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EXCLUSIVE: Biren’s remark on Meira Paibis raises many eyebrows


It is shameful to call him the leader of the state as he is looking down upon these women and projecting them as if they are some idler or loafer, said Nupi Samaj president Thokchom Ramani.

By Naorem Tanoranjan

The recent remark made by chief minister N Biren Singh urging the Meira Paibis (Torch bearers) to lay down their Meiras (torches) and to focus on economic activities instead did not go down well with Meira Paibi leaders of the state.

Speaking to TFM, All Manipur Women Social Reformation & Development Samaj (Nupi Samaj) president Thokchom Ramani said that Meira Paibis have been working for the betterment of the society. It is shameful to call him the leader of the state as he is looking down upon these women and projecting them as if they are some idlers or loafers, she added.

The Meira Paibis are meant not just for fighting against Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) and the excess of the security forces. From earlier times, they have been involved in almost all the major issues facing the state, leading from the front. It is unfortunate that the CM is ignorant about the roles taken by these Meira Paibi women activists, Ramani said.

On the statement of Biren that the law and order situation in the state has considerably improved, the veteran Meira Paibi leader said that the menace of drugs in the state is ravaging the youth of the state.

“Is the government sincere in its fight against drugs? Did the government make honest efforts in the Lhukhosei Zou case?” she asked.

Ramani further said even though some men in the society are idlers, abusing substances and wasting time, the Meira Paibis have been working hard and looking after the livelihood of the society. The women vendors in the markets, those working in construction sites, in the fields, for the MGNREGA amongst others are all Meira Paibis, she asserted.

Ramani also said that it is surprising that the chief minister has suggested the Meira Paibis to lay the torches down and to look after their husbands and children. Amongst the doctors, engineers, officers, MLAs and ministers, there are some who are sons and daughters of Meira Paibis, she said.

Speaking to TFM, Khwairamband Nupi Keithel Semgat Sagatpa Lup president Mayanglambam (O) RK Radhesana urged the government to imagine where Manipur would be if there were no Meira Paibi movement. It is really unfortunate that the chief minister is projecting the Meira Paibi who have been fighting to save the state from various issues, treating all the youth as their own children, as some idlers who do not look after their husbands and children.

Recalling the role of the women in the state, Radhesana said that in 1904 when the British tried to take away the men of the state as force labours, the brave women of the state came out and fought the first Nupi Lan. When rice was being exported outside the state in 1939, leading to shortages of rice in the state, the brave women again faced the bullets and bayonets of the British. On July 15, 2004, 12 brave women staged the historic naked protest against AFSPA, she added.

Maintaining that the Meira Paibis are still involved and engaging in major social issues including CAA, Naga issue, amongst others, Radhesana said that in such issues, the children and wives of the MLAs and ministers are not involved in it.

Poirei Leimarol Meira Paibi Apunba, Manipur president Longjam Memchoubi said that the women vendors of Kwairamband and other markets in the state are not only earning their livelihood, but also play an important role in saving the state. The ignorance of Biren of such reality is unfortunate, she added.

Since 1980 the women of the state have been campaigning and agitating against the excess of armed forces in the garb of AFSPA, she said. Still different forces are trying to annihilate the state, she said and added that women are facing it all from the front. It is unfortunate for the society that the leader of the state is forgetting all these, she added.

Instead of urging the Meira Paibi to lay their torches down, Memchoubi suggested the chief minister rethink his statement minutely considering the historical and legendary brave women of the state and their roles.

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