Monday, 04 February 2019 - Imphal Times

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Imphal, Feb 4,

Internationally acclaimed Filmmaker, Aribam Syam Sharma who had announced to return the Padmashri Award conferred to him by the Indian Government in recognition to his activities for the promotion of Manipuri Cinema, and a renowned philosopher today questioned the rationality of the political party’s demand for insertion of a clause for protection of the state from Citizen Amendment Bill, 2016, when there is no demand for withdrawal of the Bill.

The renowned Film maker was talking to reporters at the sideline of the felicitation function organised by Manipur Peoples Protection against Citizen Amendment Bill (MANPAC) in recognition to the daring decision taken by the renowned Filmmaker to return back the Padmashri award in protest against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill at his residence at Thangmeiband.

Convenor of  MANPAC Yumnamcha Dilip, Co-convenor Ningthouja Lancha, Co-convenor Amu Kamei, President of the ZU (Assam, Nagaland , Manipur) leaders of the Kabui Mothers’ Association, representatives of UCM, AMUCO, IPSA, CIRCA and many other organization today presented memento as a mark of honour to the Intentionally acclaim figure , who is around 83 years old.

“I am not a political expert , but I know that the entire state of Manipur as well as the neighbouring states are in state of extreme danger if the Citizenship Amendment Bill is passed and converted into act”, Aribam Syam said.

“Everyone knows the probable impact and we all in the region should think of the future society”, he added.

Regarding the political party’s demand for insertion of clause to protect the state, Aribam Syam questioned what type of clause would be inserted even if it has been withdrawn.

“Mizoram is a protected state, Nagaland is a protected stated under Article 371 (A) and Meghalaya too is a protected state- the government of these states has been vehemently criticizing the Bill and opposing it”, Syam said and added that why the Manipur government is not taking this matter seriously? Why they are still not convening a special session to show that people of the region are against the Bill?” the noted film maker cum philosopher questioned.  

“I am 83 now running 84 , and what is the use of being Manipuri if we can’t save the state”, Aribam Syam said that irrespective of ages we should all come out and unite our voice to make sure that the Bill that might wipe out the Manipur Indigenous people be not passed and withdrawn.

Aribam Syam Sharma also indicated that the BJP led government will surely put all their efforts to pass the Bill, as they already sees the provision of the article 301 of the Indian Constitution at which the President can summon a Joint Parliamentary session.

“2 MPs from the region can do nothing in the parliament, it should be the people of the entire North Eastern states that should be united and make our voice hard and louder to make sure that we are against the Bill.

MANPAC, the joint body of various civil society organization of the state had earlier announce to boycott all Indian trademark awards , song or even use of Hindi language as a part of their agitation.

Ningthouja Lancha, the Co-covenor while honouring the decision by Aribam Syam appealed all award conferred by the India government to be returned as such move is triple time effective than the agitation being underway by the MANPAC.

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Imphal/Delhi, Feb 4

North East Student’s Organization (NESO) continues its campaign against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill at the National Capital New Delhi. Delegations of the component of the North East Students’ Body, the All Manipur Students Union (AMSU) led by its President Manjit Sarangthem is taking a lead role in the campaign along with other leaders of NESO.

The team is likely to meet the President of the AICC, Rahul Gandhi around evening today as per source available from New Delhi.

The NESO (North East Student’s Organisation) had already met leaders of different political parties and urged then to give strong voice against CAB 2016.

On the first day, the delegation met Vice President of Janata Dal(U), Prashant Kishor. NESO source said that the JD(U) VP had given assurance to oppose the Bill to visiting members. He also said that the JD(U) MP  will vote against the bill if it is tabled in the Rajya Sabha.

NESO delegation also called on Biju Janata Dal Parliamentarian Bharturhari Mehtab who was also the member of JHPC on CAB to garner his support against CAB.  Further NESO met Meghalaya Chief Minister Konrad Sangma (NPP), Atul Bora (AGP), MK Jamatia ( Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura) at the residence of Meghalaya Chief Minister.

Today, NESO delegation met Prof. Saugata Roy of Trinamool Congress M.P, K.C Tyagi, General Secretary of JD(U) and in the evening at 3 p.m team NESO likely to met a very influential leader, the President of Indian National Congress Mr. Rahul Gandhi at Tughlag Road 12.


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Monday, 04 February 2019 16:33

Silchar witnesses Bike Rally against CAB

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The Manipuri Youths Front Assam (MYFA) Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Students Union (NBMS) and All Assam Koch Rajbangshi Students Union (AAKRSU) jointly organised a mass bike rally on Sunday here at Silchar against the conflicting Citizenship Amendment Bill,2016.

The rally was flagged off from 11 am today by MYFA President Seram Herajit from Bualujur point and concluded at Modhurapul at Rongpur. The Bike rally was participated by many indigenous Youths including members of trio organisations approximately 70 bikers.

Seram Herajit while speaking about the rally opined that if the ‘BJP government pass the bill then indigenous youths of the Northeast may emerge the feelings of lodging  arms actions against India. Herajit also urged to withdraw the bill at the earliest. He also stated that Barak Valley is not a dumping ground for illegal Bangladeshis.

Amongst others, NBMSU President Rajiv Sinha and AAMSU Joint Secretary Singhbhojit Rajbangshi also speak about the evil side of CAB.

The rally was also attended by many youths leaders including MYFA Secretary General Okram Lakhikanta, Bishnupriya Manipuri Gana Sangram Parishad (BMSGP) President Biju Sinha , MYFA finance Secretary Chitaranjan Yurembam and few others.

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Imphal, Feb 4,

A Protest meeting was held at the call of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India( Marxist) at Manipur Press Club ,Imphal today.  The meeting was attended by the cadres of the party and other like minded parties viz. CPI , RSP , AIFB , BSP, NCP, JD(S),AAP and PRJA.
The meeting was addressed by Kshetrimayum Santa , State Secretary of CPI(M) .Addressing the Meeting he said that the party ,as decided by the Polit Bureau of CPI-M, demands for the withdrawal of thel Citizenship Amendment Bill- 2016 which was passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8, 2019. He appealed to the like minded parties and people to stand unitedly till the Bill is withdrawn.
Sarat Salam, Secretariat Member of CPI-M explaining the Bill and its impact on the country in general and North Eastern Region in particular said that the Bill is unconstitutional as it was against the Article 14 & 15 of Construction of India and on religious basis. He further said that the party and the like minded parties will stood unitedly tooth and nail. He also said that not only the opposition parties , some of the coalition partners of BJP are also against the Bill. He appealed to the leadership of the Political Parties in Rajya Sabha irrespective of political and ideological differences to defeat the Bill in the interest of the country as a whole and North Eastern Region of the country in particular.
Addressing the Meeting  L. Sotinkumar , Secretary of CPI Manipur , expressed that the call of the CPI(M) Polit Bureau to hold All India Protest Day against Citizenship Amendment Bill-2016 is timely and his party and other like minded parties support the call and assured that his party and likeminded parties will work and campaign together in Manipur .
The meeting was addressed by Kh. Gyaneshwor, Secretary AIFB , S. Iboyaima , President NCP, N. Kabita Devi, President BSP, K. Loken Singh, General Secretary JD(S) and K. Manoranjan , Secretariat Member, RSP.

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Monday, 04 February 2019 16:31

Manipur Maoist appeals people to fight CAB

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Imphal, Feb 4,

Maoist appealed to let the ongoing people’s movement against CAB a beginning  of a new revolution. In a press released signed by Kyonghan Mangang coordinator, Standing Committee of Maoist communist Party appealed the people to stay alert and prepare to counter the CAB 2016 until the 13th of February.
The statement further said that the recent appealed of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Trinamool Congress to support the Bill when put on table at Rajya Sabha has added fuel to the burning fire to the people on the North East and is an insult to the people of Manipur.
He claimed that the people have no trust with the political parties, CSOs and the underground because of various reasons and also added Manipur society has become a society encapsulated by trust deficits. The Maoist further appealed the people to rebuild the trust in the society from the movement of the citizenship Amendment Bill.
Kyonghan further warned any organisations and individuals who hinder the peoples movement against the CAB.

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Imphal, Feb 4,

Protesting against the contentious CAB, students of Imphal College today burnt effigies of President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh at the gate of their college.

Speaking to media persons a student protestor said that they burnt down the effigies of President, PM and HM showing their condemnation against Citizen Amendment Bill 2016. He also condemned the speech of President where he supported the bill neglecting the consent and the voices of the North East. He finally concluded that the students will support any movement against the bill organised by CSO’s and other student bodies.

 Meanwhile Manipur University Teachers’ Association (MUTA), Manipur University Staffs’ Association (MUSA) and Manipur University Students’ Union also staged a sit-in-protest against the CAB at MU gate.

Speaking to media persons General Secretary of MUTA Lisam Sanjukumar said that the bill is a big threat to the indigenous people leaving the future generation of the North East indigenes at stake. He urged the government to withdraw the bill immediately.

Sit-in-Protest was also staged at various places, students and teachers of Macha Leima School also staged a sit-in-protest at the school gate. And also Meira Paibis and clubs of Brahmapur Nahabam staged a sit-in-protest at Brahmapur Nahabam Leikai opposing the Contentious Citizen Amendment Bill 2016.

It can be mention that protest against the bill has been done perpetually at many places. Torch rallies at many places were also reported yesterday night.

The mass protest was also organised by Heibong Leirak Youth Assn & Linthoingambi Meira Paibi Kiyam Siphai Thoubal, Thoubal Wangmataba Mathak and Makha  Meira Paibi Lup at Thoubal Wangmataba Devi Mandam, New Ideal Club Athokpam Khunou and Meira Paibi Lup at Athokpam Khunou, students of Sofia English School Thoubal, Paradise English School Thoubal Okram and KM Blooming School Khangabok also formed human chain to protest CAB in front of their respective school.

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Monday, 04 February 2019 16:27

The ultimate showdown

With the increasing push for support of the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill, the ruling BJP government has clearly indicated in no unclear terms its intent to pursue the agenda of converting the country into a Hindu nation despite the the fact that with the 42nd Amendment of the Constitution of India enacted in 1976, the Preamble to the Constitution asserted that India is a secular nation. Secularity is an age-old convention and one of the most important features to ensure the unity of the nation. However, neither India’s constitution nor its laws define the relationship between the state and religion thus providing the opportunity for influential zealots to abuse the faith of the majority to further their political ambitions using religion as a potent weapon. The central government is hell-bent on passing the Bill and the leaders make no bones about their decision.
On the other side of the divide is an increasing number of concerned citizens who are also hell-bent on making sure the bill get defeated in the Rajya Sabha during the Parliament session which ends on the 13th of this month. they have expressed their unwavering stand against the Bill and are leaving no stones unturned to make sure the political leaders and lawmakers come to their senses and understand the ground reality if the Bill is passed and becomes an act. For those standing up against the Bill, the fight is not merely for political relevance but for the continued existence and survival of the indigenous communities which will surely be overrun by non-muslim migrants from neighbouring countries of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan once the Bill is passed, as there is no systematic process or arrangement in place till date to check or prevent any form of exodus or infiltration especially in the porous border states of North east India. 
The unfortunate fact, however, is that politics is a game of numbers and the move by the BJP is a bold and daring one to canvass support from the Hindu heartland and to add to its vote bank so that it remains in power for a long time given the fanatical and growing intolerance increasingly being demonstrated against any resistance to the propagation of Hindu ideology. The concept of political dividends which is the driving force behind such moves has started turning the government towards religion and faith to cement its hold over the nation- a very dangerous precedent which is bound to have a regressive and more-than-possibly counter-productive repercussions in the long run once the initial euphoria dies down because good and lasting governance does not entail playing to the emotions of the majority but a conscious and studied approach to connect on a logical or intellectual level such that positive and constructive support is garnered for inclusive growth and progress.
The central government must listen to the gathering unrest in parts of the country and refrain from taking hasty and forced decisions which will lead to chaos and unrest. It should study the ‘political dividends’ against the ‘political backlash’ it is bound to receive on account of the Citizenship Amendment Bill. There are times when numbers alone does not ensure success, and going by the tension and intent among the people especially the North east, this may very well prove to be the ultimate showdown between a political party controlled and dictated by religious zealots and a region whose indigenous people are ready to stake everything to save their future.
Perhaps the leaders at the centre might have a chance to give the whole issue a good thought through the poignant words of renowned film maker Aribam Syam Sharma expressed when he was returning the Padmashree Award conferred to him in 2006:- “Life has no meaning to a man who has no future. It is a matter of grave concern that such a scenario is staring all the people of Manipur in the face today. When the indigenous people are reduced to a small minority, our unique culture will be diluted beyond recognition and Manipuri people will no longer have any identity. Our future is very bleak if such a Bill is passed. Tripura always serves as a living example of how the indigenous people of Manipur can be wiped out in no time.” 
This time there will be much more than mere protests and usual pandemonium; this time there will be finality to the whole issue. It is up to the central government to decide the future of the country as we know it today.

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People or Adivasis  of the country and constitute  about 8% of the total population”. No community, individual or organization has right to protest or object to the demand for ST status by Meetei since ST Status For Constitutional Safeguard Of Meetei And Imphal Valley – By Dr. Thangjam Ranjit

The demand for inclusion of indigenous Meetei community in the indigenous or ST. list of the country is the constitutional right of Meetei in the country. Since Meetei is  an important indigenous community of the state, it has every right to include its name in the ST list of the country as it has been clearly stated by Supreme  Court, the highest court of the country on 5th Jan, 2011, in  one of its land mark judgments. It says “the present Scheduled Tribes are the descendants   of the Original/Indigenous the demand is made under  Article 342(1) of the India constitution. Granting of  ST status to a community lies with the Govt. of India not to anybody.,
The statements or slogans issued by ATSUM, KSO, UPPCM and others against the  inclusion of Meetei  in the ST list of the country are all fabricated and concocted ones.  The slogans like “We oppose tooth and nail all the agenda of STDCM”, “Govt. of Manipur should proceed with caution”, “Meetei ST demand will vitiate hill valley relation”, “Meetei demand for ST status to grab land and rights of tribals”, “Meetei do not fulfill the criteria for ST Status”, “Inclusion of Meeteilon in the 8th Scheduled of India constitution is a sign of civilization, hence cannot be in the ST list “, “To take advantage of the special provisions reserved to the tribals in education, employment”, “Granting of ST status to Meetei will trigger serious social uprising, etc., etc., are thetorics of few pseudo intellectuals, pseudo leaders  communal minded, short sighted people, who have  distaste for Meetei to the core, without any rhyme or reason. These people, both in the hills and valley, are those who cannot came out openly to express their views but  clandestinely through, newspapers only. People should not believe  in them  rather should boycott them since their  slogan will create misunderstandings among the different communities and may create unnecessary social problems and chaos, at a time  when the state is passing through a myriads  of problem.
Time and again, in the past few years, the basic demands of ST status by Meetei  has been stated through medi—print and electronic, widely and clearly. They are the people who say “Adu Oirabasu” and therefore, there is no need of educating them. It may be noted that more than 99% Meetei community whole heartedly support this demand now, unlike before.  
When Meetei tribe is included in the ST list, present  reservation policy in the state  will remain unchanged as allocation of quotas within quota is state subject, and is guaranteed by Article 16 (4) of the Indian constitution. When  highlanders are leaving the hills and settling in the  fertile Imphal valley in colonies, vengs, khuls, etc. How one will expect Meetei to leave fertile valley and settled  in a place where life is very hard  to live in khuls and Leikais.  Simply the slogans of  grabbing land and quota of our brethren in the  hills are baseless, unfounded, misleading  and obsessed with communal tone and  are nothing but to sow seeds of disharmony, disunity and hatred among the different  communities living in harmony since time immemorial.
It is the leadership of ATSUM, KSO and other organizations not the Govt. that should go cautiously to avoid conflagration from a single spark. Government of Manipur is duty bound to proceed with the provisions of the Indian constitution for its people. In this regard  leaders of the  churches, civil societies, village Chiefs, Hohos, intellectuals and public leaders as well as intellectuals should educate leaders  of ATSUM, KSO and other organizations which  stand  against the ST status to Meetei and should advise  them  to desist from playing fires, otherwise a  serious social tension and conflagration may engulf the state. If these unwanted incidents happen, the responsibility of which  will go to ATSUM, KSO & others.
The demand for ST tag by Meetei community of the state is fundamentally banked on the following hard realities.
Firstly, to save the Meetei, one of   the important and dominant indigenous people of the state, which is showing signs of its gradual degeneration in the last few centuries and rapid downfall in the last few decades in population, land, culture, language, economy, social status, etc. in his natural habitat under the Article 342(1) of the Constitution of India.
Secondly, to save the fertile lands and wetlands in the valley which are producing maximum food grains, vegetables, fishes, etc. for the people, both in the valley and hills, from being owned  by more skilled, hardworking, strong, advanced and united non-indigenous people, who are coming  in large numbers in the state  in the form Tsunami.
Thirdly, to foster a harmonious, peaceful, united and progressive Manipuri society based on ethnic equality (as ST) among the indigenous communities of consanguineous relation who have been living together since time immemorial.
Fourthly, to enable Meetei community, like other indigenous people in the state, to compete confidently well with other communities of India on equal social status (i.e. as  Scheduled tribe) in the field of education, service sectors of Central Govt. etc, to earn more laurels, medals, positions, awards, privileges, etc, for better economic, social, educational, cultural and political status of Meetei in particular and Manipur in general, by discarding and discontinuing decades long practice of competing with highly advanced educated  and organized communities wrongly in General Category/OBC of other states in the country.
In fine, the demand for restoration of ST status is to save Meetei from being extinct in its own habitat and to bring harmony, progress and peace among the indigenous people in the state. Hence, the indigenous people in the state should see this great historic event of Meetei’s returning to its original ST status   is to be to be in equal footing with other ethnic tribes as “Home Coming” and should extent warm and hearty welcome by all the indigenous people of the state, without any reservation.  Here, we all need to remember the very well known maxims – “Blood is thicker than water” and “Birds of the same feathers flock together” at least in the context of present Manipur.

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