TODAY -

Facing the heat in the valley and the hills : Unenviable position
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: September 24 2015 -



Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown and clearly Chief Minister O Ibobi must be feeling the heat from all directions.

From the valley to the hills and the State Government has certainly given a new definition to the understanding of crisscrossing across the vale and hills of Manipur.

From Manipur Regulation of Visitors, Tenants and Migrant Workers Bill to Protection of Manipur Peoplesí Bill, Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (Seventh Amendment) Bill and Manipur Shops and Establishments (2nd Amendment) Bill, the land, the people and certainly the State Government have come a long way.

A long way, it certainly is, but there is nothing to suggest that it is a forward move. On the other hand it is more like moving in a vicious circle.

The valley witnessed months of street protests and the death of a young student and it was all due to the fact that the Manipur Regulation of Visitors, Tenants and Migrant Workers Bill that was passed in the Assembly failed to satisfy the people who have been demanding a legislation to check the large scale incursion of non-local people into the territory of the State.

Tough to say if the Government did see merit in the large scale protests here or whether it was due to the conviction that a more comprehensive Bill was needed to keep the demography of the State under check but as things have unfolded, three other Bills were passed on August 31 and what happened after that is there for all to see.

A case of jumping from the frying pan into the fire. With the Centre deputing a Secretary level officer to look into the matter amid the call for a separate administrative arrangement for the tribals of the State, the heat must surely be intense on the Chief Minister and the State Government.

This is certainly not the time to say who was in the right and who was in the wrong. On the contrary this is the time for all to acknowledge that the divide between the tribals and the majority community, the Meiteis is deep.

How such a situation came about is something which should have been studied sincerely a long time back.

By all accounts the present dispensation seems to have failed to study this sincerely with the intent that is needed. First acknowledge that there is indeed a deep divide.

It is only when this point is acknowledged can the people hope to start taking up steps to mend the divide and see how it can be bridged.

As the Chief Minister of Manipur for the third consecutive term, it is only expected that the Chief Minister takes the lead.

No sense in pointing fingers at each other.

Clearly the task before the Chief Minister and his men is tough and it will take more than talks and lung power to come anywhere near understanding the issues which have divided the people.

As the leader of the people, it is only expected of the Chief Minister to start seriously working towards how to bridge the huge chasm that has emerged.

Not a comfortable position to be in and clearly the Chief Minister is feeling the heat from the valley and the hills in quick succession.



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