Home » Farmers’ plight exacerbated by ongoing violence: urgent need for effective governance

Farmers’ plight exacerbated by ongoing violence: urgent need for effective governance

by Rinku Khumukcham
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For the past two months, Manipur has been engulfed in a disturbing wave of violence, leaving no resident unaffected, regardless of their ethnic background. This unrest has sown seeds of animosity among different communities, casting a dark cloud over the entire region. Sadly, it is the most vulnerable groups, particularly low-income individuals and farmers, who have borne the heaviest burden. Troubling reports had surfaced, revealing incidents of suspected Kuki militants resorting to firing, resulting in the injury of a farmer in the Phubala area of Bishnupur District around a week ago.
Even before this attack, the state government had promised to deploy security forces in sensitive areas to safeguard farmers and ensure the smooth progress of agricultural activities. However, a critical question now looms large: How long can the government sustain this security arrangement? Will it extend beyond the initial ploughing stage to cover cultivation and cropping? Regrettably, the likelihood of such a commitment seems increasingly doubtful, leaving farmers in a perpetual state of fear and vulnerability to attacks by Kuki militants.
Reports have also emerged of Kuki militants targeting and consuming livestock belonging to farmers in the Bishnupur area. Although some state forces have been stationed in the foothills, these locations are far removed from the sensitive areas, prompting concerns over the effectiveness of this deployment. Farmers argue that the security forces provided by the government are mere symbols, failing to offer substantial assistance. They insist that the forces should be stationed in the foothills, enabling them to resume cultivation on the vast untended lands. It is disheartening to note that the government’s efforts thus far have yielded minimal results. Farmers continue to lack adequate security measures and live in constant fear, avoiding areas where Kuki militants are expected to strike. Furthermore, their worries extend to the cropping season, fearing that Kuki militants may descend and seize their hard-earned crops, rendering their efforts futile.
While there may be isolated success stories in certain pockets, overall, the government’s response has proven ineffective. It is crucial for the government to embrace a long-term solution that addresses the underlying causes of the violence and ensures the safety and security of all citizens. Relying on temporary measures, such as deploying security forces only during cultivation periods, would be perilous for farmers. Instead, the government must engage in meaningful dialogue with those opposing the idea of a collective and united Manipur, striving for a resolution that respects the interests of all parties involved. Unfortunately, the government’s current approach seems to encapsulate various short-term solutions, which can be perceived as mere diversions from the existing chaos.
Throughout the history of independent India, we have witnessed various governments come and go, but seldom have we seen such a stark display of incapability in addressing the challenges at hand. Manipur urgently needs a capable government that can extinguish the flames of violence and restore lasting stability. The time has come for the government to rise to the occasion, demonstrating an unwavering commitment to safeguarding the well-being of its people and preserving the harmony and integrity of Manipur. Failure to act decisively will only exacerbate the catastrophic situation that looms over this troubled state.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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