Missing : The thread that connects The no entry zones
Apart from the tag ‘missing,’ the common point that runs through these cases is the fact that their bodies are still not found. Atom Samarendra and Yumkhaibam Kiran Kumar left home on May 6 never to return home. Fast forward by exactly 60 days and Phijam Hemanjit and Hijam Linthoingambi disappeared on July 6 with their photos in captivity and their fallen bodies going viral on the social media on September 25. Fast forward yet again and it was on November 6 that Imphal rose as one in protest against the disappearance of two young boys, Avinash Maibam and Ningthoujam Anthony. It is just a date on the calendar but many may read something eerie in the 6th date and it would be interesting to see how December 6 pass off when it comes. Apart from the date, which runs through the cases that has just been mentioned, another gripping point that runs through the three cases is the fact that no bodies have been recovered yet or their whereabouts known. Another common point that stands out prominently is the fact that all the six persons went missing after they obviously ‘strayed’ into areas which are dominated by the Kukis. The ugliness of it all and the one line commandment or advice given by parents and elders of each family to all the youngsters is, ‘don’t move far away. Don’t move to places where the Kukis are known to settle in large number.’ Every young Kuki too must be tutored not to stray near the places where Meiteis are known to reside in large number. The Sangai Express has already said it more than once, but it stands true that no Meitei would feel safe and secure to go by road to Guwahati or Dimapur as the said route passes through Kangpokpi. How many Meitei would feel it safe or secure to even go to Ukhrul from Imphal by road given that at least three Kuki villages will have to be crossed near Litan. Likewise no Kuki would take a flight out of BT Airport at Imphal as it would entail coming to the heart of Imphal. This is the situation, a reality which no one can afford to shrug off. The disappearance of the two young boys while venturing near Kangpokpi on November 5 has only reinforced this line of thought, a line of thought which cannot be negated under any circumstances.
This is the ugly reality that the May 3 incident has ignited and making these cases all that more ugly is the blatant attempt to mislead the people and in the process promote a sense of suspicion between the Nagas and the Meiteis. Anyone with a modicum of logic would easily deduce that the very act of leaving the mobile handsets used by the Avinash and Anthony near a fuel pump at Senapati was nothing but a design to sow the seeds of suspicion between the Meiteis and the Nagas. Good thing that the Senapati based Naga People’s Organisation (NPO) and the Senapati District Students’ Association (SDSA) could read through the devilish agenda of leaving the mobile handsets at the said fuel pump. Come to think about it and plant would be the more appropriate term to refer to the recovery of the handsets at Senapati. If this was not a design to drag in the Naga community, a community which has so far maintained complete neutrality, then what other more devilish design could there be is the natural question that follows. This is what every indigenous people of the land should understand. Capturing, killing and then making the bodies disappear is something more than mass genocide and this is unfortunately what Manipur is living through right now and this reality should dawn on everyone. This is not the time for any joy ride or to go for sightseeing. Manipur has been in flames since the evening of May 3 and this fact should not be swept aside. The stories of the missing persons and how they ended up on the missing list should be more than enough lessons for everyone not to throw caution to the wind.