TODAY -

From the Lok Sabha to Manipur : Hitting the right button
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: July 09, 2024 -



From taking the story of Manipur to the floor of the Lok Sabha, courtesy the ‘extremely relevant’ speech delivered by MP Bimol Akoijam, to now Rahul Gandhi visiting the strife torn State, the third to be precise during the conflict, the oldest political party is hitting the right button, in so far as Manipur is concerned.

Carrying on the spirit which was so much visible in the speech of the Lok Sabha MP, Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Manipur is shorn of any partisan approach but is an attempt to reach out to the beleaguered folks who have been reeling under the ethnic violence for over 14 months now.

The country cares about Manipur is the unsaid but clearly audible message that one can read into the visit by the Congress leader and this is a sentiment which is being shared by the common folks of the place.

A gesture which can go some way in healing the injured souls and mentality of the people and while no one expects Rahul Gandhi or the Congress to whip out a magic formula to resolve the issue, an important message has been delivered and that is, there are some sections of people who are concerned and this is saying something a lot.

This is where one is reminded of the fact that Manipur did not have to wait endlessly for days when the place went up in protest after the bullet riddled body of Thangjam Manorama was discovered one day after she was picked up by Assam Rifles personnel in the dead of the night on July 10, 2004.

The now historic nude protest in front of Kangla followed on July 15 and it did not take long for the then Prime Minister of the country, Dr Manmohan Singh to fly to Imphal in November the same year and address the media in the packed banquet hall of Raj Bhavan.

Kangla was also handed over to the people of Manipur and the Justice Jeevan Committee was formed to look into the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

A protest that could have prolonged, given the fact that a braveheart, Pebam Chittaranjan self immolated on August 15 the same year against the continued imposition of the Army Act.

The point is, the battered sensibilities of the people were addressed to a certain extent just by the visit of the then Prime Minister of the country and while the present issue with that of 2004 is totally different, it stands that timely response from New Delhi could have gone a long way in addressing the hurt of the people now.

That it took more than 13 months for the Prime Minister to open his mouth on the Manipur mayhem inside the Rajya Sabha should say something significant when viewed against the response of the Centre back in 2004.

The issues are different, everybody knows it, but it is the indifference of the Centre to the human tragedy that is being scripted here that has given a further understanding to the term ‘alienation.’

An alienated people, this is the understanding one can infer from the silence of the Prime Minister for over a year and it is the concern demonstrated by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi that can and will go a long way in healing the hurt psyche of the people.

This is not a comparison at all but acknowledging the understanding of reaching out with the hand of understanding and empathy.

Here is a place and her people who have been geographically segegrated for over a year, a place decorated with buffer zones with over 60 thousand people surviving in relief centres and yet here is a case of the Prime Minister being misinformed to tell Parliament that normalcy is returning.

How can one say Manipur is limping back to normalcy when no Meitei can travel along the Imphal-Dimapur route crossing Kangpokpi and no Kuki would entertain the idea or proposal of returning to the place they once called home at Imphal or in the other valley districts ?

Is this a show of normalcy ?

Even after more than a year of the violence erupting, it is more than clear that the Centre is not ready to accept the reality and when one dodges the reality then the path to normalcy is still very far off.

This is a line that should be accepted by all. India and the world may be fooled for some time with lies and more lies but not forever and over 14 months is a long enough time for the misinformation campaign to blow over.

The visit of Rahul Gandhi should hopefully help throw more light on what is happening at the ground and the attack launched by Kuki militants in the wee hours of July 8 at Jiribam, just hours before the Congress leader touched down at the said place is the real story of Manipur now.



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