TODAY -

Only the unfortunate get caught? Call for NRC, PC
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: August 12, 2022 -



A case of if one is caught sneaking in then one can be arrested for 'illegal entry' or if one is lucky enough to not get caught, then merge with the local populace and over the years become one of the local folks?

This is a question which the State Government should mull over with sensitivity and one should try to understand the recent statement of the Chief Minister himself that no new settlement with less than 50 households would be granted Government recognition.

Not granting recognition could mean that such a settlement would be declared an invalid group of people who have come together, settled down at a place and over the years become a full fledged, legal settlement.

And everyone knows that there are villages with just 8/9/10 households, but complete with a khullakpa or village chief, a place of worship, most notably a Church and the interesting question is how do so many such villages crop up?

The Chief Minister is obviously under the impression that sounding out the stand that the Government would not grant recognition to such settlement could mean that such settlement may be declared an illegal settlement and there are many ways to look at it.

The five Myanmarese held at Churachandpur on August 9 could just be the tip of the iceberg and earlier there was yet another report of quite a large number of Myanmarese National being hauled up while taking shelter, again at Churachandpur.

These are the few who have been detected but how about the possibility of others not being detected, but who have managed to merge with the local people?

This is one point the Government should mull over sincerely and the merit behind the call of the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System and the call for setting up a Population Commission as well as working out a National Register of Citizens should be seen in the correct perspective.

It is not any witch hunt but steps taken up to protect the scarce resources of the genuine inhabitants of Manipur. This much should be acknowledged.

This is where the report that five Myanmarese Nationals have been hauled up at Churachandpur becomes disturbingly significant.

The five have been detected and hauled up, but can one overlook the disturbing possibility that there could be many others who could have missed the eye of the authority concerned?

This question is not a poser raised by any doubting Thomases, but is an expression of genuine concern over the demography of the land and the different claims over its scarce resources, particularly its land.

Distorting history to justify one's claim over a piece of land or territory is not new in Manipur and the primary factor for such a 'trend' could be the competing forces over land and other resources.

This is a fact that cannot and should not be swept under the carpet.

Myanmar is still in trouble and there is no indication that the military junta will go soft on the crackdown launched on the pro-democracy forces there and in such a reality, it is but natural for the people to flock to safer sanctuaries.

Manipur being at the border, perhaps offers just the right place for the fleeing folks to head to and this is where the earlier call of The Sangai Express to open up refugee camps stands on firm ground.

To repeat a point, the Government of Mizoram has already opened up refugee camps and there is a lesson to be learnt here.

Since closing the door on the refugees is not an option, given that many people of Myanmar share filial ties with some communities here, the next best option would be for the Government here to open refugee camps, for such an arrangement would enable the State Government to monitor the movement of the people from across the border.

This is practical and humane too.



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