The fast and ugly spread on social media


Yenkokpam Somorjit
I have been an active user of Social Media platform such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter for the last 10+ years. But since the beginning of this fateful month that sees the unfolding of an unprecedented violence on a scale that I have never seen in OUR land during my lifetime, I began hating Social Media and the part it played in escalating the violence.
On May 3, photos, videos and hate speeches started surfacing on the Social Media during the ATSUM sponsored rally in Churachandpur. Pictures of the massive rally and burning of Forest Beat offices by some miscreants are also seen. Videos of an alleged Meitei truck driver being beaten up at Churachandpur was also seen.
Then came the news and pictures of some tyres burning at the foot of the Anglo-Kuki War Memorial Gate at Kangvai. Rumours of miscreants harassing people,coming back from joining the rally at Churachandpur, at Kangvai and Torbung areas started circulating in WhatsApp and Facebook that resulted to a large number of people from Churachandpur coming on many trucks with weapons to Kangvai and Torbung areas and scuffle breaking out between the two parties with the small security force deployed at the area unable to control the situation.
Then the pictures and videos of burning of villages at Kangvai and Torbung areas and villagers running for shelter from armed miscreants became viral in the Social Media and agitated people from the valley started arriving in large numbers to join the fight at the border between Churachandpur and Bishnupur districts.
What really flared up the situation was the alleged rape and murder of a woman at Churachandpur and the destruction of Meitei villages in Churachandpur, Moreh, Kangpokpi and other Kuki dominated areas.
The Government should have banned internet then and there itself but the pictures, videos, some of them doctored, hate speeches and rumours went on circulating in the Social Media and mayhem broke out in Imphal and adjoining areas, Churachandpur, Moreh and Kangpokpi on the night of May 3 and continued unabated the whole day of May 4.
Total internet ban came late on May 4 and “Shoot at sight” order was issued by the Government, but death and destruction continued whole night even after the heavy deployment of the Indian Army, and other Central Security Forces all over the State.
A humanitarian crisis is in hand and I don’t see any easy political solution with a seemingly indifferent attitude of the Central government, or is it a ‘Divide and Rule’ ploy of some Central leaders all along ?
The Central Government should have stationed long back adequate security at the borders between Myanmar and India so that illegal migrants, smuggling of illicit drugs and large quantity of arms and ammunitions are checked effectively.
If the Central Government was sincere enough to stop this some two decades back the present clash between two communities may not have happened.
I won’t elaborate on the politics and the players behind who have been planning since decades and orchestrated the ugly ethnic clash, but it pained me to see the trail of death and destruction of innocents on both sides, and the helplessness of the thousands of people in temporary Relief Camps all over the State, left homeless and stranded. I would like the Government to find an immediate solution to the humanitarian crisis and work in earnest to rehabilitate the innocents at the earliest and secure the trust they have in the Government.
Now is not the time to find faults with each other, not the time to bring out memories of hate and destruction, not the time for domination in Social Media, not the time to fall prey to some scrupulous politicians and ‘self style’ leaders, now is the time to reconcile and live in peace, now is the time for true politicians and leaders of all communities residing in OUR land to sit together and work for rebuilding the trust we almost lost. But the embers are still hot and a single matchstick can ignite the fire again. So let’s all be aware that only the innocents are the losers in the game.
Let PEACE prevail, may GOD bless us all.