Huge, delicate responsibility ahead Reimpose AFSPA call

The responsibility is huge. It is also extremely delicate. Points which those stan- ding by the idea of Manipur should be aware of and need to act accordingly. Protecting and promoting the idea of Manipur should go beyond the understanding of keeping the territorial integrity of Manipur intact, though this by no means is important, and this is all that more so in the face of the continued challenges being mounted on the very idea of Manipur as a distinct geo-political reality.  The ethnic clash is already into its fourth month and it is more than clear that Imphal has no idea on how to take the State to the path of normalcy. Delhi at best is indifferent and it is in the midst of the ’deafening silence’ maintained by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that so many demands which challenge the idea of Manipur have been raised. The words ‘deafening silence’ is qualified by the inverted commas for the Prime Minister did come out strongly against the nude parade of two Kuki girls on July 20, but this was more of an aberration, in the sense that the Prime Minister did not go into the clash but deemed it better to refer to just one incident ! It is against this reality that so many demands have been raised, chiefly the call for a separate administration by the ten Kuki-Chin MLAs. That the two Kuki-Chin Ministers continue to enjoy the perks and pelfs of being Ministers is another thing, but it remains that the ‘separate administration’ call has given new dynamics to the ongoing clash. Add the call ‘Reimpose AFSPA in the valley area’ and the forces tearing apart the idea of Manipur should be very clear to all those who stand by the belief of Manipur. It is more than clear that the call for the Army Act is not borne out of any desire to see the security personnel legally protected, but to spite the people who live in the valley area, or the Meiteis. The Kuki Inpi, Manipur (KIM), Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF) and Committee on Tribal Unity (CoTU) sure know how to take political mileage out of any given situation and their call to reimpose AFSPA came after Army sources were quoted by The Hindu  as stating that the Army is facing challenges in Manipur without the immunity granted by AFSPA. This was on July 9 and the call to reimpose AFSPA in the valley districts started reverberating across Manipur. No doubt that KIM, ITLF and CoTU have mastered the fine art of timing and the seed for the slogan ‘reimpose AFSPA’ may be said to have been planted on July 9. The high level of politics at play here should ideally not miss the eye of anyone, but the question of bigger import is whether the people who stand by the idea of Manipur have it in them to move a rung or two up from the street level politics.
No easy answer on when Manipur can be expected to walk the road to peace and normalcy, but remember the ‘separate administration’ votaries have already managed to take it to the international level and take their narrative to the floor of the European Parliament. The media based outside Manipur too has lapped up their victim story and are more than satisfied with just telling their side of the story to the world. The reality should not be missed on anyone. More than enough reason for everyone to think before acting, to discuss and seek out suggestions from well informed, well intentioned people and not give room to rabble rousers. All these need co-ordinated, informed planning and the co-operation of the people to nullify the ‘separate administration’ call. Look at the immediate precursor of the ‘re-impose AFSPA’ demand and this is where the people standing by Manipur cannot afford to give any leeway that can be exploited to suit their agenda. The question is whether people as a whole are willing to listen to reasoning and what the well informed folks have got to say. It cannot be a free for all situation, for such a trend can only lead to anarchy and allowing such a state would amount to playing into the hands of the adversary. Think before acting. Move up from the street level politics. It is not only muscles which will save Manipur, but sane thoughts, thoughts and ideas which come from the well informed people.