Wednesday December 13, 2017
Home India The Imphal ca...

The Imphal catastrophe: Where is the media?

0
116

By Prerna Grewal

Imphal, the capital of Manipur, has turned into the epicenter of madness and violence, carried out in a fit of agitation. Protests that were initiated with the demand of implementation of Inner Line Permit Bill System (ILPS)  have gathered momentum after the death of Sapam Robinhood, a 16-year-old student who was killed by the police in their efforts to quell the protest. imphal 2

What is ILP?

Inner Line Permit is an official travel document issued by the central government to allow inward travel of an Indian citizen into a protected/restricted area for a limited period. It is obligatory for Indian citizens, not residents of those states, to obtain a permit for entering the restricted areas.

What exactly are the demands of the protesters?

Protesters have been demanding the withdrawal of the Manipur Regulation of Visitors, Tenants and Migrant Workers Bill and implementation of a proper Bill which could safeguard the indigenous people of the State. The demand for the implementation of ILPS has emerged as a consequence of all this.

As reported by the Times of India, “Early this year, Manipur chief minister OkramIbobi Singh introduced the ‘Manipur Regulation of Visitors, Tenants and Migrant Workers’ Bill 2015 in the assembly to safeguard the interests of the indigenous people of the state.

However, Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) said the bill was protecting the interests of immigrants rather than the indigenous people of Manipur”.

How did the protest turn ugly?

The death of the 16-year-old gave an ugly turn to the protest with protestors resorting to extreme measures in a fit of anger.

Despite imposed curfews (July 9 onwards), protestors came out on streets and imposed road blocks. Apart from trying to storm the residence of local MLA NameirakpamLoken, which was thwarted by the police, the protestors continued to burn tyres, place tree branches, rock boulders and iron posts on the roads.Imphal Express also informed of Sit in protests being staged in different parts of the State including at Kongba crossing, KhongmanMangjil, SingjameiBheigyabatileikai.

The level of frustration is clearly evident in the following statements made by the Indigenous People’s Assocation of Kangleipak’s (IPAK) chairman SapamchaJadumani.

“He said the movement will continue until the demands are met as the ongoing agitation demanding implementation of the Inner Line Permit System in the State is not only for the joint committee but for the whole people of the State.

The Manipur Regulation of Visitors, Tenants and Migrant Workers Bill 2015 which was passed by the government omitted the recommendations submitted by the All Political Parties Committee and the joint committee and was made not according to the interest and welfare for the people he asserted.

The situation would not have turned this bad if the government had shown some concern and understanding of the people’s sentiment, he continued.

“It would be best if the government withdraw the previous bill and fulfil the demand made by the people as this is the only means to safeguard the indigenous inhabitants of the people and to live peacefully in the state” he added.

(Reported by the Imphal Free Press)

The next few statements made by the protesters and published by the Imphal Free Press are reflective of their obstinate determination.

The protestors also shouted at the police that the demand was also for the police and their families and “Take our lives, but don’t destroy our Home, please, we are eager to sacrifice for the ILPS.”

A fog of frustration seems to have clouded people’s perception and judgement. This is true for people on both sides of the spectrum. If protestors are resorting to extreme measures like the ones already mentioned (burning tyres, blocking traffic etc.), the police too is resorting to violent measures to quench the protest. Some of these are often on the fringes of being inhumanimphal 1

Tear gas shell, fired by the police that exploded in the middle of a group of protesters left several injured. One of the injured has been identified as 17-year-old Roshan Haobijam. Rushed to RIMS hospital, a splinter of a tear gas shell was taken out from an injury on his stomach.Splinters had also hit his thigh and shoulders and he was also bleeding from his right ear.

The following account was published by the Imphal Free Press,

“According to the students who are both 15-year olds, they were talking inside their residential gate at Kakwa when police personnel who came from behind jump on them and put them inside their mini-van parked outside.

The two have been identified as class VIII student Alex Thokchom son of Rajan and S Thoibi son of Amuchao.

The two said they were taken to the Kakwa Police Station and accused of using catapults which they had not.

The police then assaulted them using the butts of their guns and stamped all over their bodies with their boots, they said.

They were only rescued by the local womenfolk who stormed the station after learning of their arrest.

The two boys who are now at the RIMS wore lucid boot marks on their necks, thighs, knees and other parts”.

Mainstream Media not providing enough coverage to the issue?

While the residents of Manipur are in a better position to justify their stand on implementation or non-implementation of ILP, it is worth considering why the media hasn’t been giving as much coverage to the entire issue as it deserves. Except for regional media platforms within Manipur, hardly anyone within mainstream media seems to be going into the details violence unleashed upon the group of protestors which did not even spare teenagers or minors.

Posts about commercial media not giving enough coverage to issues in Imphal have been trending all over social media. Many people were taken by surprise on getting to know about the situation in Imphal through social media platforms such as Twitter. Some even expressed doubts regarding the validity of the news as they hadn’t heard of it elsewhere.

The biting sarcasm embedded within the tweet is clearly targeted towards such omissions on behalf of commercial main stream media. Various people on twitter agreed with him in their responses.

In response to this, Vishal Dadlani said he found no news of the same.

 

Award-winning author Binalakshmi Nepram continues to tweet about the issue from her handle.

Once again, the issue of discrimination faced by North Eastern states, despite being a part of India has been brought into discussion. The entire situation also highlights the significance of social media and the power it enjoys in terms of influence and effects. It is indeed one of the most powerful tools easily accessible to common man that can often be employed towards the welfare of society.

Finally, the following can be said about the situation in Manipur. Clearly chaos has established control over rationality and perhaps humanity. Difference of opinion has extended into something much more violent than a simple war of words. The government urgently needs to come up with a solution or arrive at some kind of negotiation.

Next Story

Dalai Lama on Three Day Visit to Manipur

0
15
Dalai Lama
Dalai Lama will be in Manipur on Tuesday. ians

Imphal, October 16: Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama will arrive here on Tuesday on a three-day visit to Manipur, officials said.

This will be his second trip to India’s northeast after his April visit to Arunachal Pradesh.

Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh told IANS on Monday that the government had declared the Dalai Lama a state guest.

“We will extend a warm welcome to him. He will be given all facilities as an honoured guest,” he said.

On Wednesday, the Dalai Lama will be given a public reception at the Convention Centre here. It will be followed by a felicitation programme at the same venue.

The Dalai Lama will interact with members of the public and dignitaries.

The Dalai Lama, who has lived in India in self-imposed exile since fleeing his homeland in 1959, is coming to Manipur at the invitation of the Speaker of the Manipur Assembly.

His Arunachal Pradesh visit had sparked a diplomatic row between India and China.(IANS)

Next Story

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu launches construction of Indian Railway’s longest tunnel

The 111-km-long Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal new broad gauge railway project was taken up in 2008 and was soon declared as a National Project

0
403
Suresh Prabhu. Image source: www.iisd.ca
  • Indian Railways have taken a holistic approach towards development and the 111-km-long new broad gauge railway line from Jiribam to Imphal
  • The 111-km-long line comprises 37 tunnels and the tunnel no 12 will be the longest in the Indian Railway at 11.55 km
  • The tunnel would not only connect two parts of Manipur by rail but it would also be a symbolic representation of the state getting connected to the Indian mainland

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Saturday, July 30, announced the commencement of works of the longest tunnel in the Indian Railway – on the Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal new broad gauge railway line in Manipur.

The 111-km-long line comprises 37 tunnels and the tunnel no 12 will be the longest in the Indian Railway at 11.55 km. Besides the longest tunnel in Indian Railway, the stretch also has another striking feature – the tallest bridge in the world, being constructed over Iring river with a pier height of 141 metres, almost equal to two Qutub Minar stacked over each other.

Prabhu made the announcement for the commencement of work on the tunnel while speaking at a function to lay the foundation stone of the proposed railway station at Yurembam village, 13 km away from Imphal.

Follow NewsGram on Twitter

“Connectivity is the prime driver of development and the Railway Ministry would not spare any resources for bringing in speedy development of rail connectivity in the region. Indian Railways have taken a holistic approach towards development and the 111-km-long new broad gauge railway line from Jiribam to Imphal.

Manipur CM Image source: www.thehindu.com
Manipur CM Image source: www.thehindu.com

“This will not only connect Imphal to the rest of the country but also open up new vistas for economic development of the region,” said Prabhu in his address on the occasion.

“We are proud of our cultural heritage and therefore the proposed Imphal station had been designed incorporating the architectural elements of Kangla Fort Gate and Shri Govindji Temple -two historical monuments of Manipur,” he said, adding Minister of State for Railways, Rajen Gohain would be entrusted with monitoring progress of the projects so that they can be completed in time.

Follow NewsGram on Facebook

Announcing the commencement of the works for the Tunnel No. 12, Prabhu said the tunnel would not only connect two parts of Manipur by rail but it would also be a symbolic representation of the state getting connected to the Indian mainland.

The 111-km-long Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal new broad gauge railway project was taken up in 2008 and was soon declared as a National Project. While the works for 12.5-km-long Jiribam to Dholakhal section has been completed and commissioned for freight train in March 2016, construction of 25 out of the total 37 tunnels on the 84 km Jiribam-Tupul section have been completed April this year. The works for the rest are also progressing well.

Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, while expressing his satisfaction and happiness for Indian Railway’s initiatives for bringing in better connectivity to the region, requested the central government to consider extending the railway line to Moreh from Imphal. (IANS)

ALSO READ:

 

Next Story

Radicals call for 24 hour ‘public curfew’ in Manipur

Despite the sudden closure of schools, several girl students had turned up and they were locked in a face-off with the policewomen.

0
209
Kashmir
Protesters vs Security forces, (representational Image) Wikimedia
  • Notably, the schools and colleges are already closed for two days following a government order in view of anti-migrant agitations
  • On the other hand, for nearly a week women activists have been intercepting all Manipur-bound passenger buses to off-load migrant workers who come to the state without proper documents
  • However, the police have refused to file cases against them, contending that the migrants are all Indians

Protesting the police high-handedness, the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) has imposed a 24-hour public curfew in Manipur from Friday midnight.

Essential services and students have been exempted. Notably, the schools and colleges are already closed for two days following a government order in view of anti-migrant agitations.

BK Moirangcha (centre) leader of JCILPS. Image Source: www.thesangaiexpress.com
BK Moirangcha (centre) leader of JCILPS. Image Source: www.thesangaiexpress.com

B.K. Moirangcha, convener of the JCILPS, said, “After obtaining permission from the authorities, preparations were being made for a meeting to discuss the burning issues, including Khomdram Ratan, a former convener, being declared as absconder. However, a fresh order was issued banning the public meeting.”

Follow NewsGram on Twitter

Despite the sudden closure of schools, several girl students had turned up and they were locked in a face-off with the policewomen.

Meanwhile, Justice N. Koteswor and Justgice Kh. Nobin of the Manipur High Court on Friday ruled that the plea of Ratan to review the government order declaring him absconder is “maintainable”.

24 hour public curfew in Manipur. Image Source: www.thestatesman.com
24 hour public curfew in Manipur. Image Source: www.thestatesman.com

On the other hand, for nearly a week women activists have been intercepting all Manipur-bound passenger buses to off-load migrant workers who come to the state without proper documents. So far, nearly 700 migrant workers have been handed over to authorities.

However, the police have refused to file cases against them, contending that the migrants are all Indians. On Friday, 71 migrant workers were caught without identity papers.

Follow NewsGram on Facebook

State Home Minister Gaikhangam said, “Many persons are agitating against the migrants in public while privately they are letting out rooms in their homes.”

State Home Minister Gaikhangam. Image Source: www.nelive.in
State Home Minister Gaikhangam. Image Source: www.nelive.in

Hundreds of women are also launching sit-in protests in many parts of the valley districts against migrants. (IANS)

Also Read: