Bikers on their way to Khongjom war memorial complex from Imphal. Telegraph picture
Imphal, Oct. 6: Altogether 80 bikers from Pune paid homage to the Indian National Army (INA) soldiers at Moirang, nearly 45km from Imphal in Bishnupur district yesterday.
The bikers’ team, comprising students, businessmen, government employees, former government employees and social workers, arrived in Imphal on October 4 evening.
The team, led by Sandip Mahind, a doctor turned social activist from Pune, is on its way to Shillong in Meghalaya via Silchar in Assam today.
The team will reach Guwahati on Tuesday.
After paying floral tribute at Imphal’s Sahid Minar, where Yubaraj Tikendrajit and Thangal General were hanged in August 1891 for waging war against the British, it headed towards Khongjom in Thoubal district where Manipuris fought the British the same year.
The team then travelled to Moirang in Bishnupur district where the soldiers of INA first hoisted the “Indian tricolour” in 1944 during their stay in Manipur.
After hoisting the flag, Moirang became the headquarters of INA and the event became an important part of Indian history.
R.K. Viswajit Singh, the Real Hero award winner instituted by CNN-IBN and Reliance Foundation, flagged off the rally from Imphal to Khongjom.
The convener of the reception committee, Jeevan Abhiram Ningthou, said the motto of the bike rally was to pay tribute to heroes of the region and bring connectivity between the people in the region and the rest of the country.
On their way to Khongjom, the team paid tribute to Hijam Irabot, communist leader at Kakching in Thoubal district and visited the war memorial site at Khongjom. They also paid homage to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose at Moirang’s INA memorial complex.
In Assam, the team will pay tribute to Assamese heroes like Lachit Borphukan and others.
“Manipur occupies an important place in our history. It is the place where INA unfurled the “Indian tricolour” for the first time during World War II. We are very happy to pay tribute to the heroes of INA and Manipuri heroes,” Sandip Mahind said.
Expressing their happiness, the team members said such people-to-people contact would help unify the country.
Showing gratitude to the team for visiting Manipur and the Northeast, Viswajit Singh said, “It is quite commendable that they have chosen to pay tribute to the nation by visiting places of historical importance. Their unprecedented journey has proven that all human beings are members of one big family.”
Fourteen organisations in Manipur, including Rotary Club, Imphal, Punjabi Samaj and Animal Gym, have formed a reception committee, Confluence 2013 — A saga of heroism., to celebrate the success of the Manipur leg of the rally.