TODAY -

Manipur violence and state
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: June 24, 2024 -



It might have sounded rather too blunt or unsophisticated when senior Congress leader Gaikhangam said that the protracted violence traumatizing Manipur for the last 14 months is a state or government sponsored violence.

Yet, the same remark was not some wild allegation.

Even if the state is not sponsoring the violence, it has done very little to stop the violence.

When the Government is doing nothing effective or noteworthy to bring the protracted violence to an end, it is indirectly abetting the crisis.

When you abet something, you are sustaining the same thing and when you sustain something, you are very close to sponsoring the particular thing.

It is this point which must be read between the lines.

Again, the state has all the resources to contain the violence but it failed miserably on this front too.

When you fail to achieve something despite commanding all the resources and power to get it, either you are making no efforts or all your efforts are half-hearted.

The Chief Minister went on record and admitted that there were security lapses and intelligence failures with regard to Churachandpur rally of May 3, 2023 which triggered the bloody conflict.

It was indeed a very big failure of the state (state refers to both Imphal and New Delhi) which proved to be very costly to thousands of innocent citizens.

Quite shocking as it was, it still remains a conundrum that the state and its armed forces did not make any attempt to stop the rally, participated by armed hoodlums and automatic rifles-wielding combatants.

For the sake of argument, let us accept that there were security lapses and intelligence failures and the state was caught by surprise when the Kuki-Zo militants and their supporters launched their politico-military offensive.

Harrowing tales of how thousands of Meitei houses were burnt down on the night of May 3 itself, forcing every single Meitei to flee the district have been already told and retold.

In the subsequent months, all the remnants of the burnt down Meitei houses were bulldozed and flattened.

Moreover, Kuki-Zo militants attacked and raided a number of Meitei villages at peripheral areas at will and slaughtered many innocent villages.

The state cannot attribute this to intelligence failure or security lapses for tens of thousands of central armed forces had been deployed in Manipur by that time in addition to the local police.

A little over one year later since the infamous Churachandpur rally, Kuki-Zo militants once again unleashed terror at Jiribam which was hitherto unaffected, and around 70 houses were burnt down in addition to police outposts and forest offices.

There was no intelligence failure this time.

Months before violence erupted at Jiribam, confidential government documents revealed that the Director General Police and the Security Advisor were warned of the movement of a good number of Kuki militants from Churachandpur to Jiribam.

Yet no pre-emptive measures were put in place.

Even when there was no intelligence failure, the state refused to act despite the prior warning.

The Jiribam mayhem could have been averted but the state, despite all the resources at its disposal to prevent the mayhem, was only too happy to let the terror unfold.

Again, an advance security team of the Chief Minister was ambushed by Kuki militants en route to Jiribam but security forces did nothing to arrest or neutralize or flush out the militants except for a nominal combing operation on the day of the attack.

This inaction of the state has some serious implications.

The state is either complicit or abetting the violence or simply unbothered or it has some secret agenda of its own.

Here it would be a gross blunder to interpret the attack on the state’s armed forces as communal violence or a part of it.

When some elements carry out sustained military aggression against a state’s armed forces, it is a clear case of waging war against the particular state.

There have been many cases of Chin-Kuki-Zo militants targeting state armed forces like the killing of Moreh SDPO Chingtham Anand Kumar and the attack on the Chief Minister’s advance security team, to cite a few examples.

Yet, the state is reluctant to take up any decisive action till date.

This is where many have raised questions on the role of the state vis-a-vis Manipur violence.



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