An eye sore of celebrations;
Where is the solidarity ?
No doubt a long standing demand, but what has made the recent decision to extend the Inner Line Permit System to Manipur all that more significant should lie in these five words-No CAB in ILPS areas. Just five words, but means a whole lot to the people and the reason why the Manipur People Against CAB (MANPAC) was lead news for the Imphal based newspapers for such a long time. Now that the Centre has issued a gazette notification announcing the same, the ILPS is today in force in Manipur and the question of its effectiveness or otherwise will largely depend on how sincerely the Permit System is implemented at the ground reality. So no CAB in the presence of the ILPS and while there are still sceptics questioning how effective the ILPS would be in negating the impacts of CAB, it stands that it was Union Home Minister Amit Shah who personally announced that the CAB would not be enforced in areas where the ILPS is in force and in the areas notified under the 6th Schedule of the Constitution. The BJP led Government at Imphal had every reason to puff out its chest for here is a case of a single decision addressing two points which have been at the forefront for years. Let the BJP led Government celebrate but it should also not be forgotten that any celebration should come with a certain degree of responsibility and the manner in which some people went overboard, organising Thabal Chongbas in the middle of the road, just to cite an example, was something which should have been avoided. This is where the decision of the All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU) to go ahead with the scheduled Manipur bandh should be understood. In many ways, CAB managed to bring the North Eastern States together and even though Manipur has been let off the CAB hook, it is only expected that some sort of a solidarity is struck with the other North East States where the CAB and the 6th Schedule are not in force. This is where the bandh called by AMSU should be seen as standing in solidarity with other North Eastern States.
Ideally any stand against CAB should have been seen beyond the immediate interest of Manipur. If it is a stand against CAB per se then there should have been no over the top celebration, but as things have transpired, there weren’t many who were willing to look beyond their immediate nose and hence the loud and raucous celebration which bordered more on the obscene. On the other hand, it also stands that it was the North East where the voice of protest against CAB was the loudest with Imphal being the epicentre of the protest. The early part of 2019 and only just recently bear testimony to this assertion. Yes to ILPS and automatically this means No CAB and this should be good tidings to the people of Manipur. Now that the question of CAB has been settled via the extension of ILPS to the State of Manipur, perhaps the next issue which will emerge and become headline material will obviously be the pending pact with the NSCN (IM). Remains to be seen how the BJP led Government at New Delhi will deal with the situation when the time comes, but Chief Minister N Biren must be acutely aware of this and much too will depend on how the BJP led Government at Imphal respond to the situation. Here it will be interesting to see how the Naga People’s Front, which is a partner in the BJP led Government here, will rise to the occasion and perhaps the first point would be for the party to dissuade some of the vocal champions of the Lim demand not to rub anyone the wrong way with their radically obnoxious stand, especially on the social media.