The ambush on Education Minister DD Thaisii at Senapati district on November 12 evening did not shatter peace. Let there be no doubt about this. Far from shattering peace, it was more an instance of the undercurrent of violence coming to the fore. Delhi can say whatever it wants, but this is the fact and there can be no two ways about it. Overt violence is bad, not at all desirable but when violence is muted and comes under the garb of some peace process or political dialogue, it is dangerous and this is what has been happening in areas where Delhi would want the world to believe that there is peace. The ceasefire pact with the NSCN (IM) and the Suspension of Operation agreement with some rebel groups are cases in point. The open collection of taxes on the National Highways, the manner in which trade and businesses are conducted at the trading hubs are all indications of peace being defiled and distorted at the fancy and whim of some gun toting elements. Peace then becomes the monopoly of these elements to carry forward their own agenda and the public be damned. Delhi is obviously satisfied with such an arrangement for as long as it is the people of the North East region who have to pay a heavy price for some manufactured peace, it does not matter. The security forces are happy with such an arrangement too because it does not hurt their immediate interest and as long as the price for peace is not exacted from them, then it makes no sense to disturb the status quo. The Sangai Express has steadfastly maintained that the silence of the gun can never be taken as peace for a gun no matter whether it is fired or not, can have a devastating impact on peace and the mandarins at Delhi just have to ask some of the people, against whose head the barrel of an unfired gun has been pressed into. This farce has to stop. A situation has thus been created that under the immunity granted by some well scripted definition of peace, what was extortion by armed men yesterday may suddenly become some sort of a ‘legitimate tax’ today. Armed cadres who used to move about furtively and lived in their camps and hideouts may suddenly find themselves armed with not only their guns but also with a defacto license to move around freely and carry out their agenda, under the protective garb provided by the distorted understanding of peace.
It is this distorted peace which claimed the lives of six security personnel detailed for escort duty to the late Wungnaoshang Keishing in Ukhrul district on April 15 this year. It is this defiled definition of peace that saw the lives of a couple snuffed out under a hail of bullets some time back, again in Ukhrul district and it is under this same false sense of peace that the attack on Education Minister DD Thaisii was carried out at Senapati district on November 12. In a sense this distorted peace may be said to be more dangerous than the classical understanding of a land or a region being in a state of conflict for this is nothing but lies and the deceit is overwhelming. The Minister fortunately managed to escape without a scratch and none of his escort personnel were killed but this still does not dilute the gravity of the attack. It was meant to kill. Four more bombs, all IEDs, were recovered from the spot where the Minister was ambushed and while it would be premature to point fingers at any organisation, what can be said with a modicum of certainty is that the attack could not have been carried out by any rag tag group of desperadoes. It was well timed, the spot was carefully chosen and the movement of the Minister was obviously monitored. DD Thaisii lives to tell a story today and while the truth, the whole unalloyed truth may not be forthcoming at the moment, it should be clear to all that the Minister is on the hit list of a powerful and influential group/s. Moving around with explosives and guns, without being caught is something no ordinary Joe can expect to do. The logistic needed to carry out such an ambush cannot be discounted lightly. The only reason why anyone can move around with the arsenal needed to launch an ambush on a Minister who moves around with security escorts could have only been the overwhelming presence of the distorted peace, which has been dealt with here. For peace to fructify, distorted peace should have no place. And this cry should come from the very people who are condemned to live in an illusion of peace which may be more taxing than overt violence.