Fundamental points to be kept in mind Test of people’s character

The eruption of violence after a lull of some time should more than indicate that what Manipur now needs is some voice of sanity that may be effectively conveyed to the outside world and this is where the importance of the coming Lok Sabha elections should be clear. It is not the contesting narratives that one is interested in seeing either in print or otherwise, but the fact that Manipur has been bleeding for nearly a year now and Delhi or rather Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues to remain silent, a silence that borders more on indifference. The need now is to send someone to the lower House of Parliament, someone who can tell the story of Manipur not only on the floor of Parliament but also outside the House and this reality should be kept in mind while making up one’s mind on which button to push on the EVM come April 19.  There is a reason why elections are held and there is a reason why Manipur needs to elect the right person to represent the people in the highest decision making body in the country. A point which should be acknowledged and accordingly acted upon. For too long Manipur has been sending inept personalities to Parliament and now is the time to change this. What should matter most is whether people are ready to go in for the needed change and send someone who can present the case of Manipur effectively. This is where people also need to look beyond the obvious and try to understand the pattern behind the violence and accordingly act upon it and perhaps the best opportunity for the people speak out their stand is on April 19. That this is going to be the most important date for the people need not be overstressed, and the crucial question is whether the people have realised and acknowledged this or not. This is the time for the people to strike a stand and the best medium to speak one’s position and mind is the EVM. The power of the ballot, a fact which the people should keep in mind while exercising their choice on April 19. As noted in an earlier commentary here, the 2024 Parliamentary election is a sharp departure from the earlier such elections held for it has come amid the ongoing clash and when the idea of Manipur has been challenged so nonchalantly. And this challenge to the understanding of Manipur as a distinct geo- political reality should be seen and understood beyond the call of a Separate Administration. In short the idea of Manipur should be understood as a Manipur where people of different communities reside and one has to delve a little deeper to understand the pattern of violence amid the ongoing clash.
Is there something which has allowed the violence to linger on for nearly one year now ? Why and how the Tribal Solidarity March of May 3, 2023 was allowed to be staged in the first place ? Were not the ugly happenings at Churachandpur just a few days before May 3 of 2023 enough of a pointer of the charged atmosphere at the said district ? How did armed elements come to participate in the Tribal Solidarity March ? Who lit the first match stick that set on fire the houses of so many civilians at Torbung and later at Churachandpur ? Why did the violence erupt only at Churachand-pur and soon spread to Kangpokpi and Moreh ? Was the rally in any way related to the directive of the High Court of Manipur to Imphal to send the report that the Meiteis be included in the ST list ? Can the Judiciary decide whether a community fits the bill to be tagged a Scheduled Tribe ? No answer has been forthcoming on why civilian houses were first targeted at Torbung and Churachandpur. No one has bothered to question why the rally ended peacefully at the Naga dominated districts but wound up violently at Churachandpur. Or if the people of Churachandpur had any grievances against the Government, why were civilians targeted ? Shouldn’t the protest be against the policies and programmes of the Government ? These questions will keep hanging in the air, as in the past 11 months, and to come anywhere near to the answers, the people have to vote wisely and with a conscience keeping the situation in mind. It is not only the candidates whose fate will be sealed on April 19 and April 26, but also the fate of Manipur to a large extent. These points should be kept in mind while casting one’s vote. The test of character of the people starts now.