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Internet is Back, But Where is Peace?

by Aribam Bishwajit
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The return of mobile internet services in Manipur after a harrowing five-month blackout has been met with justified relief and a sense of triumph. Yet, this digital revival serves as a stark, symbolic reflection of a far more profound desire of the Manipur populace: the innate human need for harmony, understanding, and peace.
Chief Minister N Biren Singh’s tenure has seen the state repeatedly plunged into digital darkness. This recurrent deprivation of a fundamental right, while causing its fair share of disruptions, has stirred a more profound existential debate among the people. Beneath the facade of reluctant acceptance, there brews a tempest of discontent. The people’s belief that these bans are more than mere administrative decisions — that they might be muzzles to silence critical voices — adds another layer to their grievance. While the internet’s restoration is a positive step, it’s crucial to acknowledge that it is but a microcosm of the broader restoration the people fervently seek. The heart of the matter remains: a peaceful and inclusive society is Manipur’s true quest.
Recent incidents, such as the detention of five village volunteers, have further stoked the embers of unrest, dominating conversations from urban centers to remote villages. But these events, as unsettling as they may be, should not divert attention from the broader, pressing challenges. With looming threats like narco-terrorism and the evident reticence of ten pivotal MLAs to engage in constructive dialogue with the state, it becomes evident that piecemeal solutions won’t suffice.
Further deepening the crisis is the widening rift between the Meiteis and the Zo-Kuki communities — a division that stands in stark contradiction to Manipur’s legacy of unity and shared cultural richness. This new paradigm of enforced territorial boundaries and mistrust is a painful deviation from a past that celebrated unity in diversity.
With digital channels now alive and buzzing, the people of Manipur find themselves wielding a potent tool. The age-old axiom that violence only begets more violence should guide online discourse. This platform can now serve as a crucible for robust, informed, and constructive discussions against the backdrop of the state’s current predicament. It’s an opportune moment for the government to not only lend an ear but to actively engage, showcasing a commitment to restoring not just digital connections but, more critically, the very soul of Manipur — its harmonious spirit and collective aspirations.

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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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