TODAY -

Silence of the guns, for the moment : Mute after six days
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: February 22, 2024 -



It may be a little premature to say that the guns being fired from Dongyang and Lailophai in Churachandpur district towards Sugnu have fallen silent permanently but it is significant to note that there were no reports of gun fire on February 20, that is after 6 consecutive days of Sugnu being pummelled since February 14.

The silence stretches on to the next day, for till the time this commentary is being penned down on February 21, there is no report of any fresh offensive being launched at Sugnu.

One the day the guns fell silent, The Sangai Express carried the news of search operations being carried out at Sugnu, Dongyang and Lailophai and it is no co-incidence that the silence came along with the massive search operations being conducted at the said three places.

A co-incidence it is but the massive search operations came just one day after The Sangai Express had questioned why security forces were not being mobilised to neutralise the guns that were fired towards Sugnu from Dongyang and Lailophai for six days on the row and along with the search operations came the silence of the guns.

This is significant and in a way the sense of being vindicated is overwhelming.

As reported, a combined team of State police, Central Reserved Police Force (CRPF) and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) launched massive search operations at Dongyang and Lailophai while a combined team of 136 Bn of the Border Security Force and Kakching police did the same at Sugnu.

This development should give solid credence to the poser raised in this column on why the security personnel were not activated to neutralise the gun toting elements who have been raining bullets at Sugnu from the said two places at Churachandpur.

This is where the observation of Sugnu Assembly Constituency MLA K Ranjit that the series of violence could have been contained if only the security personnel had been pressed into service to neutralise the militants who launched the attacks on Sugnu, is insightful.

Fortunately no one died during the six days of continuous assault on Sugnu, save for the injuries inflicted on two BSF personnel, including a Head Constable and two village volunteers.

This is apart from the heavy damages caused to houses and human settlements at Sugnu.

Maybe it is in taking a leaf out of the Sugnu experience that report was received of State force personnel being deployed at some sensitive and vulnerable areas which have seen repeated attacks from Kuki militants.

As reported, well trained State force personnel have been deployed at the foothills of Andro Assembly Constituency adjoining Kangpokpi district while teams of 6th Indian Reserve Batallion and 6th Manipur Rifles have been stationed at Nongpok Keithelmanbi, Laikhong, Itham, Tumukhong and Maphou Dam. Steps which are expected from the State Government and one hopes the Centre is also apprised of the need to goad the Central security forces, especially the Assam Rifles, to be on the alert and nullify any attempt to launch offensives from the hills.

It is time to make sense of the deployment of over 60,000 Central security personnel, personnel who were rushed here after Manipur went up in flames in the evening of May 3, 2023.

Already over 9 months since violence broke out and the involvement of SoO cadres in the series of attacks launched on the Meitei settlements at the foothills, at Moreh and at other sensitive places should be more than clear and it is for this very reason why demands have been raised to abrogate the SoO pact.

It is already the 22nd of February and the time frame of the SoO pact is set to expire by the end of this month and it is for this very reason why Manipur is watching with trepiditations on what steps New Delhi will take up.

Or should Delhi expect Manipur to be satisfied with just the decision to do away with the Free Movement Regime and the announcement that the Indo-Myanmar border would be fenced ? Or is the coming Lok Sabha elections going to be used as the perfect alibi to keep matters at bay and avoid taking any critical decisions ?

Imphal should gear up to present a water tight case before Delhi as and when the time comes.



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