TODAY -

Over a year and still continuing : Hands of geo-politics ?
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: June 13, 2024 -



The figures should speak for itself. Over 200 killed. Many still missing. Over 60 thousand still surviving in the different relief centres set up all over Manipur.

The statistics spelt out here are from May 3, 2023 to June 11, 2024. Clashes continue.

Many displaced in Jiribam, with hundreds taking shelter in different relief camps while many others are reported to have fled to neighbouring Assam.

Displaced people should be read and understood along with the line, ‘numerous houses destroyed/burnt/dismantled’.

This is about Jiribam and even as the Western Gate of Manipur continued to burn, reports of clashes and gun battles came in from places such as Koutruk and Senjam Chirang.

And when one talks about Jiribam, one cannot forget the ambush laid on the advance security team sent there ahead of the proposed visit of Chief Minister N Biren Singh.

Audacious move and the cockiness of it all is something that cannot be missed.

So even as Jiribam burnt with many forced to flee to safer places, came the report of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat ‘advising’ Prime Minister Narendra Modi to tackle the Manipur issue on a priority basis.

Heartening to note that the Opposition Congress took the stand of the RSS chief as the perfect moment to up the pressure on the Prime Minister to come out of the politics of silence and see what may be done.

This in short is how Manipur is at the moment and the situation has been like this for well over 365 days and one can imagine the sense of angst and frustration that must be coursing through everyone in Manipur.

A sentiment that was reflected when the BJP candidate was made to bite the dust with a record margin in the just held Lok Sabha elections in the Inner Manipur Parliamentary Constituency.

It was more or less the same in the Outer Constituency where the BJP backed candidate of the NPF was also made to eat humble pie.

The election results reflected the deep angst of the people against the saffron party but there is still no evidence to show that the Manipur BJP has learnt a lesson or two from the sound thrashing it received at the hands of the Congress.

Even after more than 400 days, there is nothing to suggest that some sort of a model has been worked out to take Manipur to the road of normalcy and this is what is deeply worrying.

Remember the longer the clash continues, the more Manipur stands to lose and it will only be to the gain of those who have their daggers pulled to mutilate the understanding of Manipur as a distinct geo-political reality.

What is worrying is the fact that though the much tom-tommed Peace Committee formed during the initial days of the clash failed to take off, there has been no visible efforts to give a fresh breath of life to the Committee and making things more worrying is the emergence of war mongers on either side of the clash divide who have openly stated their stand against any move to bring about a semblance of peace and normalcy.

No one expects anyone to wave a magic wand and bring about an immediate end to the hostility.

However a deeper look at the manner in which Central security forces have been conducting themselves perhaps needs a more sincere introspection.

The very fact that fingers of accusation have been pointed at them for taking a partisan stand in the ongoing clash deserves a hard, long look.

This is where one is compelled to raise a serious question on the conduct of New Delhi for the Central security forces come under the direct bidding of the Centre.

Take a look at any theatre of the conflict and one is bound to see allegations flying thick and fast against the Central security personnel and this is something serious, very serious.

Does the situation in Manipur right now warrant a state when the men in uniform are being viewed and taken as being partisan ?

A question which only Delhi can answer and this is where the seeming indifference of the Prime Minister, best exemplified by his silence, has only made things worse.

On the other hand the seeming compulsion of geo-politics, vis-a-vis the emerging influence of China in neighbouring Myanmar, the ongoing clashes in the neighbouring country and the India’s Act East Policy, is getting clearer with each passing day.

Should Manipur be made the sacrificial goat in the politics of the great game east ?

Only questions at the moment but the fact that these questions have been raised should say so many things.



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