TODAY -

Come home to the electorates
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: July 04, 2024 -



JUST like the Manipuri saying, "Tumdaba Mee Houdokpa Lui," which literally means, "It's hard to wake up someone who is pretending to be asleep," it is becoming nothing but a wishful thinking to expect Prime Minister Narendra Modi to listen to the cries of the people of Manipur, who have been suffering for the last 14 months (exactly as on June 3).

Since the outbreak of an unprecedented ethnic conflict between the Meetei/Meitei and Kuki-Chin communities on May 3 last year, life in Manipur has never been same.

Even though the demand of the Meetei/Meitei to be recognised as a scheduled tribe (ST) under the Constitution of India is said to be the triggering point of the conflict, everyone knows that the initiatives taken up by the government of Manipur to stop infiltration of illegal immigrants and clearing of reserved forest areas for poppy cultivation are at the core of this conflict.

This fact has also been repeatedly admitted by none other than Union Home Minister Amit Shah himself on the floor of the Indian Parliament and the same reaffirmed by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar at international forum on more than one occasion.

Yet, apart from the failure of the government of India to resolve the conflict despite deployment of a large number of central security forces, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has remained silent on the Manipur issue even though hundreds of precious human lives have been lost and thousands of homeless families are seeking refuge in relief camps for more than a year now.

It was against this enigmatic silence of the Prime Minister that the numerically inferior opposition parties had even banded together in moving a no-confidence motion against his government in the Parliament despite knowing the outcome of the motion in August last year.

In fact, the no-confidence motion had been moved mainly to force the Prime Minister to speak on the Manipur issue and take up necessary measures for restoration of peace ad normalcy in the strife-torn state.

However, in his over 2-hour-long reply to the no-confidence motion moved against his government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke for less than 10 minutes on Manipur and the Opposition leaders staged a walkout when even after 1 hour and 40 minutes of the speech, there was no mention of Manipur.

What the Prime Minister had said at that time was also essentially a repetition of what Union Home Minister Amit Shah had said before him.

It's not that the Prime Minister is unaware of what is happening in Manipur for the last 14 months.

What has caught everyone by surprise is his conspicuous silence from speaking on the issue and failure of paying a visit to the strife-torn state so far even though he had come to the neighbouring state of Assam twice and even took time off from his busy schedule to go on a safari ride at Kaziranga National Park.

But all these paled in comparison when the. Prime Minister remained steadfast from not mentioning Manipur in his motion of thanks to the Presidential address in the Parliament on July 2 although the opposition leaders raised slogans for doing justice to Manipur throughout his speech.

This clearly shows that he is not going to open his mouth on the issue of Manipur and it would be an exercise in futility to expect him to listen to the cries of Manipuri people.

In such a situation, it is irrelevant for the elected representatives from Manipur to remain in New Delhi waiting for an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which had also been denied in the past despite camping in the national capital for a month.

So, it would be better for the elected representatives to return home and take care of their electorates whose daily struggle for survival has been further compounded by a wave of natural calamities with the latest being the flood caused by breaching of weak and poorly maintained riverbanks following a spell of heavy rain.

Rather than trying to wake up someone who is pretending to be asleep, there would be more wisdom in being with their electorates at this time of trouble.



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