Rich tributes paid to 1891 war heroes

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IMPHAL, Apr 23: To commemorate the supreme sacrifice made by 1891 Khongjom war martyrs, the State Govt today observed Khongjom Day with a solemn function at Khebaching in Thoubal district.
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Offering gun salute by a contingent of 1st MR and offering of homages by the gathering to the patriots at Khongjom river marked the Khongjom Day programme today. In the morning, Chief Minister O Ibobi led the gathering in paying homage to the martyrs at Khebaching. The Cabinet colleagues of the Chief Minister and officials also paid tributes at the statue of Major Paona Braja-bashi at Khebaching. In the evening, President of India Pranab Mukherjee unveiled the Khongjom war monument at the venue. Joining the people in paying homage to the patriots, Governor V Shanmuganathan appealed for ensuring maximum education and employ- ment to the new generation. Inspite of Manipuris’ remarkable contribution and achievements in sports, music, dance, art and culture etc, the people need more focus on these areas for their better future, Governor Shanmuganathan said. Speaking at the occasion, Chief Minister O Ibobi said that the newly unveiled war monument was inspired by the ‘Phungga Nungdums’ or hearth stones which guard the hearth. It symbolizes the three qualities admired by the Manipuris that is ‘Panggal, Thouna and Lingjel’ which can roughly be translated as ‘strength, bravery and moral courage. It also symbolizes the defence on three sides during the 1891 war. In Manipur, the entire episode of the Ango-Manipuri War of 1891 is represented by the Battle of Khongjom, which in Manipur is known as Khongjom Lan. Chief Minister was confident of a spurt in the State economic growth. Since the Khongjom memorial complex lies on Asian Highway No 1, it will attract a number of tourists from the ASEAN countries besides those from neighbouring States which share some common thread with Manipur’s history.
Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam, Speaker of Ma-nipur Legislative Assembly Th Lokeshor, RD and PR Minister M Okendro and MLA P Brojen were present as presidium members. MPs, high ranking civil and police officials and general public attended the programme.
Khebaching is the place where the last battle of Manipur’s independence was fought against the British army in 1891. Many patriots laid their lives defending the independence of Manipur. The British defeated Manipur in the historic war, which led to the loss of its sovereignty. The Day has been observed down the decades.

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