Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh Credit: File image

Imphal: The Government of India has instructed the Manipur government to reconsider the proposed site for the construction of the Tribal Freedom Fighters’ Museum at Makhel village in Senapati district.

In a letter written to Chief Minister N Biren Singh on November 28, the Union Minister of Tribal Affairs Arjun Munda stated that the proposed site for the construction museum, with special reference to tribal woman freedom fighter Rani Gaidinliu may not be suitable for locating the museum.

Earlier, the Zeliangrong Civil Organisations (ZCOs) under the aegis of Zeliangrong Baudi, Assam, Manipur and Nagaland, Zeliangrong Youth Front and Zeliangrong Students’ Union had urged the Central government as well as the state government to construct the museum in Zeliangrong areas. They wanted the government to consider the contribution and selfless service rendered by Rani Gaidinliu, the only prominent tribal woman freedom fighter from Manipur.

Expressing his dismay over the delayed work, minister Munda said that due to manipulation, flouting guidelines and bureaucrats misleading the central government on the issue, the construction of the museum has been inordinate delayed. He added that it is an insult to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious programme, and also to the selfless contribution rendered by the renowned freedom fighter of India and Padmashree awardee Rani Gaidinliu.

The union minister further instructed to CM Biren Singh to intervene the matter and appreciate the popular sentiments of the tribal communities residing in the state on the location and name of the proposed museum.

The Zeliangrong Civil Organisations held press conference on Tuesday in Imphal

Also Read: NE’s 1st Tribal Freedom Fighters’ Museum to come up in Manipur

“The Ministry may not be in a position to extend its participation, including financial support in the event of the state government is unable to take an appropriate decision in the matter,” said the union minister.

It may be recalled that in September last year, a foundation stone was laid for the first tribal freedom fighter museum in the entire northeast states at Makhel village, bordering Nagaland, by former tribal affairs and hills minister N Kayisii. The project is said to be of over Rs 50 crore.

Speaking to media persons on Tuesday, Zeliangrong Baudi president Athuan Abonmai said that CM Biren Singh has assured that the state government will implement the project based on the guidelines and criteria of the ministry of tribal affairs.

We had a bitter experience in 2013 where the same museum was sanctioned for the state of Nagaland. However, after completion of the construction of the museum at Kohima and taking all the facilities, they started criticising and insulting to Rani Gaidinliu saying she is non-Christian, said Abonmai.

The episode has hurt the sentiments of the Zeliangrong community, and we don’t want to go through another similar experience, and we will not tolerate anymore, he added.

The Zelaingrong leader further appealed to the people of Manipur that no community should feel disheartened, and the library cum museum should be for the benefit of the people in the state.

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