TODAY -

Agenda at work to shut Western Gate : Mayhem at Jiribam
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: June 10, 2024 -



Control the Western Gate and choke Imphal.

This is the line that one can read in the latest series of offensives launched by Kuki militants against the Meitei folks in Jiribam, the second lifeline of the landlocked State.

After successfully cutting off the Imphal-Dimapur line at Kangpokpi, the focus of the Kuki militants is now on Jiribam and the series of violence and arson did not come about overnight.

Minutely crafted and it was with a vision in sight that the offensives were launched at Jiribam in the last couple of days.

The agenda is simple. Take control of Jiribam, sever the supply route to Imphal and make Manipur crawl.

Along with the series of offensives launched by the Kuki militants, the actual meaning of criss crossing the State with buffer zones is beginning to sink in.

Buffer zones suggest a model much more than the understanding of lines drawn up where people from either side of the clash divide should not venture beyond, but also comes with the understanding of where the writ of the State Government ends and where the influence of the men hand picked by the Centre starts.

Read what has come in the possession of The Sangai Express to get a better grip of the points that are sought to be made here.

It was as early as January 15, 2024 that the Chief Minister’s Secretariat sent a missive addressed to the DGP, clearly stating, ‘It has been reported that about 200 armed Kuki-Zo militants have moved from Churachandpur and reached Phaitol village, Old and New Kaiphundai area of Tamenglong district bordering Jiribam district. In this regard the Director General of Police is requested to take all necessary security measures in order to prevent any untoward incident, as well as to respond to threats posed by the group, in view of the prevailing situation in the State.’

Nearly five months down the line and the question is what pre-emptive steps were taken up to meet the challenges likely to be posed by the well armed Kuki militants from Churachandpur ?

Another intimation followed from the Chief Minister’s Secretariat to the DGP on January 27, with a copy each to the Security Advisor, Chief Secretary and SP of Jiribam police, which said, ‘In view of incidents of gun fire reported in Jiribam on 31.12.2023, 01.01.2024 and also on 21.01.2024 and further considering reports of movement of armed miscreants from Churachandpur towards Vangai range bordering areas of Jiribam, Director General of Police is requested to take adequate measures to pre-empt spread of the current law and order situation to Jiribam district and to take up effective counter-measures including domination of strategic locations using Central forces/State forces. It may also be noted that ITLF is reportedly considering cutting off supply lines to Imphal valley via Jiribam.’

The question is, did the Security Advisor and the DGP take heed of the intimations from the Chief Minister’s office and accordingly take up pre-emptive steps or were the messages ignored, wilfully or otherwise ?

The answer is best left to the powers that be to consider, but consider it should in the backdrop of the fact that 72 houses belonging to the Meitei community were burnt down at Jiribam while rendering over 200 folks homeless.

Refugees in their own native land, this is the fate that has befallen many and this is the story of Jiribam as of now.

The story will not be complete without taking into account the calculated, cold blooded murder of 59 year old Soibam Saratkumar Singh on June 6, just a few days before Jiribam went up in flames.

Jiribam is perhaps the latest to be added in the list of mayhem, a case of the State totally failing to control the law and order situation and what makes it more unacceptable is the fact that the place went up in flames despite the warnings sounded earlier.

The Centre has to act decisively.

The Prime Minister continues with his silence and it was just some time back that Union Home Minister Amit Shah had announced that needed course of action would be taken up after the Lok Sabha elections and one wonders what type of action the Centre is likely to take up.

Will it be a case of keeping the people uncertain such as whether Chief Minister N Biren Singh is still heading the Unified Command structure or not or whether the buffer zones means creating two set of administrative arrangements ?

Moreover even after more than a year it is still not clear whether Article 355 has been enforced in the State or not.

Delhi needs to come out clean on many things.



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