Outrage at Little Flower School Selective silence
A mew of a protest, despite the statements of condemnations that have poured into the office of The Sangai Express. This is what may be said in the response of the people against the placing of a bomb at the gate of Little Flower School a few days back. It is not even ‘the talk of the town’, with just about everybody behaving as if bombs at places of educational institutions is an accepted thing. It is this mindset that is as disturbing as the very act of planting the bomb at the gate of the school right here at Imphal. Latest reports coming in said that one suspect, belonging to a proscribed outfit has been arrested and while the investigation part is best left to the police and law enforcing agencies, it is time for the people to wake up from their slumber of ‘selective silence’ and say a big no to such conduct which should have no place in a civilised society. Ironic it is but even as young girls of Little Flower School and the staff staged a protest and put up a placard meaningfully crying out to the Chief Minister and the Education Minister to save the students, the Council of Higher Secondary Education, Manipur (COHSEM) announced the results of the Class XII examinations conducted this year. Ironic in the sense that while toppers and those who did well in the said examinations were interviewed and asked about their aim in life, there was the news of hundreds of young students of the Mission School staging a protest outside their school against the bomb attack. One suspect has been rounded up, but the question of greater significance at this point would be to ask what the bomb master minds planned to achieve by attacking the very place, which is otherwise known as a temple of learning. This wasn’t the first time that a Mission School has come under attack, and those who have been in the profession of disseminating information to the public will surely remember 1996, when armed intruders made their way into the same said school and defiled the sanctity of a place of learning. This was more than twenty years back, but clear that the cobwebs which have clouded the mindset of such elements are yet to be cleared. And there is no indication that it will clear, if the ‘selective silence’ of the people is anything to go by.
Let it be very clear. The protest against the bomb attack should have been spontaneous and people from all walks of life should have gathered and made their stand against such culture loud and clear. This is what is worrying for Manipur has been plagued by the malaise of ‘selective silence’ and ‘selective outpouring of anguish and anger’ for decades down the line. Something has to give. One suspect is now in police custody and one hopes the investigation is carried to its logical conclusion but certain questions come to mind. Why was the bomb placed ? Monetary demand ? The reason could be anything but it should also not be forgotten that Manipur has for long been taking the young school going children for granted. Remember those days when students were herded out of their classrooms and asked to protest on the roads, braving the water cannons ? It is when the thinking pattern becomes glued to the mindset that young school students can and should be made to take part in affairs which should strictly be dealt by adults of society that the youngsters come to be taken for granted. The bomb placed at the gate of Little Flower School may not have anything against the students and everything to do with the management of the school, but here is a case of no one giving a thought on the impact such an act will have on the young minds. School as an abode of learning should not be understood only within the prism of students but also about how society as a whole treats and looks up to the temple of learning.