BJP : In Delhi and Manipur
The twain does not meet
The polarisation that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) spawns is indeed deep and while in other parts of the country one sees anti-CAA rallies and meetings being staged, there are equally a large number of people who have come out in support of the contentious Act. Central to the deep divide is the BJP, which is the driving force behind CAA and so while the BJP seems to have sown seeds of divide amongst the people in so far as the Citizenship issue is concerned, in Manipur the BJP seems to have done the opposite. What the BJP has so far done has obviously nothing to do with the Citizenship Act, but clear today that the people of Manipur or rather the divide between the hills and the valley seems to have been addressed to a certain extent and this is significant. After the BJP led Government assumed power in the early part of 2017, the Government of Manipur is today no longer the communal Government of Manipur, at least to the United Naga Council. It was again after the BJP led Government came to power that the mortal remains of the nine people killed in the uproar at Churachandpur after the State Assembly passed three Bills in 2015, were finally put to rest. Queues outside fuel pumps have become a thing of the past and people of Imphal will still remember the days when serpentine queues outside each and every petrol pumps were regular affairs. The Naga People’s Front, which at point of time was seen to represent the sole interest of the Naga people and which was at loggerheads with the Government of Manipur is today no longer seen in this light. This new development should obviously be seen in its correct perspective.
Interesting to note that while the BJP seems to have driven deep divides between the people on the question of Citizenship in other parts of the country, in Manipur at least it has been able to bridge the gap amongst the three major communities, though this has nothing to do with the Citizenship Act. Many things could be read into this, but what is significant and important for Manipur to note is that the approach to bridge the hill-valley divide could not have come at a more opportune moment, given that the peace talk between the Government of India and the NSCN (IM) is reported to be at its final stage. It is also important to note that the tripartite talks held amongst the State Government, Central Government and the Kuki armed groups which are under the SoO pact is reported to be progressing and this is where it becomes important to address the level of confidence between the people. What however would do good for the BJP to acknowledge is the point that not everything can continue to be hunky dory in Manipur if the rest of the country, particularly Assam and Tripura, continue to be deeply divided over the CAA question. Best to remember that the case of Assam is unique and the Assam Accord of 1985 should not be clouded by the dust kicked up by CAA and it was perhaps with a reason why Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal recently announced that no ‘foreigner’ would be allowed to settle in Assam.