Silent on the remains at CCpur Aiding the victim story

For over 120 days, that is since the evening of May 3, and it has always been about the ongoing clash between the Kukis and the Meiteis. Making it all that more significant is the fact that there is nothing to suggest that things will take a turn for the better. Yet life goes on and it will go on, even for those who have been displaced and presently holed up in one of the numerous relief centres set up across the State. There are yet others who have taken shelter with relatives and maybe even friends and the number of displaced persons could be much higher than the official count. Questions which nobody seems to have given a thought to, but a reality every waking and even sleeping hour for those who have been ruthlessly uprooted from the place they called home. Many more have taken flight to places outside Manipur to places such as Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune and closer home Guwahati, Shillong and Mizoram. This class would certainly come under the understanding of the ‘more fortunate few’ and this is the reality that is Manipur today. Adding to the woes of the people who have been cruelly uprooted from their homes is the fact that no concrete steps can be seen taken up to bring a semblance of normalcy to the State and nothing can be more tragic than this. As repeatedly stated many times in this column, the first step towards any semblance of normalcy should come from the people but this is easier said than done. Even after more than 120 days, the body count continues to pile up. Situation has not changed a bit. It is more than apparent that keeping a tab on the body count has sort of become the accepted norm. Amid this, the media war continues. And the war of words is nothing but a smear campaign and the mantra for everyone today is to open a Twitter or X account. Assume a suitable name and spin out a narrative that suits one’s agenda. Influence the narrative in such a way that what emerges is a totally lopsided version of what is actually happening at the ground. Aiding or encouraging such a trend is the presence of some parachute story tellers who have never hesitated in lapping up the doctored version and selling the manufactured stories for the world to lap up. This is the age of instant information and invading the social media via the different platforms, particularly X, and influence the story that is being told is today the prime occupation of quite a large number of ‘fertile minds.’ Not that such a campaign will help take the people and the State anywhere near the understanding of normalcy.
May 3 evening to September 8 and the ‘war’ rages on. The Government has worked out from where the guns being used in the valley have come, with even Union Home Minister having taken a grim note of the number of guns looted from the police armouries. Yet, none from the Government has raised a question on from where the guns being used to fire at the villages located at the foothills have come from. Are the guns being used, only the single barrel or country made guns ? From where have the endless rounds of bullets fired at the foothill villages come from ? Why have no detailed reports on the Meitei localities which have been flattened to the ground at Churachandpur come ? Only those reporters or correspondents who had access to Churachandpur would have been in a position to file the story, but this did not happen, and this is where one can get more than a fair idea of the push being given to the victim story that has been peddled. How about the Meitei settlements at Moreh ? How about Kangpokpi ?  Be very clear, it is the lop sided stories that have been peddled to the outside world that can be said to be another factor for prolonging the clash. No one would refute the fact that the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF) is one heck of a smart organisation, which knows when and how to respond to any given situation and this can be aptly summed up by the speed with which their version of the Pallel clash on September 8 was uploaded on X and it is on the basis of their version that the initial reports of the clash were carried by the media in different parts of the country. The ITLF version came at that point of time when people at Imphal and the valley districts were still trying to get a clearer picture of the clash ! Talk about being on the alert and the response of ITLF to the Pallel clash will surely go down as a classic example to be studied.