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Chief Minister Okram Ibobi’s silent message to Modi?

By Iboyaima Laithangbam
It is perhaps for the first time in Manipur that cows were garlanded, venerated and worshipped in a government function held in public. The religious relevance of the presence of two cows in the inauguration of the Sanjenthong bridge is seriously questioned in a secular state like Manipur where many people of different faiths are there.
Ibobi may be a devout Hindu. However it is in contravention of the secular practice that a government function is conducted purely on the basis of religious faith of a particular community. It amounts to imposing Hinduism on others.

A parallel can be drawn with the resurgence of the Hindu groups after the installation of the Modi government. Banning cow slaughter and sale of beef are not to the liking of other groups and Kiren Rijiju was bold enough to admit that he eats beef though he was arms twisted to recant incoherently later under pressure. Politically Ibobi and those at the centre are poles apart. But was he semaphoring a silent message to those who can finish his political dominance to the effect that his government is all for the protection of cows? It is instructive to recall what Gaikhangam had said ahead of the ADC polls. He ridiculed the way the BJP was all for banning cow slaughter and yet the BJP candidates in the hill districts were hosting lunches and dinners with curried beef to the voters.
Understandably there was no riposte. The government ought to make a clarification on this secular issue
since there is no opposition member to put the incisive question. Secularism should not be thrown overboard for the political gains of Ibobi who seems to be at the end of the rope.

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