Classic case of victimising the victims

It is a classic case of victimising the victims. Of course, we are referring to the occupation of abandoned Meitei houses by Kukis at Ikou. Ikou and adjoining Meitei villages in Imphal East district were attacked by Kuki militants and their supporters on May 3, the day Meitei houses and other properties were burnt down in Churachandpur which only points to the fact that the offensive was pre-planned and premeditated. Like in Churachandpur, Meitei people of Ikou and adjoining villages such as Sadu Yengkhuman, Dolaithabi and Leitanpokpi were driven out by opening fire indiscriminately. The Kuki militants also burnt down many houses. Some houses were left unburnt. The Kuki militants and their supporters are now occupying and living in these houses whereas the real owners are taking refuge in relief camps and other safer places. Such disdainful intrusion is like rubbing salt to festering wounds. It has already created a very deep sense of resentment, both against the intruders and the authorities. “The Government and the security forces’ failure to evict the Kukis from the Meitei villages and houses is akin to inviting more trouble that would land Manipur in a bigger conflict”. These were the exact words of the Apex Committee of Victim Villagers of Ikou, Sadu Yengkhuman, Dolaithabi and Leitanpokpi Mairenpat Awang Leikai. Even as the victims’ sentiment has been hurt to the extreme, the intruders’ arrogance and boldness have been only bloating with many of them going to the extent of tilling paddy fields that belong to Meitei villagers. This is neither the first nor a single case of Kuki intruders occupying and living in abandoned Meitei houses. Earlier in August, some Kuki men were found living in abandoned Meitei houses at Torbung Bazar Mamang in Bishnupur district. They even built a new secret track to facilitate easy access to the abandoned Meitei village. One pertinent question arises here. What are the Government and its security agencies doing in the face of this bold intrusion?    
Referring to the infamous Churachandpur rally of May 3, 2023 which marked the beginning of a fierce and vicious offensive against Meitei people, Chief Minister N Biren had admitted that there were intelligence failure and security lapses. Now the violence is in its fifth month. The Government and its security agencies cannot afford any lapses or loopholes at this stage. But we fear that there are still huge security lapses if the Kuki militants’ relentless attacks and intrusion into Meitei villages are any indication. It is the security forces’ failure or lapses or inefficinecy which is emboldening the Kuki militants. Can anyone explain how the Kuki militants sneaked into Kwakta in Bishnupur district in the wee hours of August 5, shot and hacked to death three sleeping men after crossing a buffer zone of 2 Kms, if it was not a clear case of security lapses? Reports say that many buffer zones have been created at different areas with the primary objective of containing the violence. While some of these buffer zones have succeeded in containing the violence in the surrounding areas, some others are being violated at will by a particular side. Buffer zones should be a means to restrain both the parties, not just one party. If the cold blooded murder of the three sleeping men, the shooting of a farmer at Naranseina which sparked days of intense gun battles and occupation of abandoned Meitei houses by Kukis are any indication, some of these buffer zones have failed miserably to serve their intended purposes. Rather, they seem to be serving the interest of a single party. It was the State’s intelligence failure and security lapses which plunged the State into the present violent crisis, in the course of which many precious lives have been lost, thousands of houses burnt down and tens of thousands rendered homeless. Any further lapses, we fear, will be catastrophic.  If the State is working genuinely to resettle the displaced people at their homes, it should start with immediate eviction of the intruders who are currently occupying and living in the houses of victims.