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E-Pao! Opinions - The Hard Reality

The Hard Reality
By: Kh Sashi Singh



We often hear of atrocities from the Indian forces - rape, arresting on suspicion, indiscriminate firing and beating of civilians, involuntary displacements of arrested persons and so on. Different groups are protesting against these inhuman acts of the Indian troops sent here to preserve rule of law and peace and who ironically called "security forces". We all know for sure that where there is militancy, law-enforcing forces will be there but the situation is different here. If the Arm Special Power Act, 1958 gives the forces the authority to shoot, arrest and detain on suspicion, it clearly tells us that Manipur has been under martial law for the 2 decades - whether Indian government like to use the term "marshal law" or not. But the big question is, whether the human right violation in Manipur was ever an issue in the national politics, or in any credible media?' if not why?

The answers may be manifold, but one of the important answers is this non-justifiable acts of the Indian troop is being justified by the Indian government during the process of wrongful protests from us. Now it is high time to have a critical introspection and find out how we can protest in the right way. How we have been protesting?

Traditionally all groups in Manipur, intelligentsia or not, always try to build up the issues by stirring up people's emotions. We resort to public campaigns, rallies, and sit-in protests by using terms and songs, which have the most emotional tones possible through loud speakers on the roads. Instead of attempting to make people aware of the real issue, the groups always use rhetoric voices like "The exploited people", "Under Indian brutal colonialism", "The sisters and mothers raped on will", "step-motherly treat", "Indifference" and so on. But the fact is emotion-based campaigns do not last long that they fade away as soon as the height of the tempo is reached. Then how we can protest? We need to have minute and deep discussions on what the Indian government is doing and how we can respond.

Lets make the people aware, let's be objective. Shouting on the roads with emotional tones will not solve the problem - closed-door meetings will. As we are shouting and mobilizing people for momentary rallies and Sit-In protests, the Indian government always takes the opportunity to understand what we are against and what we are for. We always open the eyes of Indian administration, before our own people have the least idea of the issue. Our ad-hoc protests moved the Indian administration to prepare its own gun. So, when we have an appropriate forum to raise the issues, the Indian government always has an upper hand. For instances, when we talked of removal of Assam Rifles from Kangla at the parliament, the government answered, "Central Home minister has already assured that Kangla would be vacated". But the fact is such assurances had been given since Mr. Buta Singh was the Home Minister in 80s.

When we talked of Human Right violation, they said, "Human Right Commission has already been formed to look into such matters". But all this commission, which is like a bird without wings can do, is to give suggestions to the DGP. If we talk of Arm Forces Special Power Act, the Indian administration will say such and such "committees have been formed" to look into the matter. Why the Indian government always has such ready-made answers? Because we make them clever, we make them aware of what our next step will be - because we do more speak than done.

Now lets stop protesting in the way we have been doing - it has failed. Here, one may argue that if not protested, the brutal acts will continue, but the hard reality is even after all the protests, the brutality still continues. Now we need to re-mould our approaches. I agree that leaders of AMSU (just an example) have all charisma and ability to mobilize people for a good cause. But that does not necessarily mean that they have the ability to choke out a strategic-plan. To achieve an aim, there should be a clear cut and a feasible strategy. It is where roles of strategists come. If such a need were not there, there might not have been such terms as 'strategists', 'statesman', 'military leader' and so on. Otherwise a dozen of people would have done all sorts of things in all sorts of way without achieving anything but only inflicting the people as it is today in Manipur. A strategist will always think of how the objectives can be achieved at best and a politician will think of events and its consequences to the people. But, what has been observed is, leaders of most groups will take all the roles of a strategist, a leader, a mobiliser, an ideologue, a figurehead - all rolled into one and we see now what is happening in Manipur today - it is total chaos.

The same is also seen in the working of so called "nationalist groups" by themselves, "terrorists/ extremists" by the administration and "UGs/Undergrounds" by the people. These outfits also engage in all sorts of activities. To name a few; from "banning of jarda paan"; to "running family courts to judge sibling tussles or elopement of two girls by a boy"; to "improving education system"; to "dress codes to improve culture and traditions"; to "Deciding what movies a person should see" and so on and so forth. But the question is, do the groups have the manpower and capacity to look into all these issues? PWD is a big department in the government with all manpower, experts, fund, infrastructure and authority. Even this mammoth department alone cannot look into the development sector. Then, what these outfits of couple of persons with limited fund and no infrastructure can do at all? Let alone the intellectual capacity.

To the Ugs, psychologists, psychiatrists, de-addiction, rehabilitation, etc. are luxury and useless because the groups think that bullet is the only cure for drug addiction, rapists, corruptions, etc. In china, if Cultural Revolution preceded political revolution, it does not necessarily mean the same practice can be replicated here straight away. Manipur is not China and our UG leaders are not Mao Tse Tungs. We don't even know the names of these self-proclaimed leaders as they always use "Parihan" @ "Yaiphaba" @ "Iboton" @ "Jack" @ "Ramesh" till one get exhausted to read. So, instead of carrying out multiple activities by single person by using separate name for each activity, pull in different people having relevant capacity to take up specific issues. If the groups have wrong persons for a right issue, leave the issue for the time being as "Some knowledge is more harmful than no knowledge".

Few days back, one UG at his teens came to us and gave a speech on Geneva Convention. When a school dropped-out spoke of UN charters, we felt like laughing to end, but we had to remain attentive and seriously listening as he was holding a country-made 9 mm pistol - it was really a hard experience.

It may be advisable that the national groups concentrate only on military and political front to push forward their activities to achieve their basic objective. Besides, human right violations and the atrocities should not go on unabated. If we cannot stop it, we can improve the situation by pushing forward the issues at appropriate forums with strategic plans to catch our opponent unprepared. It is high time that we should take help from peoples of different capacities and expertise.


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