Biren sparks storm with Krishna remark

N. Biren Singh

Imphal: Manipur chief minister N. Biren Singh drew criticism from the people of the state for his remarks at Porbandar in Gujarat linking Lord Krishna with the region.

Attending Madhavpur mela, a religio-cultural fair a few days back, Biren was quoted as saying: "In the time of Lord Krishna, there was no separate Arunachal Pradesh or Assam or Manipur. The entire Northeast was one entity. Now Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland are on the border of China. But Lord Krishna made them part of India during his time."

Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu, who was also present at the programme, invoked the mythological tale of Krishna abducting princess Rukmini, daughter of King Bhishmak of Idu Mishi tribe of Arunachal Pradesh, whom he married her at Madhavpur village.

A source close to Biren said the chief minister's statement was "distorted." However, no clarification has been issued by the office of the chief minister. The chief minister's remarks sparked so much anger so that a student body demanded his resignation. "If the chief minister is so ignorant about the history of Manipur and if he is so careless about making such erroneous statements which will have far reaching implications, he must step down from the post of chief minister as he is not qualified for such a responsible post," president of Manipuri Students Federation Ngariyanbam Milan said.

The student leader said Biren's statement was akin to "completely distorting Manipur's history and selling off Manipuri nation" in his attempt to obtain some benefits from the Centre. "By linking Manipur's history with the history of Indian and Hindutva, Biren is trying to project Manipur's history wrongly and such a statement is highly condemnable," Milan said.

State PCC president T.N. Haokip said, "Six Northeast chief ministers dancing to the tune of PM Modi at Madhavpur village in Gujarat subverts the integrity of the region. How come the CMs become historian overnight. This is very unfortunate."

Research scholars, university professors and activists also slammed Biren on social media for his remarks. "The honourable CM N. Biren must not cage himself into with more controversy that are of his own making while pushing ahead like a zealot of Hindutva agenda. I wish that he study history properly and not blindly indulge in mythology and fabricated polemics," Malem Ningthouja, a Delhi-based research scholar from Manipur said. Erendro Leichombam, convenor of Peoples Resurgence and Justice Alliance, assailed Biren for "distorting history to please his political masters."


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