Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Wednesday urged women to take part in politics and influence positive changes in the system while acknowledging the fact that their involvement in panchayat-level affairs has increased over the years. The BJP government in the state is committed to working for the empowerment of women, the chief minister asserted.
“Time has come for women to engage in politics beyond the panchayat level. Ever since the BJP-led government came to power, around 1.5 years ago, it has been working relentlessly to check crimes against women,” Singh said at a memorial here on the occasion of Nupi Lan Day.
Nupi Lan Day is observed annually in memory of women who opposed the oppressive colonial policies in 1904 and 1939. The Britishers had forced Manipuri men to work as bonded labourers. In retaliation, a group of Meitei women torched bungalows of British officers during the first uprising.
A similar protest in 1939 saw womenfolk demanding an immediate end to rice export from Manipur as the state was experiencing a near-famine situation.
“History speaks volumes about the spirit and courage of Manipuri women. However, paying tributes and organising functions is not the objective, we need to take inspiration from their deeds in our everyday life,” Singh said.
The present government does not pay “lip services”, it focusses on implementing schemes and policies for women’s empowerment, he said.
“A special fast-track court was established last year and 12 persons have been convicted for various crimes committed against women,” Singh maintained.
Talking about his government’s initiatives, the CM said the number of women personnel in the police force has increased since his party came to power, with some of them occupying ranks of superintendent of police and commanding officer of Manipur Rifles.
“We wish to provide a platform where women police officers can prove their mettle and work in tandem with their male counterparts,” he said, adding that the government has also made provisions to ensure that girls get a proper education in schools.
Top government officials on Wednesday paid floral tributes to the ‘Meira Paibis’ (women torch bearers) at the memorial. Artistes also performed a play reconstructing the events of 1904 and 1939.
Deputy Chief Minister Y Joykumar Singh, who was present at the programme, said if efforts made by women to “cleanse the society” is supported by men, the multi-ethnic state can take giant leaps towards development.