February 17, 2018

Arson at Indian Library Causes ‘Incalculable Loss’

By LJ Staff

The Central Library in Inphal, the capital of the northeastern Indian state of Manipur, has suffered what historian Gangumei Kamei called ‘an incalculable loss.’ A group pushing for Mayek script to replace the state’s official Bengali script set the facility ablaze, destroying as many as 145,000 books, including some of the oldest and rarest texts. Officials say the protestors were a combination of members of the regional United Forum for Safeguarding Manipuri Script and Language and a separatist rebel group, the Kangleipak Communist Party. The BBC news quoted attorney Koteswar Singh as describing the arson as a ‘Taliban-style act.’ Officials say that for several months the groups have been demanding the government adopt the Mayek script and drop the Bengali used for the last 300 years to write the Meitei language. Some local newspapers have begun publishing editions in both languages.