In a move that has stirred controversy, the Kangleipak Kanba Lup (KKL), a social voluntary organisation from Manipur, has imposed a three-year ban on acclaimed Manipuri actress Soma Laishram. The ban prohibits her from participating in film projects and attending social functions. The decision comes following Soma Laishram’s participation as the showstopper at a beauty pageant during the North East Students’ Festival held at Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi on September 16, 2023.
In a sternly worded statement released on September 18, 2023, the KKL expressed its dismay over the actress’s involvement in the beauty pageant despite their general appeal discouraging such celebrations amidst the ongoing crisis in Manipur. The organization claimed to have personally advised Soma Laishram against participating in such events “while Manipur is still burning, and the bodies of fellow Meiteis are still left to rot for months.”
Furthermore, the KKL revealed that they had reached out to both the Film Forum Manipur and the Film Actors Guild Manipur, urging them to dissuade the actress from joining the beauty pageant. Despite these appeals, Soma Laishram chose to defy the requests, according to the organization, which accused her of showing “total disrespect to the Meiteis who have died and continue to die, disregarding the thousands of people rendered homeless, and over a thousand houses burnt.”
KKL emphasized that Manipur, with its rich history spanning over 2000 years, is currently facing a critical juncture, and Soma Laishram’s participation in festivities that portray the state as normal is considered a grave offense that cannot be forgiven.
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The ban on Soma Laishram also comes with a warning to individuals or groups that may involve her in their ventures, indicating that they will bear the consequences of their actions. KKL has called upon other civil society groups and Meira Paibis to stand behind their decision.
In response to the ban, there has been an outpouring of support for Soma Laishram on social media, with many using the hashtag #istandwithsomalaishram to express solidarity with the actress.
Laishram has been vocal about the crisis in Manipur in her social media accounts, in her last tweet on September 14, 2023, she shared a news report by the Quint with the hashtag #Kukiwarcrime
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