TODAY -

HAC recommended ADC Bill, 2021 : The stand off intensifies
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: August 06, 2022 -



The BJP led Government has been able to keep at bay the HAC recommended ADC Bill of 2021 for the time being but does it address the grievances highlighted by the All Tribal Students' Union, Manipur (ATSUM), which has gone ahead and intensified the bandh in the hill areas ?

The writing on the wall is clear - Call it any name, shutdown in the hills or emergency shutdown or hill bandh - it has all the potential to snowball into an economic blockade and this is where things can get out of hand if not tackled well in time.

As stated in an earlier commentary here, the State Government may have its own reason for not tabling the HAC recommended ADC Bill of 2021 on the floor of the Assembly but this is probably not the time for the BJP led Government here at Imphal to keep the reason to itself.

In the Naga People's Front it has a partner in Government and in the Kuki People's Alliance, it has a party which is backing the Government. This is perhaps the time for the BJP led Government to reach out to its partners to talk things over with ATSUM.

The student body too should come to the point that in protesting against the failure of the Government to act on what it thinks is its right, the common people are not put to any inconvenience.

The politics of blockade and this is what is worrying.

Equally worrying too is the tendency to identify the Government of Manipur with a particular community and such a line of thinking goes back to the days when Manipur was under the Congress.

It was during those days that the Government at Imphal was unceremoniously tagged the 'communal Government of Manipur,' by none less than the United Naga Council and economic blockade was its chief weapon against the State Government.

It is more or less the same line of thinking which seems to have guided the ATSUM in its course of action and this is what is extremely disturbing.

As stated earlier, the student body must have reasons to feel wronged by the refusal of the Government to table the HAC recommended ADC Bill of 2021 but a shutdown which is primarily aimed at shutting down the lifelines of the State obviously rings out the message that its course of action will come down hard on the common people.

It is this 'highway politics' that should be addressed to on a priority basis. A point which should be taken note of by the State Government.

Shutdown of the hill districts or shutdown of the National Highways ?

Or is it going to be a case of, if the hill districts are shut down the National Highways too would be naturally shut down ?

Either way, it is the people of Imphal and the other districts in the valley area which will bear the brunt of the shutdown and this is where it becomes important for ATSUM to question itself whether its stir against the Government amounts to targeting one section of the people or not.

As a responsible student body, it is time to move away from the tendency to identify the Government at Imphal with one community for such a mindset does nothing except add to the complexity of the issue at hand.

The Government too should explore ways and means to reach out to the student body and see how things can be settled across the negotiating table.

For too long Manipur has been at the receiving end of the land and its Government being identified with a single community and while such a politics of divide may have served some immediate ends of different organisations concerned, it will be to the loss of everyone in the long run.

Here it also becomes important for the Government to see if more substance can be added to its slogan of Go to Hills and Hill Leaders Day.

The issues are certainly complex, and this is where it becomes important for all concerned to ensure that things do not blow out of proportion.

ATSUM is protesting against the perceived 'indifference' of the Government and let its protest remain that way without impacting on the civilians who happen to settle at Imphal or other valley districts.



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