TODAY -

Warning of a coming politico-military storm
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: June 19, 2024 -



THE high-level meeting chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi on Monday to review the security situation in ethnic conflict ravaged Manipur without inviting its chief minister has not gone down well among a large section of the people in the state, who are looking at this development with suspicion for some obvious reasons.

In connection with the meeting, a press handout issued by the Press Information Bureau (PIB), which is a nodal agency of the Government of India functioning under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for disseminating information about the policies, programmes, initiatives and achievements of the government, said that the government of India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is fully committed to ensure safety and security of all citizens in Manipur.

During the meeting, the union home minister is said to have stressed on strategic deployment of central forces to restore peace and tranquillity in Manipur and increasing the number of forces, if required.

Moreover, the Home Minister is said to have instructed the Chief Secretary of Manipur to ensure proper health and education facilities for the displaced people and their rehabilitation and given directives for taking up strict legal action against those who indulge in violence while assuring that the Ministry of Home Affairs will talk to both the groups, Meeteis and Kukis, so as to bridge the ethnic divide, at the earliest.

Last but not the least, the union home minister is said to have underscored the importance of coordinated approach in resolving the ongoing ethnic conflict during the meeting which was also attended by Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Pande, Union Home Secretary, Director of Intelligence Bureau (IB), Chief of Army Staff (Designate) Lt General Upendra Dwivedi, Security Advisor to Government of Manipur, Director General of Assam Rifles, Chief Secretary, Director General of Police (DCP) of Manipur and senior officials of Army and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

While all these concerns, assurances and instructions given are perfectly okay, one question uppermost in the mind of most people is why chief minister N Biren Singh has not been invited to the meeting, which was specifically held to review the security situation in his state.

Of course, the Chief Secretary, Director General of Police (DGP) and the Security Advisor to Government of Manipur were present in the meeting, and these officials could very well represent the chief minister in the said meeting, but the fact remains that N Biren Singh is still the executive head of a state with a democratically elected government in place.

What's more, he is in charge of the portfolio of Home Department in Manipur and law and order is a state subject as defined under the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India.

So, the manner in which chief minister N Biren Singh has been cold-shouldered by Union Home Minister Amit Shah is bound to raise not just question but also eyebrow over "treating Manipur as a non-entity."

Apart from the question of whether the high office of Chief Minister of Manipur has been reduced to the position of a rubber-stamp to endorse every decision taken by the Ministry of Home Affairs in New Delhi, it is becoming more than crystal clear as to who is actually in charge of controlling the ethnic crisis in Manipur that has so far led to loss of hundreds of precious human lives and displacement of thousands of families on both sides of the clash divide.

More importantly, by not inviting N Biren to the meeting for reviewing the security situation in his own strife-torn state, the Ministry of Home Affairs seems to have sent out a message cryptically to not only him but also to the people of Manipur about a political as well as a military storm that is going to make its landfall in the state, sooner than expected.



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