Sunday, Apr 14, 2024 | Last Update : 03:06 AM IST

  Opinion   Edit  09 Nov 2023  AA Edit | Manipur mayhem: Govt has to mend old fissures

AA Edit | Manipur mayhem: Govt has to mend old fissures

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Nov 9, 2023, 11:32 pm IST
Updated : Nov 9, 2023, 11:32 pm IST

The latest incident is the abduction of five members from the Kuki-Zomi community from the border of Kuki-Zomi dominated Kangpokpi district

Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh during the launch of Permanent Housing Scheme for the displaced persons whose houses had been burnt down and damaged during the recent violence, in Imphal, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023. (PTI Photo)
 Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh during the launch of Permanent Housing Scheme for the displaced persons whose houses had been burnt down and damaged during the recent violence, in Imphal, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023. (PTI Photo)

The back-to-back abductions of people belonging to the two warring ethnic factions in Manipur in the last couple of days come as a rude reminder that little has changed since August when the Supreme Court observed that the constitutional machinery in the state has completely broken down. They also signal that the Union government’s misplaced strategy of ignoring the deep fissures that have developed in the population of the border state has not quite worked out and that it would take conscious efforts on the part of all stakeholders to return the state to normalcy.  

The latest incident is the abduction of five members from the Kuki-Zomi community from the border of the Kuki-Zomi dominated Kangpokpi district on Tuesday. Reports say a mob of around 1,000 stopped the family of an Indian Army soldier travelling in a car and took all members to an undisclosed destination. The mob beat up a 65-year-old before security forces were able to rescue him. He is in critical condition. The Army and Assam Rifles are now on a joint mission to trace the rest.  

Two days earlier, two teenagers belonging to Meitei community went missing in Kangpokpi on Sunday. The mobile phones belonging to the missing teenagers, who were on their way to the Sekmai area in Imphal West district on a two-wheeler, were recovered later. On Tuesday, police told an Imphal court that they suspected the two boys have been killed by cadres of the Kuki Revolutionary Army (U).

The ethnic strife that started in early May has claimed about 160 lives and made thousands homeless. Places of worship and educational institutions were set on fire when mobs went out to settle scores with each other as the state machinery either looked the other way or sided with one of the two warring factions. Independent observers including those sent by the Editors Guild of India were categorical when they said that the state government led by chief minister N. Biren Singh was negligent towards taking care of the crisis.

The Union government, which is responsible for the running of the nation as per the provisions of the Constitution, has chosen not to intervene. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not explained to the nation what is going on leave alone visiting the state. The home minister has been to the state but the visits have not yet had the desired effect. It appears Manipur and its suffering citizens have vanished from the national agenda.

The saving grace has been defence minister Rajnath Singh. While campaigning for his party in the elections in neighbouring Mizoram, Mr Singh recently called for a “heart-to-heart” conversation between the Meiteis and Kukis to bridge the “trust deficit”. Mr Singh must have gathered what has been going on in Manipur from the Army, which is praised for its non-partisan and professional conduct in the trouble-torn state. Mr Singh, as one of the senior-most members of the Modi Cabinet and an experienced politician, may well take the lead in the reconciliation. The people of the state, and of the nation, have a right see a closure of the issue. Silence and inaction has hardly ever helped resolve injustices. 

Tags: manipur violence, meitei, biren singh