ATSUM spilling the beans now Tryst with infamy

The tryst with infamy is complete. Even as former office bearers of the All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur minced no words in asserting that the Churachandpur based Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF) and the Kangpokpi based Committee on Tribal Unity (CoTU) do not carry the mandate of the tribal people, came the news of the office of the ITLF being vandalised in the dead of the night of March 17 at Chura-chandpur. Why the office of the ITLF was targeted is something best left to the investigating agency concerned, but what the former leaders of ATSUM have pointed out is extremely relevant and perhaps it would have helped if this had come earlier, say in the first few days of the violence after it erupted on May 3, 2023. It is there on record that the Tribal Solidarity March of May 3, 2023 was organised under the aegis of ATSUM, but within a blink of the eye, or within the first few matches being struck at Torbung and Churachandpur on the said day, it was the ITLF which emerged in all its ugliness. Same is the case with CoTU at Kangpokpi. The very fact that the former officer bearers of ATSUM admitted to The Sangai Express that the rally wounded up peacefully in the Naga dominated districts of Senapati, Ukhrul, Tamenglong and other places but turned violent only at Chura-chandpur and soon spread to Kangpokpi and Moreh, should be an open and shut case. A case which squarely says that ITLF and CoTU are fronts of the gun wielding elements who took part in the Tribal Solidarity March and led from the front in attacking Torbung and Meitei residences at Chura-chandpur. It was also with a reason why The Sangai Express had on more than one occasion cocked a snook at the move to tag the term ‘Indigenous’ to the name ITLF as well as the intention of putting words ‘Tribal Unity’ as in CoTU. Now with former leaders of ATSUM openly asserting that these two entities do not carry the mandate of the tribal people, The Sangai Express stands vindicated. This is also the stand of Manipur. That the Tribal Solidarity March and the reason cooked up for organising the rally was just an alibi is something which must be clear to anyone who have something between their ears and it is under this lie that ITLF and CoTU have been staying in the limelight and dictating how the people of Churachandpur and Kangpokpi must think, vocalise and even eat, drink and sleep. Goebbels, or to give his full name, Paul Joseph Goebbels surely has dedicated followers who have cooked up the name ITLF and CoTU and managed to upstage him in so far as spreading false propaganda is concerned.
Lies, lies and more lies. And it is on the premise of these lies that the call for a Separate Administration has been rung out and obviously the longer the clash continues, the more it would benefit those who seek to tear apart the understanding of Manipur. It is this point which Imphal should understand and acknowledge that throwing one’s weight around and indulging in muscle flexing exercise all under the assertion of doing something for the people amounts to playing right into the hands of these elements who are out there to disfigure Manipur. The politics at play here-the politics of muscle and money power, the politics of one upmanship, the politics of instilling fear and intimidation-and perhaps the mastermind behind these politics must be under the impression that the ongoing violence is the time to assert one’s presence in the lives of everyone. This is what Manipur should be on guard against, even as the fight is on to protect and nurture the understanding of Manipur as a distinct geo- political reality. The focus should be on how to show the ITLF and CoTU for what they are and obviously the manner in which the Tribal Solidarity March of May 3, 2023 was so expertly hijacked and given a totally different direction at Churachandpur is something which need to be told and retold in such a manner that it convinces the people who matter. And certainly letting chaos rule Imphal and cocking a snook at the understanding of the rule of law will run counter to the idea and suggestion of calling out the ITLF and CoTU.