No over the top promises, assurances Noting role of women

No over the top promises, but acknowledged the important role that women do play in Manipur. This is one important point that can be gauged from the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the State on January 4. The announcement that three new women markets will be constructed in the State soon falls in line with the observation just spelt out here. And when one talks about women’s market it is also in line with the historic Ima Keithel, the only market place exclusively manned by womenfolks. This is also in line with the all women market sheds constructed at the headquarters of some hill districts and fully complements the efforts taken up by the BJP led Government in Imphal. In a way this may be seen as a pat on the back of the initiatives taken up by the N Biren Singh Government. However it remains that the announcement of the Prime Minister is just that-an assurance-and what happens in the days to come will decide whether this promise is implemented or not. This is where the role of the State Government will be watched and monitored closely by all concerned. In coming up with the idea of women markets, the Prime Minister is also taking cognizance of the numerous movements launched by womenfolk and which have had a powerful impact on the social and political lives of the people of Manipur. Important to note too that Chief Minister N Biren took the trouble of reminding all that a Fast Track Court has been set up to deal with cases related to crimes against women. This should bring up two important points for the people to ponder over and acknowledge the reality.
The question why a Fast Track Court to specially deal with cases related to crimes against women is deemed necessary should tell its own story. This should tell the story that despite the historical importance of women in the evolution of the Manipuri society, women continue to be a battered lot. The fact that daily newspapers published in the State unfailing come with news related to cases under POCSO and cases of rape of women regularly should be cause for concern. As published widely in all the daily newspapers from Imphal, the Prime Minister inaugurated eight projects and laid the foundation stones of four other projects. As pointed out earlier in this column, one hopes that the inaugurated projects have indeed been completed, for the people of Manipur certainly would not like a repeat of the earlier cases, when the ISBT and City Convention Centre were inaugurated but became functional only much later, giving a new meaning to the understanding of the term inaugurated. The short visit of the Prime Minister may also be seen in line with the coming Lok Sabha polls and its importance could not have been lost on Chief Minister N Biren and the leaders of the State BJP. How the visit of the Prime Minister is taken to the next level, that is to win the confidence of the people ahead of the Lok Sabha polls remains to be seen, but in many ways the BJP may be understood to have kick started the process of reaching out to the people for it is not very often that the Prime Minister of the country visits Manipur.

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