TODAY -

The politics of lying and deception
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: April 11, 2024 -



"When he lies, it is consistent with his character, for he is a liar and the father of lies." - John 8:44.

Right from the sophists of ancient Greece, who were chastised by Plato in 360 BC, for their specious rhetoric to the modern democracy in the 21st century; lying and deception have been pervasive elements of politics everywhere.

So, the claim made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi of "marked improvement" in the situation of strife-torn Manipur due to the "timely intervention" by the central government and the "efforts" of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led state government has come as no surprise to anyone, particularly to those who have been critical of the government's response to the ethnic crisis between Meetei and Kuki-Chin communities that has engulfed the tiny northeastern Indian state since May 3 last year.

In an interview with The Assam Tribune on Monday (April 8), Prime Minister Narendra Modi is quoted to have said, "We believe that it is our collective responsibility to deal with the situation sensitively. I have already spoken about this in the Parliament. We've dedicated our best resources and administrative machinery to resolving the conflict. Because of the timely intervention of the government of India and efforts made by the government of Manipur, there has been a marked improvement in the situation of the state".

It is interesting to note here that it is the first time that the Prime Minister has given an exclusive interview to a regional newspaper to talk about the issue of Manipur after he remained silent from making any substantial statement regarding the humanitarian crisis that has so far led to loss of hundreds of precious human lives and displacement of thousands of families, forcing them to seek shelter in the relief camps.

In the same interview, the Prime Minister also claimed that he had already spoke about the Manipur issue in the Indian Parliament, but the truth is that he had been forced to speak after by the opposition parties moved a no confidence motion over the Manipur crisis.

Even at that time, the Prime Minister had spoken for less than 10 minutes in his over 2-hour-long speech, that too repetition of what Union Home Minister Amit Shah had stated before him.

Coming at a time when the general election to the 18th Lok Sabha is barely two weeks away, the interview given by the Prime Minister and the claims he made in it could be brushed aside as just another political deception and lying that we had talked about at the very outset.

But the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as the administrative head of a democratic country, is yet to pay a visit to strife-torn Manipur even though he had landed in the neighbouring state of Assam at least twice in the last two months says a lot more than any tall claim he could make in any interview given to any newspaper or news channel now or in the future.

Much to the glee of his critics and the discomfort of own elected party legislators, some of whom are still nursing the hurts they experienced from denial of audience for even submitting a memorandum during the peak of the conflict, the interview given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not only exposed the hollowness of his claim of "timely intervention by the central government", but also shown how insensitive is he to the suffering of the people in Manipur, who have been left to fend for themselves from a mayhem caused not just by Kuki-Chin militant groups under the agreement of Suspension of Operation (SoO) with the government but also by some party legislators who are raising the demand for bifurcation of Manipur for creating a separate administration for Kuki-Chin people.

Let's not forget that the public demand for abrogation of SoO pact with the Kuki-Chin militant groups, even though there has been no official report of its extension despite it got lapsed on February 29 last, is yet to be fulfilled and no action has been initiated against the party legislators from the Kuki-Chin community, who are as much responsible for igniting the communal fire that is blazing in the state for more than eleven months now.

So, rather than giving succour to the crisis-affected people on both sides of the clash divide who are yearning for the return of peace and normalcy in Manipur, the claim made by the Prime Minister seems to have reopened the old wounds and given food for thoughts over to what extent a politician or political party could stoop in their attempt to salvage their already tainted reputation.



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