Lessons learnt in the last one year All questions and questions

One year since Manipur erupted in ethnic violence with no indication that a solution is in sight. The question is, whether Manipur has been able to sift facts from fiction in the last 365 days, whether Manipur has taken any meaningful strides towards breaking the backbone of the drug ring and whether Manipur is on the way to identify the illegal immigrants who have encroached into forest land and set up new settlements, with Chief Minister N Biren even going to the extent of proclaiming that 996 new villages have mushroomed since 2006 some days back. If the setting up of new settlements have come to the knowledge of the Government now then what is stopping it from getting the needed things done is the natural question and the line ‘since 2006’ is a powerful statement in the sense that it dates back to 18 years. Most importantly what is the status of the Suspension of Operation pact at the moment ? There has been no announcement that the SoO pact has been extended after February 29, and logic says that if the pact is not extended then it stands that its validity has expired. To quote an example cited earlier, one cannot show a driving license which has expired as a valid document and it needs to be renewed. Try going abroad with a Passport which validity has expired and the point that is sought to be made here should be clear. If this is the case then what is stopping the Army and the para-military forces like the Assam Rifles from cracking down on the SoO cadres ? Has Manipur made any progress on getting to know the exact ‘official status’ of SoO even as the ethnic violence has completed one year ? These are questions which the people should be raising now and these questions should come along with the bigger objective of hammering out a resolution. Or is it going to be a case of Manipur observing May 3, 2025 as the completion of two years of ethnic violence ? As noted on more than one occasion in this column, the process of finding a solution should come from the people, but the solution should come along with addressing the questions raised in the opening lines of this commentary. Break the backbone of the narco-terrorists, identify and deport all the illegal immigrants, identify the new settlements that have mushroomed in the last many years are the premises on which Manipur has been hitting back at the narco-terrorists and it is only right that questions on whether the Government at Imphal is moving towards answering these points or not should be raised now. It is also important for Delhi and Imphal to acknowledge that while the guns that have gone missing from the police armouries have been noted no one seems to be questioning from where the guns that are being used to fire at villages located at the foothills have come from. Apart from the selective silence on this point, why is the Security Advisor now quiet on the occupancy status inside the SoO camps or are there no inspection drives there now ?
There must be a reason for the continued silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, even though the clash has completed one full year. And the silence has only laid the ground for conspiracy theories to do the round and this is where one wonders what the Government at Imphal must be planning ‘to be able’ to present the case of Manipur to the Prime Minister in person. Either way it does not speak well of the BJP Government, both in Imphal and New Delhi for the fact stands that it is right under their nose that Manipur has been ‘buffered’ into two zones and no Meitei can travel beyond Sekmai to the north, beyond Moirang to the west and beyond Pallel to the south. Likewise no one from the Kuki-Zo community is able to come to Imphal and the other valley districts where the Meiteis live. The reason why the personal intervention of the Prime Minister is felt necessary should be obvious. Even after 365 days, there is no sign that things will improve. It is only Delhi, at the level of the Prime Minister, which can step in and take some meaningful course of action to put the understanding of normalcy on track. This is not to belittle the immense responsibility of the people themselves, but the push needs to come from somewhere and Delhi is best placed to give that push.