Go back honestly to May 3 The start of it all
The Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF), the Committee on Tribal Unity (CoTU) and the Kuki Inpi, Manipur (KIM) have so far not at all bothered to go back to the genesis of the clash that broke out in all its ugliness on May 3 evening at Torbung. The three organisations have also stepped clear of the question of how and why gun toting elements participated in the Solidarity March on the said day and for reasons that should be obvious only to itself, the All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur seems to have taken a meaningful sabbatical, in so far as the ongoing clash is concerned. Remember the Tribal Solidarity March of May 3 was organised under the aegis of ATSUM. Other than raising the accusation that some Meiteis are involved in the drug trade, the said three organisations have also not answered who funded, organised and marketed the end products of the vast scale poppy plantation in Kuki dominated areas. This is a question which The Sangai Express has been raising consistently ever since the Government launched its War on Drugs campaign, obviously not satisfied with the reports of some small time tillers of the soil being pulled up. Who are the big fishes, is the persistent question that has been raised here but no answer had been forthcoming. There is still no answer other than the charges levelled by a former lady police officer on the television, but the story of the vast scale poppy plantation cannot be complete with just the allegations raised on the TV. The ITLF, CoTU and KIM have pointed their fingers at the Meitei community, but it has not gone beyond the stage of raising allegations. It would make so much more sense if they can only get hold of the infamous Lhoukhosei Zou and make his side of the story public. It would then go on to open the eyes of the public, but then again this is doubtful given the fact that Mr Zou and his followers were given a rousing reception after the charges against him were dropped by a lower Court. Why the case was not taken to a higher Court is something which only the Government of Manipur can answer, but with fingers pointed so blatantly at the Chief Minister, perhaps it would help for the Government to spell out the reason why it did not go to a higher Court. Or is it a case of the Government being satisfied with the ruling of the lower Court ?
War against narco terrorists is the eye catching slogan that has been used to good effect by the Co-ordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) and this is something that should not be swept aside easily. It would be interesting to see if ITLF, CoTU and KIM can negate the accusation raised by COCOMI coherently and not to kick start another round of trying to sell the victim story to the outside world. Not that anyone expects an honest answer from the said three Kuki organisations, but questions ought to be raised. From the day the clash started, The Sangai Express has been consistently going back to May 3 and tracing the genesis of the clash and this will continue, for to move forward it is necessary to go back to the beginning. The Tribal Solidarity March was far removed from the conventional understanding of a Solidarity March for it started with and ended up as a procession aimed against a particular community and the Nagas stayed clear of the violence that followed. It was not a march against the Government or any policy of the Government but a march against the Meiteis, a point which was proved beyond any doubt by the attack on the hapless villagers of Torbung. This is a fact and it cannot be brushed aside. ITLF, CoTU and KIM may say that setting on fire the Anglo-Kuki War Memorial Gate was the flash point, but why pick the Meiteis for that act of arson ? The Gate is situated at Leisang village, which is just 7.5 kilometres from Churachandpur town. Now which Meitei would have had the gumption to proceed to this village and set the gate on fire, that too on May 3 when the Tribal Solidarity March was on at Churachandpur ? Logic should give the answer.