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Harvest festival begins in Imphal
- Ibobi appeals for peace

Imphal, Jan. 25: Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh today inaugurated state-level Gaan-Ngai festival at Langol Tarung ground in Imphal West with a call for peace and forgiveness.

Gaan-Ngai is a post harvest and the largest cultural festival of the Zeliangrong community.

During the festival — celebrated in every Zeliangrong village — prayers, feasts, cultural programmes and games are organised.

Ibobi Singh, deputy chief minister Gaikhangam, who belongs to the Zeliangrong community, and other ministers took part in the programme, sending the message that the festival gives the opportunity for communities to come together.

Meitei communities also took part in the festival.

Without mentioning the demands for a separate Kuki state and an alternative administrative arrangement for the Nagas of Manipur outside the purview of the Manipur government, Ibobi Singh stressed the need to forgive the wrongs committed by a community and forget it.

“Wrongs could have been committed in the past. But we should forgive and forget so that all residing in Manipur should work together for developmentand unity,” he said.

The Kuki State Demand Committee imposed an indefinite blockade from 5pm yesterday and a curfew tomorrow in all the Kuki-inhabited areas of Manipur demanding a separate state.

United Naga Council, the apex body of the Nagas in Manipur, is also pressing for a separate administrative arrangement for Nagas in Manipur outside the purview of the state government.

Ibobi Singh said all residing in Manipur were Manipuris and citizens of India.

Gaikhangam also called on all the communities to maintain peace and unity.He made a similar appeal at the closing function of the three-day second state-level cultural festival, which concluded at Tribal Research Institute, Imphal today.