TODAY -

Armed Conflict of Manipur

Jinine Lai *

An Insurgent Outfit from Manipur in 2009
An Insurgent Outfit from Manipur in 2009 :: Pix - TSE



Has New Delhi being the bigger stake holder of the conflict, shown meaningful and sincere response to the political armed organizations of Manipur? Does the situation demand a conducive atmosphere and Confidence Building Measures towards initiating productive dialogue? Why there fails CollaborativeApproach to enjoy the win-win experience?

New Delhi says Manipur is part India but political armed groups of the soil deny this status quo. Thus they are heading to different directions. It appears incompatible goals between New Delhi and armed groups causing conflict in the region. Though small, there have been combatant activities claiming one another because of the other side is.

Nowadays many may think the narrative about armed conflict of Manipur is becoming less relevant, for we are looking forward to violence free and economically well being direction. However, this is a usual fact that if roots not are not properly dealt the offshoots will sprout now and again.

It looks very visible that New Delhi has been waiting for some sort of natural death of the political armed movement to be happened sooner or later. However it is very likely that waiting games may not be fulfilled so wishfully, may be because of patriotic retention among Manipuri bloods, and seen, unseen forces of China and others.

Even the form of movement may migrate from armed struggle to democratic endeavor. Can’t Delhi mind the character of this people though small – introduced the game of Polo to the world, owns a script, power house of sports in south Asia and a good few professionals?

Armed groups may also be waiting for domestic crumbling of India on her own in terms of splitting her territory into three or more or political paralysis triggered by Hindu fundamentalism, colossal corruption, indigent governance, corporate game, etc. (Although the recent Modi-wave is working at some extent so some changes are on the horizon in fixing Hindu nation.)

Root Causes:

The violence and tension have been seen in a landscape of Manipur where Hinduisation drew a thick and sticky backdrop, haunted by the controversial merger to India, militarization (and hill-valley dichotomy). They have imprinted their own roots in the socio-economic-political layout by displaying fractured justice, peace and human rights.

They are sources of fear and conflict for the communities in the region. They are the structural violence of Manipur that have deprived the rights of indigenous peoples in terms of safety, respect, participation, economy, identity and culture. Interestingly the former Home Secretary of India, JK Pillai hasalso acknowledged this kind of violence.

Again, the continuous acts of racism and violent incidents against North East people by the mainlanders have generated clamors. Definitely, the situation causes mixed contemplation on an alternatives, reconnecting the dim dots to visualize a differentNorth East layout in the Indian political map.

Too big is India to acknowledge fairly the torment of North Easterners and attend adequately the woes of the others. Have India already got galore of complicated haywire of system for their own in the mainland. The disability is too big to reset the legislation, executive and judiciary in places. Hence, realizing the fact of mammoth limitations of India, it will be a rational move for patriotic bloods to initiate something towards mitigation of reality bites from the mainland.

Internal Weaknesses:

Only blame the external forces, Government of India without addressing own weaknesses makes no sense at all. Armed groups need to check their internal weakness again and again. In the middle of the battle, a sick and weak soldier should not cry out to the enemy that what he is frailty now is because of the enemy.

The multiple weakness are open and seen over the period. Party first Manipur, second has been the popular modus operandi. Much non-issues put on the table and real issues leave aside. Party oriented andinfight way of operation among themselves have paralyzed the desired collective force.

Heard the voices from some quarters of the armed oppositions that wanted either to let the corruption remain uncheck or rather be cooperative to proliferate such practices to justify the real intention of Indian colonial governance. Under the so called system, the majority of the people are becoming badly corrupt, corrupt in almost every aspect. It has been evident mere a suicidal experiment. How far can fishes sustain themselves in toxic water?

Needs, Interests, Positions:

Theoretically, towards resolving the conflict we need to be omni-bias to identify – what are the Needs, Interests and Positions for the stake holders involved. To eat food is a need and eat it on table or floor or with finger or spoon is interest. People of Manipur in general is the principal stake holder in the conflict – so what are the needs for the people? Fundamental Human Rights for Individuals, Restoration of Sovereignty, New Political Layout of NE India, or all of these?

What about this example of Needs? When a good governance shows up; an indigenous mother works and earns decent income like other families across Manipur. Today she is visiting an old college friend who lives in a village bordering another hill state. So she comes out of her house to catch a late night public bus. Her teenage daughter is seeing her off as she wants long walk to maintain her healthy shape.

The girl would return home alone treading the clean sidewalks of the streets where well-lit lamps flanked. After a week mother returns home enjoying the trip through the highways and roads where no military, no gunmen, no bumpy ride, no dust experienced. She has seen her friend’s family enjoying organic harvest satisfactorily in the year there comes no rain, all the kids go to a government schools cleaner than temples and the sick people get adequate medical attention from the nearby health centre.

If we are able to enjoy the above condition under the status quo, will we continue protesting against New Delhi or will the restoration of sovereignty be able to deliver the same condition?

The Needs that people should entertain are usually – right to decent life, freedom that do no harms to others, protection of individual and community, the access to fair trial and political participation.

Necessity Evil

The 1000 strong men-New Delhi hurls their power over the 10 weak men-stake holders of Manipur often by ignoring the principle of universal human rights, international norms and undermining people’s aspirations. Delhi deal the complexity of the North East by playing communal card, divide and rule policy, they handle the situation with no serious and sincere response; confidence building measures are not taken into account, mere a bargaining oriented move to retain occupying position over.

On the other hand to counter the bargaining strategy,armed groups also use available means by hook or by crook. For them making noise with armed propaganda and violent response are becoming necessity evil. Thus the situation continues rattling in a cycle of violence.

To end necessity evil and resolve the armed conflict, New Delhi and state government are to be keen on meaningful response. Hope, new Chief Minister of Manipur, N. Biren feels the same and be sensitive enough to move this historical discourse towards a progressive direction.


* Jinine Lai wrote this article for Imphal Times
The writer is Asst. Professor, University of Suwon, S Korea
This article was posted on May 30, 2017.


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