43 days on, no sign of end of economic blockade
Source: The Sangai Express / Newmai News Network
Imphal, September 11 2011:
Forty-two days on and there is still no solution in sight to the Sadar Hills issue.
The demand for a full fledged district was foist on the State Government of Manipur as rightful and justified.
But the inept handling of the Government has complicated the issue beyond easy repair.
While the Sadar Hills Districthood Demand Committee (SHDDC) is looking to intensify its agitation after a brief breather following the lifting of general strike from across the administrative area of Sadar Hills, the Government is in no mood to relent just as yet.
Even as both sides are locked in a perpetual impasse, it does no good to the people of the State that is seething with frustration over unavailability of essential commodities.
SHDDC started its agitation on midnight of July 31 and since recorded a series of unbroken agitations which has turned violent.
The twists and turns over the issue that followed since has complicated the issue which is now caught in political wrangling.
Several meetings between both the Government and the demand committee and between civil society organizations have only complicated the issue.
Just as the State Government was tinkering over the issue, the United Naga Council (UNC), the apex Naga body, began opposing the demand on the ground that the proposed district does not have the confidence of the Nagas and that it was an attempt at dividing and grabbing Nagas' land.
As a counter measure, the Nagas under the aegis of UNC imposed counter-agitation.
With strong opposition coming from the Naga organisations, the State Government completely shelved the district demand in a cold storage and came up with an alternative which is considered adding fuel to the fire.
In a quick sweep of shorts, the State Government instituted a committee on reorganization of administrative and police boundaries.
Chief Minister Okram Ibobi and his Cabinet thought it could buy them more time before election frenzy and code of conduct kick in.
But SHDDC saw though the "ploy".
The move by the Government is also considered by the often smug public as a self defeating enterprise and gave more currency to the district demand even as civil society led by United Committee Manipur (UCM) began rallying behind the movement.
However, the ganging up of civil society organizations (CSOs) against the indifferent State Government could not be sustained for too long as the common men that represent the civil society continue to be burdened by abnormal price rise of all essential commodities.
The accusation of "inept" handling of the issue by the government came through when the chief minister went on a foreign tour without regard to the situation at home.
Local newspapers editorialized his absence during the trying time, some even likening him to king Nero and quen Antoinette.
With this development, the common men on the street is waiting for the issue to be settled one way or the other.
The common men hardly care who win or who lose; it is the resumption of normalcy that they yearn for.
Ominously though, a handful of district demands are waiting for the right moment to sound out the alert.
It is only natural that the people will look to the government, even if "inept", to resolve the demands before it all get out of hand.
Will the government be skilled at handling the issue? After all, the current impasse has taught them precious lessons! .