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Call for unity on Patriots’ Day

Imphal, Aug. 13: Manipur governor Vinod Kumar Duggal and chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh called for resolving differences and fostering unity among different communities in the state for making Manipur peaceful and prosperous.

Duggal and Ibobi Singh today addressed the state function of Patriots’ Day at Imphal city’s Bir Tikendrajit Park, where Yubaraj Tikendrajit and Thangal General were hanged by the British on this day in 1891.

The day is observed every year since 1970 to pay tribute to Manipuri heroes who fought against the British. Manipur came under British rule on April 27, 1891.

Before the main function, people paid floral tribute at the graveyard of Tikendrajit and Thangal General temple, both in Imphal city. Led by Duggal and Ibobi Singh, people also paid floral tribute at Shahid Minar in Bir Tikendrajit Park, where the two were hanged.

On the occasion, the chief minister’s police medal for gallantry was announced for six police personnel and chief minister’s police medal for outstanding devotion to duty for eight police personnel.

“The British took advantage of disunity among Manipuri princes. We can’t change history. But we can learn from it. Disunity (among the communities) will bring all of us down,” Duggal, who was the chief guest at the state function, said.

Ibobi Singh called for shunning separatism by all to bring unity among the communities for taking the state forward.

Neither the governor nor the chief minister mentioned the United Naga Council’s (UNC) demand for an alternative administrative arrangement for the Nagas in Manipur in their speeches.

The UNC had said it would stay away from Independence Day functions to put pressure on the Centre to intervene into the demand for a separate administration for the Nagas living in Manipur.

The Kuki community in Manipur is also seeking a separate Kuki state carved out of Manipur’s boundary.

The governor said the “ethnic and social tensions” existing in the state must be amicably resolved instead of harping on the differences. “The tensions will impact the state,” Duggal said.

He advised the state government to give up its habit of listening to the grievances of the people only when the aggrieved people resort to violence.

Duggal also called upon the people to do away with the culture of strikes and blockades.

Political parties and citizens’ bodies observed the day with separate functions.

Rupmahal Theatre, one of the oldest theatre groups in Manipur, staged two shows of its play Bir Tikendrajit today in Imphal city.