TODAY -

What is keeping the clash going on ? Posers before Delhi
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: June 19, 2024 -



Has Delhi come anywhere near understanding what is keeping the clash ongoing for over 400 days ?

Or is it merely satisfied with just tackling with the symptoms and not the fuel that keeps the wheel of the clash churning ?

For one it should be more than clear that it is the failure to zero in on the root cause/s of the clash that has kept the violence continuing since the evening of May 3, 2023 and to come anywhere near understanding this point, some facts need to be digested.

Protest against the policy and programmes of the Government is a given and Manipur has seen such protest umpteen times in the last many decades.

This is where one is immediately reminded of the June 18, 2001 Uprising when the then State Assembly was torched, numerous offices of political parties were reduced to cinders with even the then Speaker of the Assembly publicly manhandled not to speak of two representatives of the people suffering serious burn injuries.

And the protest continued for over a month and back then Imphal looked like a battle ravaged town, with all the major roads strewn with shards of glasses and remains of bonfires plum in the middle of the road.

The target of the protest was clear.

It was against the insertion of the words, ‘without territorial limits’ in the ceasefire pact between the Government of India and the NSCN (IM)-the Bangkok Declaration of June 14, 2001.

In the over a month protest, it was against the Bangkok Declaration and against the policy and programmes of the Government and not once was anyone targeted along communal lines.

Between June 18, 2001 and May 3, 2023, Manipur saw numerous protests, but no one was made the target of the protest for the agenda was clear-all protests were always against the policy and programmes of the Government and no one from any other community was ever targeted, whether it was during the first marathonesque 52 days economic blockade imposed by the All Naga Students’ Association, Manipur (ANSAM) in 2005 or when the Naga hills rose as one to protest the decision of the State Government to carve out Kangpokpi district from Senapati district in the winter of 2016.

Just two examples that come to mind and juxtapose this reality with the violence that followed after the Tribal Solidarity March organised by the All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur on May 3, 2023 and it should be more than clear that the rally was staged with a clear motive in mind and that was to vent their anger against anyone belonging to a community, the Meiteis in this case.

And to come anywhere near understanding how and why the clash has continued for over 400 days, the Centre has to first question why gun toting elements were allowed to take part in the Tribal Solidarity March of May 3, 2023.

It was on the basis of the muscle power provided by the gun slinging elements that the first match stick was struck at Torbung on May 3 last year and at Churachandpur a little later.

Just a few days after the clash erupted in all its ugliness, the Union Home Minister was quick to point to the guns looted from the police armouries and one wonders why Delhi is still quiet on where the guns that are used to attack Meitei settlements have come from.

This is a point that has been raised many times here and while no one expects an answer to this, Delhi would do wise to seriously study this point.

The announcement that the Ministry of Home Affairs would talk to Meiteis and Kukis to bridge the divide is a positive move forward but any move that is taken should be based on truth and not the false narratives that have been peddled from day one of the clash.

The important point is, New Delhi should be armed with the correct information, the reality if the intention to hold the talks with either side is to have any positive outcome.

Any talk held under the veil of a bigger political game plan with Manipur put in as the sacrificial lamb will not bear anything positive.

For starters the Union Home Minister should come clean on the status of the SoO pact and why Delhi is silent on whether it stands scrapped since it has not been extended or whether it has been extended on the sly.



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