Appeal of AMCO to Chief Minister Not a stand alone case
It should not be seen as a stand alone case. This one line observation is made in the backdrop of the appeal made by the All Manipur Christian Organisation (AMCO) to the Chief Minister to relax certain restrictions imposed on the gathering of people, organising celebratory feasts, movement after 9 pm, large gathering of people in closed areas or indoor halls, in the face to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of Covid in different parts of the country. Cap this off with the detection of one man infected with the latest variant here in Manipur and one can certainly understand the notification issued by the State Disaster Management Authority on December 29. The appeal from the All Manipur Christian Organisation came ahead of the coming New Year’s Eve and New Year Celebration with the addendum that all Churches will follow Covid appropriate guidelines issued by the Government. This is fine, but it should not be forgotten that the December 29 restrictions imposed by the State Government is very much a part of Covid appropriate guidelines and this is a point which the Government is most likely to stress on. Not clear how the State Government has responded to the appeal of AMCO, but lest it be forgotten the appeal of AMCO should not be seen as stand alone case. Rewind to 2020 when the Tablighi Jamaat congregation poked the Government hard and swift action was taken up with at least 57 foreign Nationals nailed as guilty for violating social distancing norms. Apart from being accused of flouting Covid rules, the matter even reached the law Court with the Union Ministry of Home Affairs going one step further to blacklist some of the participants of the congregation. Just as the Tablighi Jamaat smoke died down, came reports of how lakhs of devotees flouted all Covid rules during the Kumbh Mela at Dehradun, with the matter even reaching the Supreme Court of India via a PIL filed by an individual. Apart from these two examples, one can still recall how Covid protocols were violated in several States which went to polls in the earlier part of this year, notably Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, Assam and West Bengal, with the said PIL mentioning this.
All these examples are being cited here to underline the point that it would be wrong to see the appeal made by AMCO as a stand alone case. This is not to say that AMCO kept these examples in mind while issuing the appeal to the Chief Minister, but it would do good for all to remember that Covid appropriate behaviour has been violated on more than one occasion by many including political parties. The inclusion of the two words, political parties is important and one hopes that the State Government has taken note of the significance of why these two words have been used here. This is significant in the face of the hectic canvassing and activities being taken up in a number of Constituencies ahead of the Assembly election scheduled to be held in the early part of 2022. Now with the world having stepped into 2022, electioning process will get more intensified and one wonders whether the Government will be in a position to crack the whip and ensure that no one, however powerful one is, is allowed to flout the restrictions which have been announced for one and all to hear and read. This is where the observation that the appeal of AMCO cannot and should not be taken as a solitary case arises. Let the Government get its act together and let AMCO also come to the realisation that New Year will come and go and the call now is for all to stick to the new normal and if the new normal stipulates no celebratory feasts and no large gathering then so be it. Amen. The Sangai Express extends it best wishes to all readers, well wishers and patrons a better and more fruitful 2022.