Racing towards the one year mark Questions to Imphal, Delhi

A tragedy it is that even as Manipur is fast racing towards the completion of one year of ethnic clash between the Meiteis and the Kuki-Zos, one is constrained to ask  whether there is a Government in place or not. Even as armed elements in full battle gears participated in the Tribal Solidarity March of May 3, 2023 and then later went about systematically singling out and attacking houses belonging to the Meiteis at Churachandpur town and a little earlier at Torbung, there was nothing to show that the State Government was in place. Far from the Government agencies taking it upon themselves to protect the lives and properties of the citizens, it was left to groups of people to come together and transform themselves into Village Volunteers to protect the lives and properties of fellow folks. This in brief is how people defended themselves after the May 3 incident at Churachandpur and the situation has not changed one bit till now. It was and is the vacuum created by the Government that led to youngsters to group, arm themselves and take on the challenges posed to the existence of Manipur as a distinct geo-political reality and this is a fact that should not blow over the head of anyone. Why was the vacuum created is the question that every thinking man and woman must be raising within themselves. And it is amid this reality that Kumbi in Bishnupur district went up in protest, a protest never seen in the distant history of the land when security personnel arrested ten such Village Volunteers. The question is, why have Village Volunteers emerged and that too armed. This is a question which must be raised to the Government and it would be interesting to see how Imphal responds. In the earlier part of the conflict, Union Home Minister Amit Shah talked about the arms and ammos looted from police armouries across the length and breadth of the State, but never was the question raised why the arms were looted. Under what circumstances were the arms looted ? This is a question which should have been raised by the Government long ago and the answer lies in the very fact that the Government machinery failed to protect its own citizens. It is when the feeling of insecurity, the reality that there is no one to protect the lives and properties of the citizens, that civilians will rise to do what they think is needed and this is exactly what Manipur finds itself in today. The condition was created by the utter failure of the Government to show and demonstrate that it is there to protect the lives and properties of the civilians. The arms looted in Imphal have been accounted for but how about the guns and bombs that are being used to bombard Meitei villages located at the foothills ? Why has no one in the Government ever raised this poser ?
Delhi needs to be sincere in its approach. The silence on the status of the Suspension of Operation pact continues and the silence is deafening. Nothing was heard about the status of the pact after it expired on February 29 and if one applies the universally accepted logic then it should stand that if the pact is not extended, then it should stand cancelled or suspended. Once one’s driving license expires then it should be renewed else it will not be taken as legal. Is this universally accepted yardstick being applied or has the Union Home Ministry worked out a special clause to determine the validity or the SoO pact ? Either way it does not ring out the right message to the people and if this is how Delhi wants to play the game, then it should not come as a shock when Manipur cocks a snook at things the Government stands for. This is exactly what is happening in Manipur. Keep everything under a cloud of doubt, all under the illusion that things will settle down on its own and this reeks of everything that comes with the understanding of ‘taking the people for granted’. Imphal has a lot to answer for, starting from why the Tribal Solidarity Rally was allowed to be held in the first place and to get a better understanding of this poser one will need to go back to the days preceding May 3, 2023 to why civilians felt compelled to take up the task of protecting their own lives and properties. The failure of the Government is writ large even as Manipur races towards the one year mark of the ongoing clash.