Imphal, September 30
The birth anniversary of Irabot Singh (1896-1951), Communist leader and a revolutionary freedom fighter, is an important occasion in the cultural calendar of Manipur and is observed as a public holiday. The heat generated by the ongoing ethnic strife in Manipur, however, overshadowed the birth anniversary today. Thousands of youths wearing black clothes and shouting “blood for blood”, “glory to the motherland” and other emotive slogans participated in a big procession that passed through major roads of the capital city Imphal. Held under the aegis of the Aramnbai Tenggol (Meitei for “Dart Wielding Cavalry”), the processionists paid homage to the Meitei victims. The strife also left its mark on the official function attended by Chief Minister Biren Singh, who paid floral tribute at the statute of Irabot Singh.
The CM expressed shock over the incident in Imphal area in which several students were injured in clashes with security forces on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“Biren Singh is in a precarious position. While the Kukis accuse him of being partisan, now a section of the Meiteis have also started to hate him because of the law and order situation...,” said W Tiken, an Imphal-based senior journalist.
Even in Meitei-dominated valley area of Manipur, the demand for Biren Singh’s removal is growing. The joint action committee (JAC), which came into being after the kidnapping and murder of two Meitei teenagers alleged by armed Kuki men came to light, on Saturday warned the government of arresting the culprits and finding out the bodies of the victims within next 48 hours or “face intense protests”.
State’s top eight BJP leaders, including state president A Sharda Devi, wrote to JP Nadda on September 28 pointing out that the “protest is now slowly turning the tide, putting the sole onus of the prolonged disturbances on the failure of the government...”
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