IMPHAL, May 29: The Maibam Lokpa Ching is under the government’s first priority list for turning it into a tourism destination. This was stated by Okram Ibobi in the sidelines while interacting with the media at the anniversary of the Battle of Red Hill on Thursday.
The anniversary of the Battle of Red Hill, referred to as Point 2926 during WW 2, was held at the Maibam Lotpa Ching, Nambol on Thursday morning with the Governor and Chief Minister offering floral tributes. The anniversary was jointly organised by Manipur Tourism Forum and WW-II Imphal campaign foundation.
Governor VK Duggal said we are commemorating one of the fiercest battles in Manipur during the WW-II which came to be known as the Battle of Red Hill at Maibam Lotpa Ching.
Pointing out that the outcome of the battle was determined by a hand to hand combat between the Japanese and the Allied forces that continued for over a week towards the end of May 1944 leaving hundreds of soldiers dead, he added that historians have claimed that out of 500 Japanese soldiers only 40 survived.
“Perhaps, because of this reason the Japanese War Memorial was erected here in remembrance of the brave solders from both the sides of the Japanese and Allied forces who sacrificed their lives during WW-II. It is quite unbelievable that such a decisive battle was fought in Manipur which then have only a 5.5 lakhs population. Manipur suffered a lot during the war with many families running helter-skelter. The untold miseries faced by the people of Manipur were never brought out to the fore.”
He said that the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Imphal fought during WW-II organised with support from the Manipur government has opened a fresh chapter in Manipur.
He said it not only brings out the importance of Manipur in history but also put it in the international map, adding that further research to find out citizens of all the countries who participated during the Battle of Imphal is necessary so as to invite representative of these countries to make such anniversaries fully inclusive.
“More research on the sites of the battle is needed and these sites must be preserved and restored by erecting proper memorials or monuments. It should make people understand the sacrifices made from both sides while also spreading the messages of peace and affirming that ‘war benefits no nation’ to the future generations,” the VK Duggal said, stressing that such activities can make Manipur well known to many parts of the world and will be a harbinger for making Manipur a World War-II heritage site and attract tourists from all across the globe and thus bringing economic benefits to the state.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Okram Ibobi said that the Battle of Imphal is a story about our own people of Manipur. We have heard of countless tales from our own parents and grandparents of that dramatic period when we found ourselves in the middle of one of the greatest battles of the WW-II.
“The commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Imphal is a key step in taking us back to this fascinating chapter of our own history which uniquely connects us to many countries around the world. The government is pleased to be supporting this initiative,” he said, “Manipur’s heritages and assets such as cemeteries, museums, memorials, battlefields, airfields, bunkers and trenches can be of much interest to people from around the world. It will not be just for the family of those soldiers but also others such as students, military enthusiast tourists interested in history and general tourists etc.”
The Chief Minister said history is related to heritage in ways that make it interesting and attractive for visitors to explore.
Efforts are on to develop Manipur as one of the best tourist destinations not only in the Northeast but also in India to attract tourists from India and abroad, he said, adding that the state government will support in preserving these heritage sites as well as promoting the potential tourists sites of the state.
Floral tributes were also paid at the India Peace Memorial located at the foothills of the Red Hill which is popularly known as the Maibam Lotpa Ching among the locals. The day’s observation was organised as part of the ongoing three months 70th anniversary of the Battle of Imphal. The anniversary is scheduled to conclude with a closing function in Imphal on June 28.