TODAY -

Downplaying the crisis
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: May 28, 2024 -



FOR the second time within a span of three weeks, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has downplayed seriousness of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Manipur that has so far seen deaths of over 220 people including security personnel and displacement of thousands of families by reiterating that the clashes between the Meetei/Meitei and Kuki-Chin communities are ethnic in nature and cannot be termed as terrorism.

After dismissing claims that the clashes that broke out between the two ethnic communities on May 3 last year was 'terrorism' in an interview given to the Economic Times on May 9, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has yet again asserted, "This is not an issue of riots or terrorism. This is an issue of ethnic violence. It can't be resolved through force" when asked whether his government needed to take some strong action to end the cycle of violence in the northeastern state during an interview with PTI on Saturday (May 25).

Just as in the first interview wherein he stressed that the government would need to resolve differences between two communities through 'dialogue and empathy' and assured "It will be our priority after elections that we hold discussions with both the sides and come up with an amicable solution," Amit Shah has maintained in the second interview as well that his government is working on removing the trust deficit between the Meetei and Kuki communities to bring lasting peace in Manipur, and the process will be expedited with utmost priority once the Lok Sabha election is over.

Apart from the fact that the union home minister has not only contradicted own statement given in the Parliament during discussion on the no-confidence motion raised by the opposition but also subsequent measures initiated by his ministry when he dismissed involvement of "groomed and paid" terror groups in the Manipur crisis, continuous effort being made to downplay the seriousness of the humanitarian crisis has once again demonstrated insensibility of his government towards the suffering of the people.

While the question of why Union Home Minister Amit Shah and his double BJP government, which is in power both in the state and at the centre, have allowed the conflict to go on for so long if it is a simple issue that could be resolved through 'dialogue and empathy' remains to be answered; it is interesting to note that second interview of Amit Shah has been published by most media houses alongside the report of National Investigation Agency (NIA) uncovering use of hawala channels in transferring payments for smuggling arms and ammunition into Manipur and Mizoram from Myanmar.

The very fact that the anti-terror agency has been tasked by the Union Home Ministry to probe into alleged smuggling of large-scale illegal arms, ammunition, and explosives amidst the conflict in Manipur is a clear indication of the futile attempts being made by Amit Shah to downplay the seriousness of the humanitarian crisis in Manipur.

The conflict between Meetei and Kuki-Chin communities may have been sparked off by the demand of the former for granting scheduled tribe (ST) status, but the meticulous planning and calculated use of violence by the armed Kuki-Chin militants in the ongoing conflict with an eye on achieving their political goal of 'Zalengam' is something that the government of India, and more particularly, its home ministry, would be ill-advised to overlook.

From the initial opposition to the ST demand of the Meitei/Meetei to demanding a separate administration for the Kuki-Chin, which was first raised by 10 sitting MLAs from Kuki-Chin community within days of outbreak of the conflict, and then pushing for the creation of a Kuki state or union territory under Article 3 of the Constitution of India; Kuki-Chin groups are today launching a global campaign for creation of a Christian nation by integrating all Kuki-Chin territories of Chin state (Myanmar/Burma), Chittagong Hill Tracts (Bangladesh) and Mizoram (India) and Kuki hills in Outer Manipur" with the backing of some powerful western countries.

This conspiracy has been revealed by none other than Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina herself and she is steadfast on stopping it.

So, why Union Home Minister Amit Shah is still trying to make a fool of himself by refusing to tell the truth?

Is there something far more sinister behind downplaying the crisis in Manipur?



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