IMPHAL, Oct 18 (IANS): Manipur on Sunday organised mass celebrations across the state to show gratitude to the Centre for renaming the Andaman and Nicobar Islands’ ‘Mount Harriet’, where Manipur’s Maharaja Kulchandra Dhwaj Singh and 22 other freedom fighters were imprisoned, as ‘Mount Manipur’ in their honour.
Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh said that the government has urged the people of all villages in the state to organise mass candlelight celebrations to express gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah for renaming the ‘Mount Harriet National Park’ as ‘Mount Manipur National Park’ in memory of the freedom fighters of the state.
The chief minister also tweeted: “In a fitting tribute to Maharaja Kulachandra and other Manipuri freedom fighters imprisoned at Mount Harriet in Kalapani, home minister Amit Shah ji has renamed Mount Harriet as Mount Manipur. We’re immensely thankful to PM Narendra Modi Ji & Amit Shah Ji for such a great honour of our heroes.”
“Further HM Amit Shah Ji has also announced that the Central Govt will assist Manipur in establishing a memorial site at Mount Manipur in Andaman Nicobar Island. The process for signing lease agreement between Andaman Government and Manipur Government is under process,” Singh said in another tweet.
Union home minister while inaugurating 14 projects worth Rs 299 crore and laying foundation of 12 projects worth Rs 643 crore in Andaman and Nicobar Islands on Saturday said that Manipur had a significant contribution in resisting the British in the entire northeast region during the 1857 revolution and also in 1891.
“Manipur never gave up and the people there continued to fight. Manipur was the only state that had implemented its own constitution. Though Manipur was under British occupation for a long time, the freedom fighters of Manipur always fought the British tooth and nail in battle. Manipuri war hero Yuvraj Tikendrajit and General Thangal were publicly hanged at Fida in Imphal. The British thought that by hanging them, they had crushed the freedom movement, but it did not happen. After that Maharaja Kulchandra Dhwaja Singh and 22 freedom fighters were sent to Kala Pani and they were kept in Mount Harriet Island,” he said.
Shah said that in memory of Maharaja Kulchandra Dhwaja Singh and to honour his contribution, Mount Harriet is renamed as Mount Manipur. He said that the Manipur government also wants to build a memorial here and this memorial would inspire tourists, the youth and the younger generation across the country on how to fight with limited resources.
Mount Harriet, 55 km by road and 15 km by ferry and a short trek from Port Blair, used to be the summer headquarters of the chief commissioner during the British raj. Housing the highest peak in South Andaman (365 m), this place provides an ideal vantage point for the nearby islands and the sea. The park is spread over an area of 42.62 sq km and shelters diverse flora and fauna, including birds like Andaman treepie, Sunda teal, Nicobar megapode, Nicobar parakeet, Andaman black woodpecker, black-naped tern, etc. One can also find king cobra, green sea and Olive Ridley turtles, Andaman cobra, robber crab, saltwater crocodiles, turtles and wild pigs.
The complete area of the national park is spread over a cluster of hills on the eastern side of South Andaman. The park has been named after the wife of the superintendent of the Convict Settlement in Port Blair Colonel RC Tytier’s wife Harriet C Tytier from 1862 to 1864, who discovered it.