Price of cooked up stories and hatred Cut off from dear ones

The price of hatred. The price of violence. The price of being swayed by hate mongers who have the abhorrent ability to sway public mood and turn a perfectly innocent looking youngster to a destructive and lethal killing machine. The price of spewing venoms coupled with the ability of spicing up a fabricated story so much so that it can convince the ordinary folks to go ‘hunting’ for the next victim. The price that is paid is the prolonged suspenson of internet service and clearly the price is being paid by the common people, the concerned parents, the elders of the family who are sick worried about their children and grand children who stay far away from home for their further studies. Add the man or woman whose father or mother or brother or sister could be away from home for medical treatment in some other parts of the country and one can imagine their trauma. Clearly the ethnic clash that broke out in all its ugly manifestation after the May 3 Tribal Solidarity Rally has exacted a heavy price and more will follow as the brutality and the senselessness of it all begin to sink in. Even today, that is 18th May, 2023, that is a full 15 days after the outbreak of the violence, Manipur is yet to return to normalcy, with curfew still on in many parts of the State and numerous goods laden trucks yet to reach their destinations. And in line with the reality here, Manipur has remained cut off from the rest of the world since May 3 evening, when mobile data services were banned followed by the complete ban on all broadband services. To many, Thokchom Nivedita may just be a mother, who has invested all she can for the future of her son studying somewhere in the country, getting ready to sit for an entrance examination, but virtually cut off from her son. There must be thousands of Niveditas across Manipur, including members of the two communities, who just the other day, were killing each other. Likewise there must be thousands of parents and elders of the family worried about the preparations of their children for any of the competitive examinations that have been lined up by the Union Public Service Commission, Staff Selection Commission, National Testing Agency etc. Add the fact that most examinations are today conducted via online mode and the situation can only be imagined. In other years this is that time when students would be preparing for the Common University Entrance Test conducted online by the National Testing Agency for admission to the university of their choice. But Manipur today presents the perfect script of how to clobber the preparations of the young students for a big six !
There is nothing to suggest that internet services would be resumed any time soon and as noted in the opening of this commentary, the Government cannot afford to take chances and give a free hand to any of those key board warriors to stoke trouble with their wild and cooked up stories. No easy answer on how to deal with the present situation but it stands that the NTA has already cancelled the NEET exams for candidates from Manipur. A fresh date may be announced, but will a new date help if the ban on internet continues or if the situation does not see a change for the better ? Changing the exam centre from say Imphal to Guwahati or even Dimapur will not help either as it would mean either taking the road on the Imphal-Dimapur line or take a flight from Imphal. How many would feel safe to travel along the Imphal-Dimapur line, given the fact that any vehicle on this route will have to pass through Kangpokpi. Or how many would feel safe to come down to Imphal to catch a flight from Bir Tikendrajit Airport ? The answer should be obvious to all and while the reality says that it will take time for situation to actually normalise, the Government will need to think out of the box to deal with the challenges that lie ahead. Not all people of Manipur reside in the State at the moment and this include mainly students who need to be supported from home. A point which should not be forgotten.