The stage is set for the election to 18 Municipal Councils and 8 Nagar Panchayats. Though the election and its campaigns do not generate as much heat as the periodic Legislative Assembly elections, the significance of the local body election cannot be undermined.

Understanding political conflict & symptomatic
One may call it skirmishes or random armed confrontation as witnessed between Grihang and Bungpa Khunou villages of Ukhrul district in the night of January 5. No doubt militancy has receded considerably since the past four/five years in Manipur but the core issue remains unresolved and it is very much alive.

The February 6 event would be highly significant and it would have far-reaching implications. A joint committee formed by the All Manipur United Clubs’ Organisation (AMUCO), the United Committee Manipur (UCM) and the Committee of Civil Societies Kangleipak (CCSK) has declared that they will hold a mass rally on February 6, 2016.

Now the death toll has reached eight and reports of more casualties and damages have been pouring in from different parts of the State. It is heartening to learn that both the Government of India as well as the State Government has assured all necessary assistance to all the people affected by the devastating earthquake. Fortunately, no major aftershocks have been recorded so far.

Indeed this is catastrophic, tragic and unprecedented. Secen people have been killed and hundreds of structures have been either damaged or destroyed. Of course we are talking about the devastating earthquake which jolted the entire North East region in the wee hours today with its epicentre at Tamenglong.

Trust deficit is writ large. At least this much must be accepted by all stake holders; be it the State Government, the civil society organisations spearheading the mass movement for enacting a constitutional safeguard for protection of indigenous people or the other party which is deadly opposed to the three Bills passed by the Manipur Legislative Assembly purportedly for protection of indigenous people.