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Bucket of cold water after a hot shower : PM Modi on Manipur
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: July 05, 2024 -



Comes close to the understanding of a bucket of cold water after a hot shower.

This is the overwhelming sentiment that must have swept through the people of Manipur on July 3, 2024, for it was on this day that Prime Minister Narendra Modi took ‘some time off’ from his busy engagement with the ‘other more important issues’ in Parliament to speak on Manipur.

More than 500 people arrested, over 11,000 FIRs filed and the situation is returning to normal in most parts of Manipur, was the line maintained by the Prime Minister and it was this line which was picked up by Congress MP Dr Angomcha Bimol Akoijam to dub it as an effort of the Prime Minister to ‘normalise the abnormal’.

This was not the first time that the Prime Minister spoke on Manipur, for way back on July 20, 2023, the Prime Minister did come out strongly against the nude parade of two women, calling it a shame and assuring to pull up all those involved in the despicable act.

But technically this cannot be equated with speaking on the ethnic clash in Manipur, for it was more of an outburst against a singular act, an abominable act committed on May 4, 2023, one day after the violence erupted in Manipur and the video clip of the nude parade which went viral on July 20 or 19.

The Prime Minister did give some statistics such as the number of FIRs lodged, the number of people arrested and obviously the usual line that the ‘Government is trying its best to bring normalcy in Manipur’ but to any keen observer this sounds more like a desperate attempt to silence the Opposition which had gone hammer and tongs against the continued silence of the Prime Minister rather than chalking out any roadmap to take the State and her people to the road of normalcy.

It would have gone down so much better with the people if the Prime Minister had devoted even half the time he spent in going on the offensive against the Opposition and talked about the attempts being made to bring the two warring sides to the negotiating table.

It would have been that much more productive if the Prime Minister had announced that the Centre is working on constituting a Committee to initiate the process of bringing the two sides to the table.

This is what is needed given the fact that the Peace Committee which was formed in the early days of the clash has turned out to be a non-starter.

What kept Delhi short of announcing that such a Committee would be formed with either the Prime Minister himself or the Home Minister as the Chairman and the Governor of Manipur as a member for starters ?

The other members may be filled in later in consultation with all stakeholders.

Just a thought that comes to mind, but one just wished that the Prime Minister had given more substance to what he had to say such as that he would be visiting the State to soothe the battered folks.

Now that the Prime Minister has spoken on Manipur, what is the way forward ?

This is the natural question that should follow.

Other than stating that efforts are being made to ensure a return to complete peace, no details have been spelt out.

It would have sounded so much more assuring if only the Prime Minister had explained why despite the presence of such a large number of security personnel, many continue to survive in relief centres opened across the length and breadth of the country.

Were there any security lapses on May 3, 2023 and in the days that followed is another point that could have been touched on or is it a case of the Prime Minister leaving the matter to the Union Home Minister ?

One wonders whether Delhi has understood why the silence of the Prime Minister has been taken to mean so many things by the people of Manipur or is it a case of the powers that be just not caring ?

Manipur and her people know that there cannot be a magic formula and when the Prime Minister did decide to talk about Manipur in Parliament, the least that one expected was some sort of a roadmap that could be explored.

Nothing of that sort happened, other than just the statistics and the assurance that the Government is working to ensure peace returns.

Manipur has suffered long enough and it should be more than a footnote when the Prime Minister speaks on the place and her people.



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