TODAY -

Focus on the man from New Delhi : Amit Shah in town
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: May 31, 2023 -



The focus is now on the man from New Delhi. He came late. Very late.

Violence, killings, arson, started on May 3 evening preceded by a rally disguised under the Ďagainst ST demand for Meiteisí slogan and by the time Union Home Minister Amit Shah finally landed at BT Airport in the night of May 29, the clash had killed at least 80 people from either side.

Numerous houses and private vehicles have been reduced to ashes.

Relief camp as a term has entered the lexicon of everyone, ranging from the very young tots to the elderly people, which means thousands more have been displaced.

Time was when safe evacuation of stranded people from Imphal, Churachandpur, Kangpokpi and Moreh was hot news and this is how the story of the ethnic clash has panned out since May 3.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues to be silent and right from the moment the first house was set on fire and mobs ruled the streets and roads of Imphal, Chura-chandpur, Kangpokpi and Moreh, the man who Manipur has been reaching out and keeping in touch with has been the Union Home Minister.

And he is here now. No magic chant, a la abracadabra expected, for the people here are seasoned enough to look at the realistic side of life but what steps can be expected to put the wheels of Manipur on the path of recovery ?

Imphal, Churachandpur, Kangpokpi and Moreh will have completely different and even contradictory version of the clash and the same must have been submitted to the Union Home Minister and it is here that stress must be laid on what Manipur needs now is not a half baked remedial process, but a decision that is guided by the truth and the reality.

A Meitei-Kuki clash, this is the term that has gained currency and while this may have been so on May 3 and in the next two or three or even seven days, today it is more about a clash between the indigenous Meiteis and well armed mercenaries from Myanmar, who share a close tie with the Kuki-Chin group of people in Manipur.

This should explain the bullets that have come pouring down at Meitei villages situated at the foothills from the hill side.

It is against this reality that Union Home Minister Amit Shah landed here and to be sure there will be different and contrasting takes on this reality and what Imphal has had to say must be in stark contrast to what Churachandpur has had to say.

Next in line will be Kangpokpi and Moreh and the same script dished out by Churachandpur will follow and central to all the three versions will obviously be the demand for a separate administration call made to be raised by the 10 Kuki-Chin MLAs.

Note the italicised words and thereby hangs a tale, and this is something which would not have escaped the keen eyes and ears of a man like Amit Shah.

Autonomy, separate administration, these are all terms that have been bandied about with gay abandon by those placed to raise their voice and there is no ground to accept this.

It will sound appealing, having its own attractive ring to those who are bent on challenging the existence of Manipur as a geo-political reality, but certain facts have to be taken into consideration.

Will the Nagas, the other indigenous group of people, which have so far maintained a neutral stand, accept to any move to take Kangpokpi district under the separate administrative set up of the Kuki-Chin group as envisaged by the MLAs and their instigators ?

Remember the marathonesque blockade imposed by the United Naga Council when Kangpokpi was bifurcated from Senapati district and upgraded to the level of a full fledged district in 2016 and which dragged on till after the Assembly election of 2017.

This point would not have flown over the mind of New Delhi.

And also note that the tripartite talk on the creation of Kangpokpi district involving the Centre, UNC and the Government of Manipur is yet to be settled.

The call or demand for a separate administration is not only mischievous but also dangerous, having the distinct potential take the ongoing clash to a more dangerous plane.



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