CM comes out strong against armed outfits in Khongjom memorial speech

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IMPHAL, April 23: The state today remembered the sacrifices of the Manipuri forefathers during the Anglo-Manipuri War of 1891 also known as the Khongjom War. A state function in remembrance of the day was observed like in the past years at the Khongjom War Memorial complex atop the Kheba Ching.

The observation was attended by the state Governor, Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister, Speakers, state cabinet Ministers and MLAs, DGP among others.

The observation started with the offering of floral tributes at the memorial statue at the top of the hillock by the state heads, dignitaries and others present. Floral tributes were also offered at the statue of Paona Brajabashi. The observation continued with the attendees led by the Chief Minister and the Governor offering `tarpon` at the Khongjom River which run along the foot of the hillock.

CM O Ibobi Singh laying a wreath in front of the Paona Brajabashi statue on Tuesday
CM O Ibobi Singh laying a wreath in front of the Paona Brajabashi statue on Tuesday

A contingent of the Manipur Rifles gave a 12 gun salute during the observation in memory of the sacrifices of the forefathers who laid down their lives for Manipur.

Meanwhile, addressing the observation, the state Chief Minister came out strongly against the recent violent attacks owned up by the armed outfits based in the state.

Referring to the April 21 ambush of a PWD team led by Superintendent Engineer, PWD Chandel division at Khudengthabi which killed one Manipur Rifles personnel, the state Chief Minister lamented that the team was on a trip with the aim of inspecting some projects in the interior parts of the state with an eye to bring in development.

Ranting out against the violence incited actions of militant outfits in the state, the Chief Minister declared that both the Centre and the State governments have been tolerating the militant outfits and waiting in the hope that they will return back to normalcy and peace.

Ridiculing the claims of armed militant groups that they have the support of the general public, the Chief Minister said that the outfits need to reconsider this notion and rethink on whether the people will support them after their violent actions like the Khudengthabi incident. 

“The government has always been ready to welcome the armed militants with open arms if they are ready for peace talks,” he said before adding that they (armed groups) seem to take the government’s silence to be its weakness.

He continued, “The government’s tolerance has a limit and once it is crossed; there could be no turning back.”

The Chief Minister said that if the government find anything feasible in the outfits’ proposal for peace talks, then the government can accept the demands, however it doesn’t mean that the government will give in to all the demands of all groups, he said. 

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister had also extended an invitation for peace talks to the armed outfits.

He said as a human being, one has every right to live in freedom and Manipur being a part of India which is a free and independent country, Manipur is also an independent land.

He further urged the people to safeguard both the territorial integrity of Manipur and India.

There is no place for communal ideas and notions in the state, he said before urging the people for a peaceful co-existence in the state.

Meanwhile, the state Governor Gurbachan Jagat said, “Today, again we are all gathered here at the hallowed grounds of Khongjom, to observe Khongjom Day”.

He said, “The day makes us remember the patriotism, sacrifice and the unflinching courage of the people of Manipur who withstood against the mightiest power of that era to safeguard Manipur`s freedom, in 1891”.

“Paona Brajabashi and others who had made the supreme sacrifice had their names inscribed in history. The battle of Khongjom is an illustrious chapter in the long freedom struggle of the entire country”, he continued.

He continued, “Manipur has for sometime been passing through a very difficult phase. Though outwardly there is certain improvement in the situation, the underlying tension continues to simmer and peace is yet to prevail. The numbers of killings has gone down but sudden bandhs, blockades, etc. impact the economy and the lives of the common man”.

“There is a tendency to take the law into ones own hands and we have seen demolition and burning of houses of accused. This is a sign of anarchy and this must stop if we want to be in a civilized society where rule of law is the order”, he said, while expressing his trust that both the government and the general public will extend their full cooperation to each other to maintain peace and harmony in the state.

“The state continues to lag behind other states of the country in the area of development and the gap seems to be widening every year”, he said while adding, “Manipur, no doubt, has made significant progress in various fields, yet much more needs to be done”.

“The government with all its staff need to have a re-look at their performance and see whether services are actually being delivered to the targets. If not, a strategy must be put in place so that the services reach the target”, the Governor said.

“In other words, development has to be inclusive so that every citizen can be encompassed. As we require both hands to clap, both the ruler and the ruled must have confidence in each other, he added.

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