St. Joseph's Higher Secondary School, Sugnu Imbroglio

Lunthang *

Apropos the burning of St. Joseph's H/S School, it is a pitiful and frustrating that the Manipur Police Dept. is unable to solve the case till date and that the JAC are forced to resort to band. It is hard to digest that the entire Manipur police department does not have some honest and competent personals for the job. Perhaps, this is the outcome of our questionable police recruitment process.

Technically speaking, a few round of interrogations, GPRs, voices and messages of phone records of both the parties should have been enough to solve the case. It also appears that our intelligence department too are not all that intelligence either. The inability to book the culprits can have a ramification effects on our society as it could encourage the nexus between establishments and hooligans.

It makes me wonder, whether burning of a school and the issue of Sugnu area is considered less important by the Manipur government?

Or, is it that the government is trying to turn this 'barbaric act' into a political issue and are waiting more unrest and chaos?

Or, Is it that the culprits are having nexus with some politicians and are enjoying protection from them?

These are the questions the public wants to be answered. Whatever the case may be, if the police department is helpless they should hand over the case to the CBI. We must keep in mind that one day or the other, ultimately truth, if not justice, will triumph. By then, it would be too late for the government to make amends.

The issues should not be dealt as a skirmish between the KSO and the SJHSS/JAC; it is the cries of the schools for protection against hooliganis, It is a case of the use of non-statutory authority by an organisation in a democratic and constitutional state.

It is a public cry for JUSTICE and a called for the LAWS of the LAND to prevail over social evils. It is not a case that can simply be settled by the minister or Kuki chiefs Association or Catholics or Protestant or ZSP or KSO or even the JAC.

It is a case of criminal offence and should only be settled with fair JUSTICE. PERIOD. It is simple as that ! Why complicate matter and worsen the situations?

CATCH the culprit and give a befitting punishment. That's it !

On the other hand, the immaturity of the KSO, Head quarter of not owning the moral responsibility when the circumstantial evidences such as threatening to burn down the school, closing the main gate before the fire (leaving aside their locally made authority) are all pointing toward them is also adding salt to the wound.

Even if the KSO Gunpi Block was acting without the Head quarter's consentit is still the Head quarter's obligation to own the moral responsibility of its subordinates. By trying to defend the indefensible criminal acts they are only losing characters and faces.

One cannot burn down somebody's house, let alone a school and then expect to walk scot free. This is not done in a civilised world.

The KSO also messed up their opportunity to save the organisation's face when they had asked the involment of the politicians and Kuki chiefs to defend the crime. I considered this as a misused of the Kuki customs and traditions. I have not known a kuki law that protects a criminal from being fined or punished.

But, I know of Kuki laws that gives fair justice. Unless Laws and traditions are able to inculcate in a person values and principles that are strong enough to STAND for TRUTH and JUSTICE and are ready to face the consequences of their actions our society will never be free of men who are foolish enough to burn down his/her own children's alma mater.

Also, it is a very dangerous move to use Christianity to protect criminals. Christianity Forgiveness should never be misused to belittle the Constitutional duties and rights. Instead, a true Christian should respect and allow the Law of the land to prevail.

For, the Lord Jesus himself never ran away from the Roman Laws though He was innocent. If the Kuki laws and Christian beliefs are making our children mindless and wild they should be immediately discarded off, once and for all, for the sake of our civilisation.

The suspects trying to confuse the people by bringing in some cheap politics like 'ZSP against KSO' 'Protestants vs the Catholics' 'Non Kuki priests' are nothing but signs of short sightedness, devilish, divisive and selfish mind-set and poor leaderships.

Good leaders should try to unite the people and spread love where there is hatred. If they are innocent as they are claiming to be, it is possible that they trying to protect someone/some people at the expense of their families, friends and the society.

This again is a self-centre attitude which does not deserve sympathy. A man of character should always try to put his family before anything else no matter what.

A leader of integrity, dignity and principle should be willing to sacrifice his freedom for the peaceful existence of his people. If they are claiming to stand for the Kuki students now is the best opportunity to prove it by surrendering themselves to the police so that the school building is restore to its glory and t enable the students, parents and staff of SJSS , majority of whom are from kuki communities resume their academic chores.

The sooner the case is solved and the culprits are given befitting punishment the better we shall all be. The people around the country are now starting to ridicule the inefficiency of our police department, justice system, governance and insensitivity towards each other.

Also, disturbance of educational set up is never a healthy sign of and for a society. I, therefore, appeal the absconding leaders to be courageous and brave enough to give themselves in for a fair trial or reveal the names of the culprits are indeed innocent.

If they stand for the TRUTH the public will stand by you. Please save harmonious and peace loving people of Sugnu from this unnecessary predicaments we are into..

* Lunthang wrote this article for Imphal Times
The writer is a Research Scholar (Astrophysics) ADBU and an alumni of St. Joseph's H/S School, Sugnu.
He can be contacted at plunthang(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on May 05, 2019.

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