Briefing Union Home Minister Not sons of the soil
Details are not available and the English edition of The Sangai Express had to give a miss to the report that Chief Minister N Biren Singh had briefed Union Home Minister Amit Shah on the decision of the State Cabinet to withdraw from the Suspension of Operation pact with the Kuki National Army (KNA) and Zomi Revolutionary Army (ZRA), as the report came in very, very late. Things are however rather clear on why the State Government deemed it necessary to suspend the peace deal with the said two outfits and its significance is all that more as it came at the backdrop of the decision to evict alleged encroachers from a protected forest and the resultant furore kicked up by the eviction. The Sangai Express has already had its say on the decision of the Government to evict the encroachers and the fact that the eviction decision came against the backdrop of the intense War on Drugs campaign should say so many things. Large swathes of poppy plantations being razed to the ground has been a regular news item in all the daily newspapers published in Manipur and add the regular seizure of drugs, especially along the Imphal-Moreh route, should tell its own significant story. Close on the heels of the eviction drive and the uproar this move elicited at Churachandpur and Kangpokpi district, came the demand from different organisations on the need to set up a Population Commission and carry out a National Register of Citizens exercise to weed out illegal immigrants. It is for this very reason why The Sangai Express had expressed the need for the State Government to study the antecedents of the people who set up the village inside a protected forest and also to establish where they have gone after they were forced to move out from the protected forest. A single thread can be seen running through the drug ‘trade’, poppy plantations, vehicle thefts to a certain extent, infiltrators or illegal immigrants and the offshoot is the call for the indigenous folks of the land to join hands and fight to save their land and resources. This is where the stand of the Naga Youth Forum, Manipur (NYFM) and the All Manipur Youth Protection Committee (AMYPCO) becomes significant. Mark out the infiltrators and delete fictitious villages and bogus population, identify and delete the bogus Aadhaar cards and voter identity cards, etc are the call from the NYFM and this is a point which the Government may seriously study.
That poppy plantations have had an adverse impact on environment need not be over emphasised here and this is a point which AMYPCO highlighted with so much clarity with the assertion that only those who have no organic relationship with the soil of the land will have no qualms about defiling the greens. Rivers and streams going dry and creating a sort of a drought like situation is a point that may be linked to the vast deforestation in the hills and the rampant use of fertilisers which poppy plantations demand. All the more reason why the War on Drugs should be taken to its logical conclusion. Chief Minister N Biren obviously has a tough task at hand, but this should be no reason to loosen the grip on the situation. The Sangai Express has been at the forefront in suggesting that more needs to be done than just razing poppy plantations to the ground and nabbing a drug pusher here and there. The job is to go in for the big fish and establish the chain, to unmask those who convinced the village chiefs and the actual tillers of the soil to cultivate poppy plants. Moreover there is also the need to unmask those behind the drug manufacturing units that have been detected and destroyed. As for those who have questioned the eviction drive, the time is perhaps right for everyone to question why they are so keen in speaking up for the illegal settlements ? Ask them, they may just know from where those who set up the settlements inside a protected forest have come from. Moreover where have they gone after they were evicted ? Ask them.