TODAY -

Already 25 days into 2024 : The silence continues
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: January 26, 2024 -



The first 25 days of 2024 have been no different from the last 8 months of 2023.

This is the reality but can one hope to see something different in the remaining months of 2024 ?

Equally important and significant to Manipur would be, how long will Prime Minister Narendra Modi continue with his silence ?

Or will the Prime Minister ever take a stand and come out with a formula which may be acceptable to people on either side of the clash divide ?

Or has the State Government worked out any formula on its own which can be presented to New Delhi to act upon ?

Only questions at the moment and no one will have any answer to this, but as stated in an earlier commentary here, Manipur cannot afford to continue like this and there are some steps which need to be taken up.

And all steps taken up should ensure the interests of Manipur and her people. This is the bottomline.

To take the first step towards this, it is then imperative to demonstrate that there is a Government in place here at Imphal.

It is only when the Government fails to dispense with its duties that power centres of different hues and colours will emerge and this is what Manipur has been witnessing and experiencing for long.

Can Manipur afford to continue with this ?

The answer should come from Imphal and Delhi, but with a Prime Minister who has preferred to keep mum, a silence bordering on indifference, no one knows how long such a situation will continue.

On the other hand, it stands that the longer the state of unrest, the longer the muscle flexing exercise continues, the longer people’s dissatisfaction with the conduct of the State Government continues, Manipur stands to lose.

Such a situation can only add more muscle and teeth to the machinations of those who have openly challenged the very idea of Manipur.

A point which Manipur can ignore only to her own peril.

The substance and truism of this observation should be clear when viewed against the slogan ‘Peace later, solution first,’ a slogan coined and used to deadly effect by the Committee on Tribal Unity and Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum.

From this very slogan it should also be clear to Delhi who stands to gain from prolonging the state of unrest and the spate of violence which keep on erupting now and then at the convenience of one side of the party in conflict. Moreh is a case that comes to mind here.

No easy way forward and it has been like this since the evening of May 3, 2023.

More than eight months now, and this is precisely the reason why Manipur and the State Government need to stay strong and not dilute the understanding of a Government by playing to the gallery.

It should also be clear to all that the world is watching.

Manipur was caught napping in the early days of the clash and this is the reason why the false narratives were peddled so successfully.

It is armed with the knowledge of this reality that Manipur should proceed with any step to deal with the crisis.

Certain demands have been laid down and this is where the Government will need to work out and see which of the demands Delhi can meet sooner and which may come later.

Delisting illegal immigrants from the ST list of the Scheduled Tribe list of India will need the conduct of a National Register of Citizens and this is something which will take time.

If Delhi is intent and sincere in addressing the issue, it should seriously study the demand that the Suspension of Operation pact with the Kuki militant groups be abrogated.

Geo-politics may be important, but more important is the sanctity of the country and how Imphal manages to put forward this point can go a long way in influencing how Delhi responds to this demand.

Abrogate the SoO pact, go ahead with preparation to conduct an NRC here in Manipur with the base year put at 1951 and let it be demonstrated that there is a Government in place at Imphal.

Manipur has suffered long enough and it is time to rein in all those who have been challenging the existence of the place as a distinct geo-political reality.



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