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Muted Independence Day celebrations in Manipur

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IMPHAL, Aug 16 (PTI): It was a muted Independence Day
celebrations in Manipur on Tuesday because of the dawn-to-
dusk general strike called by multiple militant outfits and the
loss of lives and property of hundreds of people over the last
three months in the ethnic strife.
Across rural areas of the state and in major parts of capital
Imphal, shops and markets remained closed and streets wore
an almost deserted look due to the general strike.
Responding to an official order, government employees in both
the hill and valley districts reached their respective offices to
take part in the flag hoisting ceremonies.
"I reached office around 8.30 am and took part in the flag
hoisting ceremony. Most of my colleagues were there. The
function was followed by a small get-together where we all
discussed the current situation," said Robin Laishram, a
government employee.

Sunita Devi, who will be retiring later this year, was the first to
reach her office to take part in the Independence Day
celebrations.
”This is my last year in office. After that, I will go to Delhi and
stay with my son. Before the ethnic strife broke out, I thought
of arranging an elaborate party for my office colleagues on
Independence Day. But I had to skip all my plans as there is
hardly anything to celebrate,” she told PTI.

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While state and district level functions were held in a grand
manner with distribution of prizes and certificates, playing of
the national anthem and performance by cultural troupes,
celebrations at the local level were very limited with most
people preferring to remain indoors.
Local businessman Sarat Th said, ”There has been heavy losses
to life and property over the last three months and therefore
there’s no mood for celebrations. My brother-in-law, whose
house was burnt in Moreh, is in a relief camp in Imphal East
district. We have cooked some special items for his family and
will be going there to deliver it. That will be our celebration for
the day.”
For the last two days, the state has been making arrangements
for Independence Day celebrations across the state capital.
Across the city, national flags were put up along the main roads
and important buildings.

Some people also took part in the Centre’s Har Ghar Tiranga
campaign and put flags on their residences.

Kuki-Zo village volunteers in Churachandpur district also
celebrated the 77th Independence Day, officials said, adding
the Tricolours were also fluttering along the national highway in
Kangpokpi town.
In his Independence Day address, Prime Minister Narendra
Modi said for the past few days reports of peace have been
coming from Manipur regularly and the Centre and the state
government were making every effort to find a solution to the
problems there.
"The nation is with the people of Manipur. The country should
take forward the peace process which has been set in motion
by the people of Manipur for the past few days. Only peace can
lead to a solution," the prime minister said.
In his customary Independence Day speech, chief minister N
Biren Singh said certain misunderstandings, actions of vested
interests and foreign plot to destabilise the country led to the
loss of precious lives.
He urged all to stop the violence and bring back the rapid
progress the state had witnessed earlier.

”Certain misunderstandings, actions of vested interests and
foreign plot to de-stabilise the country has led to loss of
precious lives and properties and many are living in relief
camps,” the CM said after hoisting the national flag at the 1st
Manipur Rifles parade ground here.
The government is working consistently to bring back normalcy
and the affected people will be resettled soon, Singh said.

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