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In a move of solidarity, Assam's Meitei Community cancels Ningol Chakouba celebrations

In solidarity with the Manipur victims, the Meitei community in Assam will not be celebrating Ningol Chakouba, one of their most important festivals, this year.

Senior Meitei community members in Assam claimed that this year's celebration will not be observed by their community in Bangladesh, Manipur, Mizoram, or Assam for the same reason.

According to Seram Herajit, chief advisor of the Manipuri Youth Front of Assam (MAYFA), this will be the first time that they will not celebrate Ningol Chakouba.

"We celebrate the role that women play in our lives during this festival, but our sisters in Manipur have been suffering for the past seven months. They are living in shelter homes, experiencing attacks, and losing family members. We have requested every Meitei individual in Assam to stay away from Ningal Chakouba because we cannot ignore Manipur," Herajit stated on Wednesday.

He mentioned that the celebration of Ningal Chakouba, which falls on the second lunar day of the Hiyangei month in the Manipur calendar, is centered around the idea of fortifying the love between married ladies (Ningol) and their father's family.

Married ladies are called to their parents' house for a feast (Chakouba) during this holiday, according to Reena Singh, chairperson of the Manipuri Development Council in Assam.

The men in the family plan everything and purchase presents for the women (daughters and sisters).

According to Reena, this is one of the community's oldest celebrations, and the women look forward to this day all year long.

"At this festival, we get the opportunity to spend lovely times at our parents' house, but we are not happy this year. We cannot physically stand with our sisters who are being abused in Manipur, but we still support them," she said.

For the same reason, according to Reena, the majority of Meitei families in Assam skipped Diwali celebrations this year.

She said, “We prayed and lit diyas for our Manipuri sisters and brothers. We didn't even use any different lights at home, nor did we prepare any special meals. We are hoping that Manipur's dark era will soon come to an end so that we can celebrate festivals."

Kamalakanta Singha, a social activist and advisor to the All Assam Manipuri Students' Union (AAMSU), stated that Meiteis in Assam and other Northeastern states are doing the same.

“It is regrettable that we do not commemorate the historical accounts of Ningol Chakouba. However, it is tragic what our sisters in Manipur are going through,” he said.

Singha claimed that the majority of the more than 3 lakh Meitei residents of Assam participate in this annual celebration.

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