TODAY -

Saving Manipur
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: April 17, 2024 -



Who is going to save Manipur from being disintegrated?

This is a question uppermost in the mind of the people living in the tiny but conflict-ridden northeastern Indian state, which is reeling under the impact of a devastating ethnic conflict that broke out between two communities since May 3 last year.

The fact that the conflict is yet to be resolved even after more than eleven months of casting a shadow over the territorial integrity of Manipur but the election to 18th Lok Sabha has been thrusted upon the people in the midst of this crisis has made this question even more conspicuous.

Unfortunately, this fear of the people has been exploited to the hilt by every political party to win the election.

So, it's no-brainer for anyone to understand why a triumphantly joyful Chief Minister N Biren Singh promptly convened a press conference at his Babu-para secretariat office in the evening on Monday to say that Union Home Minister Amit Shah had answered many of the questions being asked by the people of the state on the border issue and territorial integrity of Manipur, after the latter thundered "Hum Manipur Ko Tutne Nahi Denge (we won't let Manipur break)" from the stage of BJP's election campaign at Hafta Kangjeibung.

This was exactly the kind of rhetoric that the Chief Minister needed to boost the morale of the people and win back their trust after he accidently admitted the failure of his government to predict and later contain the violence that wreaked mayhem in the state.

Speaking on the sidelines of an event in Imphal on May 21 last, the Chief Minister had stated, "We take responsibility. It was our failure, our lapses in security and intelligence". Appealing to the people of the state, he had also stated, "Don't fight amongst yourself. If someone is to be blamed, it is the government. We take responsibility".

The Chief Minister may or may not recall what he had said, but, it seems, the people have not forgotten about anything, including the assurance given by Union Home Minister Amit Shah of becoming back after 15 days when he last visited the state at the height of the ethnic conflict in May-end.

It has taken more than 10 months to keep the promise of revisiting the state when he landed at the Imphal Airport on April 15.

But much to the disappointment of a large section of the people who came out on the streets to protest, the visit of the Union Home Minister this time was not for discussing issues related to resolving the crisis or meeting the affected people but for election campaigning of his party's candidate in the Lok Sabha election.

So, only time will telI whether the "Hum Manipur Ko Tutne Nahi Denge" rhetoric of Union Home Minister Amit Shah has assuaged the fear of the people over the issue of territorial integrity of Manipur as the Chief-Minister would very much like to believe, and helps the candidate of ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to emerge victorious when the results of the 18th Lok Sabha election are declared on June 4.

But with the audacity of using the sensitive issue of protecting the territorial integrity of Manipur as a political tool to fight the election even to the extent of claiming that the upcoming election is not between BJP and Congress, but rather between the forces that want to break Manipur and unite Manipur, the Union Home Minister seems to have definitely succeeded in reaffirming the faith of the people on their own strength and resources to save Manipur from being disintegrated.

After the May 3, 2023 mayhem, it is not the government or the political parties but the politically illiterate men and women in the strife-torn state who have been sacrificing everything they have to keep alive the idea of Manipur as a home to different communities sharing the ups and downs of existence since time immemorial.



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