TODAY -

Waiting for a response from the PM : Torbung to Jiribam
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: June 17, 2024 -



Can Manipur now expect Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take cognizance of the immense human tragedy that has ravaged the State for over 400 days now ?

A tough call this would be for the Prime Minister had remained indifferent to the human tragedy here for well over a year and if at all there is a reason to expect Modi to respond to the situation here, it would be the public statement of RSS supremo Mohan Bhagwat that the Manipur issue should be a priority for the BJP led Government at Delhi.

For over a year the top political leaders of Manipur had failed to meet the Prime Minister, starting from the Chief Minister to all the top rung office bearers of the State unit of the BJP.

Take the refusal of the Prime Minister to grant an audience to the State leadership along with his silence on the issue and this should explain the debacle that the saffron party faced at the hands of the Congress in the Inner Parliamentary Constituency.

Even the party backed by the BJP in the Outer Parliamentary Constituency, the NPF, had to bite the dust at the hands of the Congress.

The election process to the Lok Sabha is over with Modi back as the Prime Minister for the third consecutive term and to the people of Manipur the primary question is whether the politics of silence will continue or not.

Either way it should be clear to Manipur that things cannot continue like this forever.

Something has to give and given the deep sense of distrust and animosity between the Meiteis and the Kukis, Delhi is best placed to take the role of the referee and bring the two sides to the table and talk things over.

It should be clear to the Centre that Imphal is today not in a position to settle the matter and this is best exemplified by the fact that the theatre of conflict keeps changing at the fancy and whims of the powers that be that is driving the conflict.

From May 3, 2023 to June 16, 2024, the pace and intensity of the clash is being remote controlled by those in the position to do so and from Torbung in 2023 to Jiribam now it should be clear how the clash is being engineered and remote controlled.

This is what is worrying and even as Jiribam is now the centre of the conflict, Naga bodies including the United Naga Council, Naga Women’s Union, All Naga Students’ Association, Manipur and Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights, wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah to repatriate all the refugees who have taken refuge at Kamjong area on the Indo-Myanmar border.

Along with the call to repatriate the refugees, the Naga organisations also delivered a powerful point in asking that the Assam Rifles be withdrawn from the border area.

Nearly 6000 refugees are understood to be taking shelter at Kamjong area and while the huge number can be understood in the backdrop of the ongoing clash between the military junta and pro-democracy forces in the neighbouring country, it should not be forgotten that the Manipur Gazette of 1963 made no mention of the existence of any place called Kuki hills.

In other words this meant that the Kuki population in Manipur was sparse, very sparse and it is only down the years that more and more refugees sneaked into Manipur and in due course of time came to claim indigeniety over the land and its resources.

Back in 2002 a Kuki gentleman by the name Paolienlal Haokip had written in the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies that in the programme of Burmanization under General Ne Win around 20,000 Kukis were driven out into Manipur.

The Sangai Express has referred to this article written by Mr Haokip on more than one occasion, but it should throw some light on the call for updating the National Register of Citizens with 1951 as the base year.

Another 17,000-20,000 Chin and Reang tribals also made their way to Mizoram, said the article and it is significant to note that till date the Mizos of Mizoram have not deemed it right to absorb the Reangs as one of them.

The uprising of 1988 gave a further push for immigrants to enter Manipur and till date there is nothing to suggest that the 20,000 refugees who entered Manipur have returned to their home country.

It is against this backdrop that the submission of the Naga CSOs to the Union Home Minister should be seen and appreciated.

New Delhi needs to show that it has taken cognizance of the gradual infiltration into Manipur for decades and accordingly take up steps to neutralise this.



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