Friday, 19 June 2020 - Imphal Times

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Imphal, June 19:

Manipur Legislative Assembly witnessed the toughest Rajya Sabha election today as both ruling BJP and the opposition Congress play the hardest game ever witnessed in the state. The general perception of the people that the ruling party always get an advantage in the Rajya Sabha Election nearly changed until the ruling BJP used its ultimate technique with all means to make sure that they get the number, no matter what the law of the country says.
Counting of the vote was delayed by around 4 hours as the counting starts at around 8.50 pm today. Counting was delayed after Congress party complaint to the ECI against Speaker Y. Khemchand and MLA Ngamthang Haokip for violation of poll regulation and also another complaint by MLA Robindro who has been disqualified by the Speaker within few hours without giving him any chance for explanation. The ECI finally gave permission for counting of vote only at 8.40 pm today.
Finally, BJP’s candidate RK Sanjaoba (Leishemba Sanajaoba) won the lone Rajya Sabha seat defeating Congress candidate Tongbram Mangibabu. Sanajaoba gets 28 votes while Mangibabu gets 24 votes.
In the 60 member 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly, only 52 members voted to elect the lone Rajya Sabha seat after the disqualification of MLA Th. Shyamkumar, MLA Y. Surchandra, MLA S. Bira, MLA Ksh Biren of the Congress party, MLA Robindro of Trinamool Congress, and the 3 BJP MLAs – S. Subashchandra, TT Haokip, and Samuel Jendai.
According to the report, there has been cross-voting from congress to BJP. A Facebook post from the Chief Minister’s newly open page name CM N BIREN SINGH ONCE MORE, said that 7 Congress MLAs voted for the BJP candidate and 2 votes were invalid. After the resignation of 3 BJP MLA yesterday the total number of BJP MLAs that can vote is 18. Naga People Front (NPF) which have openly declared to support the BJP candidate has 4 MLAs. The lone LJP MLA naturally voted for the BJP. What is interesting is that 3 among the 7 defected Congress MLAs, who were allowed to vote by the Speaker’s tribunal early today morning voted for the BJP making the number to 31 as per the Facebook post from the Chief Minister N. Biren Singh’s page.
As per the number and if in case there are no cross-voting the Congress Party calculated its number to 26 with its original 20 MLAs plus 4 from NPP, one from among the defected Congress MLA but later joined to the party after the speaker barred him from casting vote. He however was allowed after High court intervention and voted to make the number of Congress Supporter to 25. In addition to this, the Congress counts its number to 26 with the support of the lone Independent candidate.
Interestingly, MLA Robindro who had been disqualified by the Speaker’s tribunal today came to the state Assembly at late hour minutes before the end of the voting but could not vote due to reason not known. The source said that the voting was close as he reached the State Assembly with the court order.
However, not everything that has been calculated base on arithmetic proves wrong. The toughest Rajya Sabha Election concluded once more proving that the Ruling party always is in the upper hand.
RK Sanajaoba popularly known to the people as Leishemba Sanajaoba , the titular king of Manipur is today the new member of Parliament of the Rajya Sabha representing the state of Manipur .
Along with Manipur, 18 more Rajya Sabha seat election was held at other states of India. According to all India Raio election for three Rajya Seat was held ay Rajasthan. Four candidates, two from Congress and two from BJP contested for three seats. 
Voting was held till 4 p.m. and counting of votes begins at 5 p.m. The Congress has fielded K.C. Venugopal and Neeraj Dangi, while BJP’s Rajendra Gehlot and Onkar Singh Lakhawat are in the fray. 
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and BJP President Satish Poonia along with 120 legislators in the 200-member Legislative Assembly had cast their votes when the reports last came. 
In Gujarat, election for four Rajya Sabha seats was held at the State Assembly Secretariat in Gandhinagar today. BJP has fielded three candidates, while the Congress has given tickets to two candidates.  
The Election Commission has made elaborate preparation for elections in view of COVID-19 pandemic. Sources said that every MLA is being screened for temperature, has to use a mask and maintain social distance. 
Separate arrangements have been made for MLAs with fever or other symptoms. 
In Mizoram, 39 out of total 40 legislators of State Assembly cast their votes by 2 p.m. during the election held for the lone Rajya Sabha seat. The polling process which began this morning will end at 4 p.m. 
In the morning, the legislators started reaching the Assembly House wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing norms for casting votes amid the COVID-19 pandemic situation. The legislators had to pass through thermal screening as per the election commission guidelines. 
In a triangular election, all legislative parties, except BJP fielded their candidates. The ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) has fielded its Core Committee Member K Vanlalvena, while the Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) fielded B. Lalchhanzova and the Congress candidate in fray is  Dr. Lallianchhunga. In the 40-member State Assembly, the ruling MNF has 27 members, ZPM seven, Congress five and the BJP has one MLA.   
In Meghalaya, polling for the lone Rajya Sabha seat which began this morning is going on in full swing at the temporary Assembly building at Rilbong, Shillong while the results will be announced this evening. Both the ruling Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) coalition and Opposition Congress are optimistic for a win. 
Majority of the political bigwigs casting votes included Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma; Leader of Opposition Dr Mukul Sangma; Assembly Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh; Senior Congress leader Charles Pyngrope; Power Minister James Sangma among others. 
The two candidates include MDA common candidate and NPP State President Dr WR Kharlukhi along with Congress candidate Keneddy Khyriem.


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Imphal, June 19:

75 new persons have been tested with novel corona virus at VRDL of RIMS and JNIMS making the total number of cases to 681. So far 218 have been reported recovered with 19 persons tested negative and discharged from both JNIMS and RIMS. Total active case of person affected novel coronavirus now id 463.

Among those detected with the virus today 3 are from Chandel district, 4 from Churachandpur, 2 from Kamjong , 7 from Senapati, 29 from Tamenglong and 30 from Ukhrul district.

As per state health department the recovery rate is 32.01%.

As per a statement of the state Health Department , the COVID Care Centre , UNACCO at Meitram, Imphal West has now scaled up its intake capacity to 297. Presently , there are 167 positive asymptomatic people at CCC UNACCO, 33 at Bishnupur district Hospital and 10 at Ukhrul district hospital

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Nothing is impossible in the game of politics. And what is more interesting is that ‘all is fair in love and war’. The sudden change of plot by ruling BJP hours before the casting of Rajya Sabha Election which was held today is already expected by many but the strategy surprises all. No person knowing the A, B, C, D of the constitution of India had never expected that the Speaker of the Manipur Legislative Assembly would exercise his power putting aside all infringement from the High Court. The magic on how the speaker of the Manipur Legislative Assembly defies the order of the Manipur High Court which directed the Speaker’s tribunal to bar pronouncement of any judgment reserved by the tribunal needs to be relooked over its legitimacy. But saying so, it is not expected that the speaker would leave any loophole in the plot to make sure that the candidate the BJP nominated for contesting the Rajya Sabha seat gets elected.
It was the shrewd exercise of power by the Speaker of the Manipur Legislative Assembly to allow only 3 defected Congress MLAs from among the 7 whose cause for disqualification is pending with the speaker’s tribunal. Of the remaining 5 another MLA was also later allowed to vote for electing the Rajya Sabha candidate after getting clearance from the High Court. A similar condition, however, was not applicable in the case of Trinamool Congress MLA Robindro, who has been disqualified only early today by the speaker’s tribunal probably for supporting the Congress Party yesterday.
It takes nearly 3 years for disqualification of MLA in the Speakers’ Tribunal of the Manipur Legislative Assembly, however, as for the case of MLA Robindro, it does not take even 24 hours in taking up the case under the 10th Schedule of the Indian Constitution and later disqualifies him to bar him from casting vote for the Rajya Sabha Election.
The final round of the election tactics for the Rajya Sabha seat was crucial. Both Congress and the BJP played well. But in the final round, the ruling party which is in power seems to be in the upper hand. The arithmetic till yesterday doesn’t work as politics is a different game.
Now as unexpected thing happens people are not surprised on who is winning this election. But one thing that matters is – Is there a law in the country?

Published in Editorial
Friday, 19 June 2020 17:39

The Kukis, Justice and the UN

By: L. Lunminlen Haokip

If there could be one reason, among others, that stood out in the backdrop of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles (1919), it would be the attempt to avoid a repeat of the World War One. If one were tasked to single out how a repeat of WW1 could have been avoided, maintaining world peace would be the answer. Crystal clear it is.
About the same time the WW1 was fought in different fronts and magnitudes, the Kukis, too, were not spared from this man-made catastrophe either. The patience of peace-loving Kukis, who have been settling in different parts of North-East India and in modern-day Myanmar since time immemorial was put to litmus test thanks to the British aggression and the then Kuki chiefs’ never-say-die attitude when it comes to defending their ancestral land. “The Anglo-Kuki War was one of the most serious incidents in the history of Manipur and its relation with the Hill subjects,” Robert Reid, the former Governor of Assam. The Anglo-Kuki War (1917-1919) can also be viewed as a showdown between modernised British warfare and the tribal combat the Kukis then resorted to. By the time this article goes for print, the Anglo-Kuki War has yet to receive the highly-deserved official recognition from the Government of Manipur.
The Treaty of Versailles (1919) failed big time.
For the second time in as many decades, the world once again decided to quench its warmongering thirst — this time, with the detonation of two atomic bombs, in a more sophisticated manner, though – by entering into another world war arena. This self-destructive mode the world engaged itself in came to be known as World War Two.
It is said that there are no winners in war. However, the WW2 came to an end with The Allies having an upper hand in sculpting the new world order. The United Nations was founded in 1945 with China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States as permanent members of its Security Council (UNSC). These 5 countries are also called veto power countries. Needless to mention, to maintain international peace and security was one of the UN’s aims.
Just when the dust in the WW2 battlefields would have not even settled down, geopolitical tension between the US and the Soviet Union saw the two veto power countries lock horns for decades until the fall of the USSR in 1991. This period of the Cold War was also significant for the clash it saw in propagation of democratic and communist principles.
Today, even after more than 70 years of the founding of the UN, maintaining world peace still seems a far cry. What is more ironic is the involvement of one of the UNSC member countries in almost every conflicts the world witnesses today. The US’s conquest of Afghanistan and the un-ending interests it shows in some Middle East countries, as if it had not learnt a lesson from the Vietnam war, do not seem to go hand in hand with the very basis on which the UN was founded. Russia’s annexation of Crimea was highly uncalled for. China’s high-handedness on the people of Hong Kong and the ‘carrot and stick’ policy it exercises on the People of Tibet seem to defy the principle of international peace the UN advocates. Rather, a close monitoring of these manoeuvres seems to preach the religion of ‘the might is always right’.
While the world was about to succumb to the unprecedented onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic, the Kukis were taken aback as the news of the burning down of Chassad Kuki Village in Kamjong District, Manipur came out of the blue. This broad daylight act of cowardice and arson in burning down of more than 170 houses was carried out by neighbouring Tangkhuls-inhabited Sampui village on 16 March 2020. Old habits do die hard. The NSCM (IM)-backed Tangkhuls certainly haven’t parted ways with the demonic pulsation that had led to their killing of over a thousand innocent Kukis in the 1990s. Again, at the time of printing this article, justice hasn’t knocked on the doors of the victims.
As the COVID-19 continues to spread like wildfire, the latest challenge the UN has to face would be US president Donald Trump’s tirade with the World Health Organisation (WHO). The WHO is a specialized agency of the UN with emphasis primarily on international public health and the US alone has provided roughly 15% of the WHO’s total funding over its current 2-year budget period. In May, Donald Trump had warned of terminating the US’ relationship with the WHO as he accuses the latter of being ‘China-centric’. That written, Mr. Trump will be faced with some legal hurdles in order to fully withdraw the US funding for the WHO.
At this pace and trend, Mr. Trump resorting to steps that can put the legacy of the UN at peril and jeopardising its future at the same time is never off the cards; more so, with the US presidential election coming up shortly and America on the brink of a potential civil war. As much as the undercurrent in Mr. Trump’s feud with the WHO snowballing into long-lasting implications with the UN can be too early to rule out, it can as much be unwise to write-off the possibility of the UN undergoing an overhaul in a post COVID-19 world. Even in 2017, Mr. Trump did not hesitate to withdraw the US’s participation in the 2015 Paris Agreement. As much as the Kukis have become weary of the step-motherly treatment meted out to them generation after generation, the Kukis would as much envisage to welcome a revamped UN structure that sees, in general, an end to the UN’s rhetoric of ostracising countries outside of the UNSC membership in maintaining international peace and harmony and harbinger a change that sees an abrupt end to the Kukis’ long wait for justice in particular. The Kukis, particularly in Manipur, have long realised that their cry for justice will continue to fall on the deaf ears of the Govt. of Manipur.
(The writer is a freelance writer from Churachandpur)

Published in Guest Column

IT News
Mumbai, June 19:

The Pydhonie police (south Mumbai) has registered an FIR against television news anchor Amish Devgan for hurting religious sentiments by referring to Sufi saint Moinuddin Chisti in derogatory terms during a programme.
On his show on 15 June, Devgan had used the term ‘Lootera Chisti’ (‘Chisti the robber’), inviting furious reactions from the Muslim community throughout the country.
The FIR was registered, based on a complaint given by the Raza Academy on Wednesday. In a written complaint the Raza Academy general secretary Arif Razvi demanded action Devgan. “The case has been registered and further action will be taken after the video of the show in question is analysed,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone II) Rajiv Jain said.
Raza Academy chief Muhammad Saeed Noori thanked the Mumbai Police for understanding the seriousness of the issue and immediately registering the FIR. He also urged the Mumbai Police Commissioner to arrest the “slanderer” for promoting hatred amongst communities and hurting the sentiments of millions of Muslims worldwide.
Another FIR was registered at Nirmal Nagar Police station at Bandra in North West Mumbai on Thursday, by Congress MLA Zeeshan Baba Siddique. The MLA also met Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh and demanded action against Devgan.
The police have booked Devgan for deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony under the Indian Penal Code.
Subsequently Devgan tendered an apology on Twitter, saying that he was actually referring to Mughal ruler “Alauddin Khilji” but instead ended up naming Chisti, also known as “Khwaja Gareeb Nawaaz” (benefactor of the poor). He also said in his tweet that he has himself sought the saint’s blessings in the past.

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