947, the Indian Government has never treated the North-East as an integral part of the mainland; only in words. Any help coming from Delhi has been mere tokenism and politically motivated. Today, New Delhi sees limitless trade potential with South-East Asia via the North-East. The Central Government’s infrastructure efforts to link the North-East to Myanmar and other ASEAN countries is primarily for the mainland’s commercial interests, not because it loves North-Easterners and is concerned about their wellbeing. So take with a grain of salt when Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, and their colleagues claim that BJP government’s top priority is development of the North-East. BJP government’s main hidden agenda is to bring the whole of the eight North-Eastern States under its complete control through political manipulation and through Hindu population growth, even if not by force. The current BJP government in Delhi is the political wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the most radical religious-social-cultural-nationalist Hindu group in India. The RSS was founded in 1925 but was outlawed by the British and was even occasionally banned by the Indian government after independence. Naturam Godse, who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi in 1948, was a member of the RSS. Senior RSS members had direct links to both Benito Mussolini in Italy and Adolf Hitler in Germany. M. S. Golwalker advocated for an India dominated by Hindus. From its genesis, the RSS openly espoused militant Hindu activism and the suppression of minorities.                  
The RSS’s ultimate objective is to make India a homogenous Hindu nation, one bound together exclusively by the Hindu religion and culture and the Hindi language. Current RSS chief Mohan Bhagwati is a major voice in the BJP’s policy-making and policy implementation. Bhagwati often says: “Everyone born in India is a Hindu.” Hence it is almost impossible to believe that the RSS-controlled BJP can truly love (in deeds) Muslims, Dalits, Adivasis, Christians, and other minorities in India.                                                                             
Since the current government assumed power at the center in 2016, intolerance and violence have increased greatly, particularly in BJP-ruled states.  They are more tolerant and merciful to cows than to human beings, especially Muslims and Dalits. Since 2016 the BJP government’s interference in private and public institutions has also increased greatly. They have tried to control educational institutions, law enforcement departments such as the Central Bureau of Investigation, and the judiciary. Dozens and dozens of academicians, scientists, professionals, artists, and others have written to Prime Minister Modi concerning the government’s suppression of and interference with the press and freedom of speech.
Mind you, Modi is unlike his precursor as BJP Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee.  Vajpayee didn’t permit the RSS to interfere in the affairs of the Government; he had the ability and determination to contain the RSS element within BJP. On the contrary, Mr. Modi’s BJP government is essentially in thrall to the RSS led by Mohan Bhagwati. Modi’s inability or unwillingness to control the Home Minister (and former BJP President) Amit Shah and other RSS Hindutvas is dragging the country down into fascism.                                                           
 If the BJP government wants to promote and nourish democratic values, it must part with the RSS and its ilk for good. Or else India faces a bleak future, even to the point of disintegration. That is why even so many reasonable and learned Hindus led by former cabinet ministers under Atal Vajpayee’s BJP government are up in arms against RSS’s false projection of genuine Hinduism and its culture.
Here in the North-East we already see that in Tripura State, immigrants have become the absolute majority and control the government. The indigenous tribals (Tripuris and others) make up only about 31% of the total population; they are now aliens in their own native habitat. It is too late there. Meanwhile, the indigenous people of Assam known as Axamiya, a cultural identity, who accept Assam as their homeland, are now terrified that they would also be reduced to a minority if the immigration of ‘non-Indians’ is not checked today.
The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) launched in 1979 a six-year agitation culminating with the signing of the Assam Accord in 1985, clause 5 of which states: ”Foreigners who came to Assam on or after March 25, 1971 shall continue to be detected, deleted and expelled in accordance with law. Immediate and practical steps shall be taken to expel such foreigners.” To this day the Central Government has failed to implement most of the Accord, clause 5 being at its heart.                                                                         
In the meantime there comes the latest monster, the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), proposed by the BJP and enacted by Parliament in 2019. This law deceitfully promises to provide eligibility of Indian citizenship to religious minorities, namely Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from India’s two immediate neighbors of Bangladesh and Pakistan as well as Afghanistan. Under the CAA, migrants of these minority communities from the three countries who had already entered India by December 31, 2014, are eligible to apply for Indian citizenship. In addition, the residence requirement for acquiring citizenship has been reduced from 11 years previously to only 5. Since the CAA was enacted in 2019, anyone who is against it is called unpatriotic, anti-national, terrorist, and even threatened with fatal violence or, in the case of women, rape.
Today’s protesters in Assam correctly point out that the CAA is destroying the Assam Accord, clearly violating both Clause 5 and Clause 6 of the Accord:  “Constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, as may be appropriate, shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.” Assam will surely follow Tripura as the second North-Eastern State where indigenous citizens will be reduced to a minority unless they fight hard to resist now. All her North-Eastern neighbors should also fight alongside Assam.
Since becoming law, the CAA has triggered countrywide protests. The whole nation of India is in uproar saying CAA is anti-democracy and anti-Constitution. Citizens in all the North-Eastern states as well as Mainland India have publicly demonstrated their opposition to CAA. Already Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Puducherry Assemblies have passed resolutions against CAA; more are likely to follow suit.
Why aren’t the Christian majority States like Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya leading other NE States in passing similar resolutions against CAA, when the Act’s main target is the North-East. Even the European Parliament and the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights have stated that CAA is ‘discriminatory in nature and dangerously divisive’.  ‘While the CAA’s stated goal of protecting persecuted groups is welcome, an effective national asylum and refugee policy should be just and holistic in nature and apply to all those in need.’ Of course, there can be no blanket welcome to illegal immigrants, irrespective of religious background. Hindus or non-Hindus, immigrants and refugees should be accepted through an impartial legal process and based on the merits of their individual cases.                                                    
It isn’t just the non-Hindus; even the overwhelming Hindu population is against CAA because the Act destroys the secular nature of the Indian Constitution — the mutually agreed-upon ‘contract’ that binds the modern Indian nation together, and the undoing of which would threaten to nullify that contract. CAA openly declares the Modi government’s hatred toward Muslims in India and in neighboring countries by intentionally excluding Muslims from the CAA. But can the Hindu majority in India really treat the more than 200 million Muslims who are citizens of India as aliens?
As a Christian, I am not even excited that Christians were included in CAA because it’s just a cover-up. As in Nazi Germany, first they come for your neighbor, then they come for you. Who would really believe that the RSS-controlled BJP government is genuinely concerned about the wellbeing of Christians anywhere in India, let alone Christians in the North-East. Since when did the RSS and their associates begin loving and treating Dalits, Adivasis, and other minorities (scheduled tribes—STs, scheduled castes—SCs and other backward classes—OBCs) equally, let alone Indian Muslims?
It’s time all the eight North-Eastern States treat CAA as an existential crisis and face it together head on without any compromise; it’s a battle for our survival. For Christians in the North-East I dare say that CAA is an extra-existential crisis. Why?  The RSS and its affiliates are fully aware that there is one institution they must weaken, if not destroy, is the Church if the Hindus ever hope to control the North-East. As Secretary of the BJP NE States Coordination Council, PB Acharya (former Governor of Nagaland and an active RSS member) wrote to former BJP Prime Minister Atal Vajpaiyee:  “We have achieved our vowed object of piercing Trishul (weapon of Lord Shiva but it is also used as a Hindu symbol) in the chest of so-called ‘Lord Christ’” (Mid Day).
What if the more than 17 million Hindus in Bangladesh decide to leave Muslim Bangladesh? Where would they try to settle, if not the NE States? Don’t tell me the RSS-controlled BJP government in Delhi might not welcome these 17 million Bangladeshi Hindus to settle in the North-East Region? How do the Naga politicians think existing laws can prevent an influx of illegal immigrants through Assam’s jungles? The Modi government is convinced that through the means of overpopulating the whole of North-Eastern Region with Hindus from Bangladesh, they can make the North-East a Hindu heartland.                                                                                                                      
Once these Bangladesh Hindus are covered by the provisions under CAA, it will not take long before Hindus become the majority and nothing will stop them from taking control, for instance, of the Nagaland State Assembly and placing a Trishul in front of every church pulpit. Is this what we are waiting to see actually happen? The leadership of the church should be fully aware of this. Shockingly, of all people, five tribal Christian Members of Parliament from the North-East voted in favor of CAA — on the assurance by Modi’s BJP government, perhaps, that there are already enough protective measures in place, such as the Inner Line Permit (ILP) and the provision in 371A of the Indian Constitution. Knowing the RSS-controlled BJP Government in Delhi, it is naïve and shortsighted especially on the part of the Nagas to think we are fully protected and that the passing of CAA cannot impact the Nagas in any way. Believe me, if Assam falls the rest will fall too.                                 
It’s time for our young people, especially college and university students, to see how miserably my generation has failed to protect the North-East, and to wake us up from our deadly slumber. Today’s politicians and bureaucrats are selling the North-East to Delhi for money, for jobs, for power. A new breed of visionary young men and women must rise up to provide leadership to save these fast shrinking North-Eastern States. The Church of Jesus Christ especially must not shirk her responsibility in rooting out evils anywhere. Christians in Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya, in the tribal districts of Manipur and elsewhere, must see to it that truly God-fearing educated young men and women get actively involved and provide Christian leadership in the Church and for society at large.