Poser from a villager says it all Kamjong : Numbers don’t lie

This has not come from the world of the academia nor from any of those who are clubbed in the ‘intellectual’ class, but from a villager of Kamjong and it is profound. It also falls perfectly in line with the points raised by The Sangai Express in this very column ever since the ethnic clash started in all its bloodiness more than a year back in the evening of May 3, 2023. ‘The Kukis are at war in two geographically very different places with different opponents. One cannot help but wonder how an unorganised force is fighting a very organised war. How have they persevered for so long ? Who is helping them ? From where are they getting their arms’ is the profound observation that has come from a villager when a team of media persons visited Kamjong just a few days back. The answer can come only from the Government, meaning New Delhi and its security forces which have been tasked with the work of guarding the Indo-Myanmar border. Can answer, but no one expects a straight answer when Delhi has even felt it more convenient to keep the status of the Suspension of Operation pact under a shroud of ‘mystery’. No official line on its extension, but then if the pact is not extended then shouldn’t it mean that the pact has expired ? Will the mandarins at New Delhi dare to travel outside the country on an expired passport ? This apart, The Sangai Express has been bringing the news of the large number of refugees at Kamjong side in the last many days and now with the local folks at the border area of the district feeling the heat of the continuous influx of people from across the border, shouldn’t the Government take up the needed processes ? Figures do not lie and if what the villagers there have had to say is anything, the number of refugees from across the border has outnumbered the strength of the local people. K Ashang Khullen Aze, a non-descript village at the border has a population  of 118 covering 35 households while the number of refugees there is now 350. Apart from being sheerly outnumbered, the refugees from across the border are draining the resources of the village, if what a villager had to say is anything to go by. Firewood that would have lasted the villagers for a year is being exhausted within three months now, is another tale that has come and life in the hills heavily depends on firewood all throughout the year. A good indicator of what is going to come, is the grim prognosis of the villagers and if this report does not jolt New Delhi awake, one wonders what would.
Apart from taking the biometrics of the refugees what other steps has the Government taken up to tackle with the reality unfolding at the border area ? Here one is talking only about Kamjong, but how is the situation at Churachandpur, Pherzawl and Tengnoupal which share a long border with Myanmar ? No official information has come from the side of the Government on the status of the districts just mentioned, but this question is relevant, if the battle against infiltration is to be addressed. Long before the ethnic clash erupted, The Sangai Express had mooted the suggestion that it would prove more practical and feasible for the Government to acknowledge that there is infiltration and the best way forward should be to identify the refugees so that their movement can be monitored and ensure that they do not melt into the local population. And it is along this line that the suggestion of the border villages that the refugees be made to live within a demarcated area gains credence. This way it would be much easier to keep a tab on the movement and activities of the refugees from across the border and neutralise any effort for them to meld in with the local population. Imphal has to demonstrate that it is serious about tackling the issue of incursion  from across the international border and cross the Ts and dot the Is and it should be more than clear that infiltration can be tackled and checked with the right policy. House the refugees in designated places and don’t create a situation which will put the local, indigenous folks at a disadvantaged position.