In total chaos since May 3 evening A free for all situation

Everything is in chaos. This is the reality and there can be no two ways about it. The much vaunted Central security forces, the crack State police commandos, both infamous for using their muscle power on the hapless civilians-the fake encounter cases which the Supreme Court took up, the number of mass killings or massacres, the muscle flexing exercise just one day ahead of every Republic Day celebration and Independence Day-today seem totally incapable of handling the situation in the face of the relentless gun shots being fired on the people living at the foothills. In such a situation, it is not surprising to see vigilantes rushing in to fill the vacuum vacated by the Government and what one sees today is chaos and confusion, leading to questions such as who is batting for the understanding of Manipur as a geo-political entity ? At one level, the answer seems easy with many coming under the false notion that blocking the free movement of people and subjecting them to inane questioning, such as ‘Presski Meena Cycle Thoubaro ?’ ‘I-Card Puthoraku,’ ‘Bandhne-bandh, doctor oigera, nurse oigera, hospitalda thabak touba oigera, loinamakta kolli’ is in line with the need of the time and situation. No one without the immediate need to go out, such as one’s duty at the newspaper/broadcasting office, collecting reports and news about the very bandh which has been enforced, the hospital to attend to the sick and ailing, the water supply work one has to attend to, would venture out. No one seems ready to come to terms with the fact that anyone out on the road on a bandh day is out there with a purpose, such as taking a patient to the hospital or to a testing centre, or going to the airport to catch a flight, or to attend to one’s duty which cannot be missed, etc. Having said this, it should also be clear to the powers that be, the Government and its machineries, that situation is not normal and it to deal with such an abnormal situation that village defence volunteers have emerged on either side. The reality is, the valley people or the Meiteis do not trust the Central security forces particularly the Assam Rifles and the hill people or to be more specific the Kukis do not trust the State police personnel. This is the ugly reality and while certain course of action seems to have been taken up against the village volunteers in the valley, with five of them having been arrested as recently as on September 16 evening, nothing is heard about any action taken up against those who have been continuously firing at the Meitei villages located at the foothills. It is amid this reality that the common people in Imphal had to face severe inconveniences on Day I of the 48 hours bandh.
No one seems to know the way forward, least of all Imphal and Delhi. The silence of Delhi, read Prime Minister Narendra Modi, could mean so many things, but what is obviously clear is indifference coupled with the lack of any idea on how to deal with the situation. This is perhaps one primary reason why different schools of thought have emerged in the last more than 110 days. Amid the madness there is one voice or school of thought which says that all must work towards peace so that Manipur can return to normalcy, while on the other hand is the more radical train of thought perhaps best exemplified by the slogan, ‘Solution first, peace later,’ which has been championed by the Committee on Tribal Unity (CoTU) and Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF). Add the many individual ‘experts’ who have gained a certain degree of notoriety with their ‘better than the others’ approach with the State Government constrained to lodge cases against some such elements. As observed earlier, no one knows when things will normalise, and the gravity of the silence of the Prime Minister will be better understood in the backdrop of the fact that over 60,000 people are currently homeless. More than 170 people have been killed and over 30 people have been reported missing since the evening of May 3. No one knows whether the displaced 60,000 people will be placed in the position to return home. Suffice it to say that the levelled to the ground houses of many at Churachandpur reflects the hatred with which the houses were razed to the ground.