TODAY -

The internal divide and external threats
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: April 21 2016 -



Currently a series of public meetings are being held at district level at different places across Manipur Valley.

According to the organisers and the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS), the meetings are aimed at sprucing the masses for another round of agitation.

At the moment, JCILPS has its attention on migrant workers if their verification drives at different construction sites are any indication.

The campaign against migrant workers practically hinges on the Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act 1979 which necessitates all migrant workers to register themselves and obtain licences from the Stateís Labour Department.

JCILPS volunteers found that majority of the migrant workers engaged in different projects and construction works do not possess licences and many of them even do not possess valid identity proof documents.

This is where the Stateís failure in terms of enforcing law and regulations becomes uncannily stark and glaring.

It was reported several times that defaulting migrant workers were pulled up and handed over to police.

But apparently nobody cares what follows after the defaulting migrant workers were handed over to police.

Were they sent back to their home States? Were they given licences?

Did police help them register with the Labour Department?

These are some questions which have been left unanswered on the trail of the campaign against defaulting migrant workers.

If we are not mistaken, verification of migrant labourers is just one aspect of a much larger political movement.

As indicated by the peopleís frenzied struggle for enactment of a constitutional safeguard for protection of indigenous people, an all pervading sense of insecurity runs deep among the common masses, at least among the valley dwellers.

Even if one takes the series of meetings as a sensitization campaign, one cannot miss the fact that the meetings are confined only in the valley areas so far.

If the meetings are any preludes to a larger political movement for protection of all the indigenous people of the land from the onslaught of incessant influx from outside the State through a constitutional mechanism, the movement should be comprehensive and all the people living in the hill districts should also be taken into confidence.

We need to learn a lesson or two from the fiasco of August 31, 2015.

The euphoria which erupted over the passage of the three Bills was cut short and overshadowed by the stiff resistance and subsequent death of nine people in Churachandpur.

Even if a consensus still remains elusive, no attempts should be spared to reach out and take all stake holders into confidence before any major political movement is launched, particularly if such a movement will have repercussions across all the communities of the State.

It would be sheer waste of time and energy pursuing any aspiration if the same aspiration turns out to be anathema to another group.

Given the ever growing chasm among different communities of the land, the very idea of Manipur and its indigenous people need a serious introspection.

Introspecting into the very idea of Manipur would demand critical analysis of the Kuki worldview, Naga worldview and the Meitei worldview.

All the contradictions and differences between these different worldviews must be addressed through negotiations, reconciliation and accommodation if there should be lasting peace within the geo-political entity called Manipur.

This task would not be easy but someone should take the initiative and all the stake holders should respond instead of reacting to such sincere initiatives.

We can start with exploring a common aspiration, be it political, economic or social.

To be frank, we donít think we can overcome the external threats until the internal divide is patched.



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