TODAY -

Dialogue is the way forward : Lt Gen (Retd) Himalay
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, December 24 2023: Delivering a refreshingly rare and positive comment on the violence besieging Manipur, retired Lieutenant General Dr Konsam Himalay has called for dialogue among the warring communities.

The retired Army officer said that a dialogue between Meeteis and Kukis is indispensable to de-escalate the situation and restore normalcy in the State.

Speaking to The Sangai Express exclusively, Dr Himalay continued that a collective effort of administrative mechanism, security forces, civil society organisations (CSOs) and media is needed for the dialogue to take place and possibly work out a solution.



Dialogue is the way forward : Lt Gen (Retd) Himalay
Dialogue is the way forward : Lt Gen (Retd) Himalay


He further said that the political leaders, security forces and those in the administrative sector must exercise full authority to subdue the hostility and gunfights between Meeteis and Kukis as well as the unlawful activities taking place along the highway stretches.

Maintaining that pressure must be mounted on the political leaders to begin the dialogue between the parties in conflict, Dr Himalay said that the responsibility to hold the dialogue must be fixed on political leaders and they must not be allowed to shirk their responsibility.

The dialogue must be held without any discreet agenda, he continued, stating that distrust among the warring communities will be cleared only when the leaders of the parties in conflict sit across the table and negotiate.

Saying that the majority of the people want the violence to end, Dr Himalay added that the Peace Committee formed to foster peace must be put into service.

The Government handing over the mortal remains of those killed in the violence to their respective families can be considered as a peace process, Dr Himalay opined.

Saying that Sugnu, despite being a pocket of mixed population, was peaceful for about 20 days after the violence broke out on May 3 due to the joint effort of political leadership and people of the area, the retired Army officer expressed desire for the Government to see whether resettlement can be done at places like Sugnu with the help of joint security forces and CSOs.

Before violence hit Sugnu at the fag end of May, the local MLA K Ranjit had formed a peace committee with members drawn from both the Meitei and Kuki community and violence did not touch the place in the initial days of the clashes.

A similar mechanism can be done at other places too if the resettlement at Sugnu turns out successful, he added.

Expressing desire for the Government to revisit the deployment strategy of Central forces in Manipur, Dr Himalay said that more responsibility must be given to the Army to bring the situation at sensitive areas under control.

He said that the relevant authorities can recommend strategy review of Central forces deployment in the State.

"I believe the Central leadership has been holding talk with Meetei and Kuki leaders after Union Home Minister visited Manipur at Delhi, Guwahati and other places but the talk so far hasn't produced any positive outcome," Dr Himalay said and added that the talk couldn't produce any solution due to different CSOs having different opinions and lack of respect among the CSOs of the two sides.

There are too many arms and ammunition with the people and as such they must be disarmed to end the gun culture and extortion, Dr Himalay said.


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