Two candidates share viewpoints on Manipur crisis; four don't take part
"State failure forced youngsters to take up arms"
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, April 06 2024: Two candidates of the Inner Manipur Parliamentary Constituency shared their view-points on how to bring a lasting solution to the Manipur crisis without compro- mising the State's integrity.

A programme christened 'Know Your Candidate' was held today at Classic Grande, Chingmeirong under the aegis of the International Meitei Forum.

INDIA Bloc's Dr Angomcha Bimol Akoijam and Independent candidate retired Col H Sarat took part in the programme.

Independent candidate RK Kaiku alias Somendro too turned up at the event but he left soon after the programme started citing certain unavoidable circumstances.

BJP candidate Th Basantakumar, RPI (Athawale) candidate Thou-naojam Maheshwar and Independent candidate M Totomsana Nongshaba did not come to the event.

Two candidates share viewpoints on Manipur crisis; four don't take part
Two candidates share viewpoints on Manipur crisis; four don't take part

Many senior citizens and political analysts too attended the programme.

Dr Angomcha Bimol Akoijam underscored the importance of analysing the genesis of the crisis.

Even though self-rule is guaranteed by the Constitution, the Government of Manipur was not able to exercise this right/authority properly for a prolonged period, thinking about what New Delhi would say and this is one of the reasons for the fragmentation seen today in the State, Dr Bimol said.

He said that New Delhi cannot see the people of Manipur as citizens of the country.

Meiteis/Meeteis now feel insecure and this insecurity has been fuelling the demand for ST status.

At this point, it is essential for every one to understand that the particular demand is devoid of any intention to grab tribal land, Dr Bimol said.

Meitei/Meetei forms the backbone of Manipur.

There cannot be other body parts without the backbone and the backbone cannot exist alone without other body parts, he said.

If some people are wishing death of Meitei people, they will die first.

Before Meitei community perishes, other smaller communities will die first.

This must be understood by one and all including the Government of India, he asserted.

Instead of seeing the communities who have been living together as enemies, it is essential to initiate a dialogue process and talk out the differences and also the points of agreement, he said.

Dr Bimol said that Mani-pur will not exist without Meiteis and Meiteis will never be able to live peacefully without a clear idea of Manipur.

For all these reasons, working out a lasting solution is of paramount importance, he added.

Until and unless the tens of thousands of compatriots who have been living a wretched life in relief camps can return to their homes and original places and lead a life of dignity, one can never claim that the crisis has been resolved, said the INC candidate backed by the INDIA Bloc.

Digital records of all the brothers and youngsters who took up arms would have been already collected and the authorities would take up action against them but they were forced to take up arms because of the Government's abject failure, Dr Bimol said.

"Our brothers and sons would have never taken up arms had police and paramilitary forces protected citizens and their villages.

I would highlight this fact both inside the Parliament and outside if I am elected", he said.

He went on to ask if the incumbent Government is able to protect those people who are under a peace process when they are arrested by security forces.

The incumbent Government is not totally inactive.

It has been working to preserve forests and curb the drug menace but it is questionable how sincere they are and how effective are their activities, he said.

Although the BJP Government has been saying that they oppose the Suspension of Operation (SoO) agreement, the total number of groups under SoO has risen from 15/16 at the time of signing the agreement to 25 today, he continued.

Pointing out that the SoO agreement has not been extended, Dr Bimol asked whether the agreement is still effective or any action has been initiated against the militant groups.

Of the 1528 cases of extrajudicial killings, the case registered first took place in 1979 when Janata Party was in power.

The total figure is a cumulation of the cases which took place since 1979 even though some people have been claiming that all these cases took place during the time of Congress Governments, he said.

There were Samata Party and MPP Governments in between, he continued.

Although 39 cases were selected for trial at Court, the Government of India has been refusing to give prosecution sanction against the military personnel involved in these cases.

It is the BJP Government which has been denying the prosecution sanction, said the INC candidate.

H Sarat said that the present crisis is a cumulative effect of years of failures and blunders.

The first step to resolve the crisis is formation of a united apex body involving all stakeholders.

In addition, SoO agreement must be abrogated and Meitei/Meetei should be enlisted in the ST category, retired Col H Sarat asserted.

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