The NDA Government led by BJP finally tabled National Sports University (NSU) Bill 2017 in the Lok Sabha on August 10. Although the project has been delayed for quite a long time, it has finally taken a step forward. NSU is a prized trophy collectively won by the consistent,

One may call it sheer coincidence or perfect synchronization. Whereas the State of Manipur has been commemorating the painful but heroic death of Pebam Chittaranjan, then just 28 year old who self immolated demanding complete repeal of the infamous Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act or AFSPA 1958 from Manipur, there is a news report which says that Manipur and Assam can now decide on AFSPA.

If media reports on both sides of the Himalayas are any indication, China and India are literally standing on power kegs, ready to flex their military muscles at the slightest provocation from either side. Often it is said that there is no historical enmity between the two countries but there is a long standing rivalry between the world’s two most populous countries. Although the latest flash point was the Chinese attempt to construct a mountain road over Doklam plateau in western Bhutan which Bhutan protested and India intervened directly by sending troops, for quite some time, India and China have been eyeing each other warily.

Roll back district creation decision. This is the United Naga Council and various Naga civil societies of Manipur. No roll back of district creation. This is the call from different CSOs of Kangpokpi district spearheaded by the Kuki Students’ Organisation, Kangpokpi. Caught in the middle is the BJP led Government.

Save the indigenous people of the land. This slogan is central to the demands put forth by the KSA to bar non-locals from contesting elections in the State, delete all the non-locals from the voting list as well as the demand of the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) to enact a legislation to check the large scale influx of non-local people into the State. Underlining the point that all these demands, though championed by different groups, centre around the future of the indigenous people vis-a-vis the non-local people, who have been flooding Manipur for long. Why Manipur continues to attract so many non-local people has been touched upon many times in this column and while the demand to pass a Bill to protect the indigenous people should be there, all must also give some thought on why such a big vacuum has been created in the first place to let others rush in and fill up the vacuum. Others rushing in to the fill any vacuum thus created is the law of nature and this is something which cannot be wished away that easily.

24 hours total shutdown called by the Kuki Students’ Organisation, Sadar Hills. A sit-in protest called by the National Sports University Haraothel Protection Committee and the Senjam Khunou and Senjam Chirang Joint Development Committee at the time the total shutdown was on. At centre of it all is the decision of the State Government to establish the National Sports University at Haraothel. The bone of contention is obviously the claim raised by the KSO and different Kuki civil society organisations that the proposed sports varsity has encroached on their ancestral land coupled with the fact that during an inspection tour of the site earmarked for the proposed sports varsity, Chief Minister N Biren had stated that there is no dispute over the varsity site.

That the BJP led Government is trying to be different from the Congress Government of the last 15 years is clear. The question however is, different in what sense ? Is the BJP led Government going to be satisfied with only changing its approach to the various issues facing the State or is it ready to change the mental set up of the previous Government, which has taken deep roots.

It may be just eight vehicles and the amount involved may be peanuts when compared to the bigger and more ‘lucrative’ scams that the State has seen but in cracking down on the auction of eight vehicles of Imphal Municipal Corporation, a message has been sent out. And the message is undoubtedly the presence of an Opposition which knows how to make the right noise.

In the news for all the wrong reasons in the last couple of years, August 5, 2017 however scripted a different story as Churachandpur made it to the news for the right reason. And this is something which not every district in Manipur can lay claim to. So from the three Bills of 2015, to the manner in which some cadres of SoO groups have been running riot in the town of Churachandpur, to the outbreak of diseases ranging from Rabies to Dengue and Japanese Encephalitis, Churachandpur today is in the news for waking up to the reality and launching a massive cleanliness drive in the heart of the town.

Six years is a long time, a very long time. And this is more so when it comes to the question of not constructing the needed shelter or shed for the people who have been evacuated or moved to a different site. It was with the noble objective of providing parking space to passenger vehicles that the market shed at Nagamapal was dismantled sometime in 2011 and the vendors were told to move to Lamphel.

Armed groups making it to the news is an accepted thing. Not taking names, but so many armed groups are in the news on a regular basis, whether it is a statement issued by them, whether it is about an arrest or two, whether it is a rebuttal to the claims made by the police or the Assam Rifles or the army, when there is an ambush or a clash between the armed groups and the security personnel or when it is about any talk process or agreement inked between the armed group in question and the Government.

From 11 am till 11.50 pm and this is a clear reflection of a strong Opposition at work. Perhaps this was the first time that the Assembly session stretched on for 12 hours on August 1, throw in the one hour of lunch break, and this underlines the point that the Opposition is not ready to give the long rope to the ruling BJP and its partners in Government. This is what Manipur needs.