TODAY -

Instead of feast, hunger strike marks Ningol Chakkouba in 2023
Chakkouba fast follows dark Diwali
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, November 16 2023: After a dark and a muted Diwali, Manipur witnessed an exceptionally sombre Ningol Chakkouba day as womenfolk across the valley district, including at relief camps carried out hunger strikes on Wednesday and extended solidarity to all the Meetei people taking refuge at relief camps.

Ningol Chakkouba is a festival of family reunion and one of the biggest festivals of the Meetei where married women are invited for a feast by their parents and siblings.

Usually, married Meetei women would wear their finest traditional clothes and take fruits and sweets to their parental homes and share them with their siblings and parents and cherish the family reunion while the parents and brothers would present simple gifts to their daughters/sisters on this occasion.

This year, however, several groups of women were seen sitting on hunger strike on Ningol Chakkouba day instead of celebrating the festival to extend solidarity with the victims of the Kuki aggression.

Khwairamband Keithel and other important business areas were eerily quiet on the day as all shops were closed.

Hunger strikes and sit in protests were staged at Andro Parking, Sabungkhok, Pungdongbam, Sekta, Porompat Thawanthaba Leikai, Chingamakha Ningthoujam Leikai, Lamsang, Keishamthong, Thangmeiband, Haobam Marak, Patsoi, Khurkhul, Langthabal, Pangei, Sajiwa, Kwakeithel, Kongba, Wangkhei, Khurai, Singjamei, Tiddim stretch, Thoubal, Bishnupur Kakching etc.

Some of the common demands which were raised during the demonstrations were to work out a solution to the ongoing conflict, restore normalcy in Manipur, trace Maibam Avinash and Ningthoujam Anthony who went missing on November 5 etc.

Thawai Mirel, meanwhile, has extended their 'sincere' regard to all the Ningols who made this year Ningol Chakkouba more emotional and historic by staging hunger strikes instead of reuniting with their siblings and parents.

Thawai Mirel asked all the Meeteis to not take the tear being shed by the Meetei Ningols on this day lightly but take it as a motivation to protect Manipur.

At the hunger strike at Phougakchao Ikhai Awang, Torbung GP Meira Paibi secretary Takhelakpam Kegesana said that it is the failure of the Government which prevented the Meeteis from celebrating Ningol Chakkouba.

The Government will claim there is normalcy whenever there is a lull in clashes for a few days instead of working out a solution to bring a lasting peace in the State, she added.

Many people are not allowed to return to their places, she reminded and added that there is no point in celebrating at this point of time.

She said that they will not take part in any festivity until all the displaced people are resettled.

"Why is the Government not looking after the needs of displaced people and taking up the resettlement work expeditiously.

Does this Government fear Kukis,?" she asked.

Kegesana asked the Government to work out a solution to the ongoing crisis at the earliest.

At Andro Parking, one Kshetrimayum Chaobi said that Ningol Chakkouba is a very emotional festival to the Meeteis which celebrate family ties.

Ksh Chaobi is a survivor at the Government Dance College, Palace Compound.

Stating that people in valley districts chose not to celebrate the festival this year but wore black clothes to protest the aggression of Kuki narco terrorists which has claimed so many innocent lives, she asked the Government to understand why people stayed away from Ningol Chakkouba festival.

At Sekta, one Yumkhaibam Memchaleima said that they staged the protest to extend solidarity to all the victims of Kuki narcoterrorists and village volunteers who have been safeguarding the integrity of Manipur.

Saying that it is the failure of the Government which compelled the villagers to face the Kuki narco-terrorists by wielding whatever weapons they can, she said that the Government should be ashamed of their utter failure to restore normalcy since the violence broke out on May 3.Speaking about not celebrating the festival, one woman at Pungdongbam asked how they can celebrate when several people have died while thousands others are displaced amid the unresolved crisis in Manipur.

She appealed to both the Centre and the State Government to sincerely work towards bringing about a lasting peace so that the displaced people can safely return to their respective homes without any fear.

Endorsing the collective stand of Meetei to not celebrate Ningol Chakkouba, women taking refuge at the pre-fabricated houses set up near Sajiwa Jail also held a hunger strike.

A displaced person from Ikou, Karam Bimola said that she along with thousands of people have been staying at relief camps and relatives' places since the beginning of Kuki onslaught against the Meeteis on May 3.Saying that November 15, the day of Ningol Chakkouba 2023, will be unforgettable to the Meeteis for a very long time, she prayed for all those who died for the cause of Manipur amid the conflict to rest in eternal peace.

"We don't want to take part in any festivity when Manipur is burning", she added.


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