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Imphal: The year just ending was another of violence and more violence in Manipur, one of the most troubled states in India’s northeast.

In a place where militancy never seems to abate, there was little to cheer, with Naga insurgents massacring 20 soldiers in Chandel district in June, inviting a rare but deadly Indian Army retaliation in Myanmar.


The violence has only been compounded by the never ending strikes that have made life very tough for the mass of people all across the landlocked state.

The violence and unrest resulted in the extension of the Disturbed State status till October 2016, preventing the central government from repealing the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

The AFSPA is probably the most hated legislation in Manipur, where many say it gives security forces sweeping powers – without any accountability.

Amid the persisting unrest, the 595-km India-Mandalay bus service was kick started to boost the northeast’s trade with neighboring countries and Southeast Asia.

At the start of 2015, Chief Minister Ibobi Singh drew flak after human rights activist from Sharmila, who was fasting for 15 years demanding the repeal of AFSPA, was released from judicial custody but rearrested for continuing her hunger strike.

Sharmila, better known as the Iron Lady, completed 15 years of hunger strike on November 1, with no hopes of her demand being met.

On June 4, a deadly ambush by militants left 20 soldiers of the Dogra Regiment dead in an attack blamed on the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) led by S.S. Khaplang, which has refused to accept a peace pact signed by the government and the dominant NSCN-IM faction.

Interestingly, in the last few months, the other Manipur-based armed groups, including the Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL), the Peoples Liberation Army(PLA) and the Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) have become dormant and have been taken over by the NSCN-K. These groups have also witnessed a lot of their cadres quitting and joining civilians life.

The attack led to a sneaking surgical strike by the Indian Army in Myanmar territory, an operation that threatened to sour ties between the two countries.

Then came massive protests by the Imphal Valley-based Meitei community demanding Inner Line Permit (ILP) for the state on the lines of ILPs in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, and Nagaland.

The government was compelled to pass a bill after the agitation and the death of a teenager, Saipam Robinhood.

But this only caused outrage and revolt among the tribals, who said the Meiteis are trying to destabilize the already marginalized tribal population.

The tribal belts of Manipur spread over five districts — Ukhrul, Senapati, Tamenglong, Chandel, and Churachandpur — constitute 75 percent of the state area with a population of 500,000 to 600,000 while more than 1.4 million Meiteis are packed in an area of 5.5 sq km.

Tribal Lok Sabha member Tangso Baite’s house was burnt after he was accused of not taking up the tribal issue. The turmoil in Churachandpur district left nine tribals dead.

Amid the tumult, the India-Myanmar-Thailand (IMT) trilateral highway became operational. And the Imphal-Mandalay bus service was flagged off on December 10.

The bus journey between Imphal and Mandalay will be covered in 14 hours. It is the first bus link to provide direct connectivity between India and Myanmar.(Rupesh Dutta, IANS)


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The aim of the book is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

By Siddhi Jain

Delhi-based author Pritisha Borthakur is set to release her new book, 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories'. The 1,404-word children's book was put together to address a new kind of societal debacle in the family system. The author says the aim is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

The author who named the book after her twin sons -- Puhor and Niyor -- is a parent who has seen and heard the tales of ridicule and discrimination suffered by many in India and beyond. She says the book is an artistic illustration for kids that details how different families can live and coexist. Whether it's children with two dads or two moms, children with a single dad or single mom, and even multiracial family units, Borthakur's book teaches love, understanding, and compassion towards unconventional families.

Beyond race, gender, color, and ethnicity which have formed the bases for discrimination since the beginning of time, this book aims to bring to light a largely ignored issue. For so long, single parents have been treated like a taboo without any attempt to understand their situations; no one really cares how or why one's marriage ended but just wants to treat single parents as villains simply for choosing happiness and loving their children.

Homosexual parents, a relatively new family system, is another form that has suffered hate and discrimination for many years. Pritisha emphasizes the need to understand that diversity in people and family is what makes the world beautiful and colourful. 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race, and even differences in background

four children standing on dirt during daytime 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race and even differences in background. | Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash


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