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Words of caution for the expendable citizens

Viewing the country through the rose (or is it saffron?) tinted glass, the movers and shapers of the nation overestimated their own importance and invincibility to such an extent that what was initially hailed as the beginning of a new and radical changes in the society soon turned into a regime of intolerance and autocracy egged on by a support base unwilling to compromise or accommodate any other opinions or views not in sync with their hardened stand. Despite various path-breaking initiatives implemented to propel the nation towards becoming a leading country in various spheres, the over-the-top promises and inflated figures of achievements started a reverse slide in the trust factor among the public and it would not be much off the mark to state that the rapidly waning popularity of the present government at the centre has become a matter of grave concern.
What could prove to be the proverbial final nail in the coffin is the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) 2016 which has caused so much uproar and protests from all quarters cutting across ethnic, religious and ideological lines. It has presented  itself as an opportunity for parties, groups and organizations to come together thereby raising the possibility of working out their differences of religion, region or ideologies and drawing up an understanding or a working modality to enter into an alliance for a common goal. It has also become an opportunistic moment for various organizations and groups to organize protests demanding solutions with even the slightest connection to the present issue much like a festering wound attracting every kind of insects and flies. The perplexing part, of course happens to be that the wound is self-induced.

While the contents and technical aspects of the proposed CAB has become public knowledge, the main objective of this piece is to bring to the fore the genesis of the idea of the Bill and what it projects to fulfill in the future. If one would care to look back a couple of years, the promise made in 2014 to provide shelter to the prosecuted minorities in the neighbouring countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan could not have been without any political connotations. With so much of these illegal immigrants from across the borders already inside India, it goes without saying that the political largesse will certainly translate into votes. What the political think-tank failed to anticipate was the unstoppable stream of illegal immigrants crossing the border fences while security forces manning the border watched helplessly as witnessed from social media sites. What this would mean to the indigenous population might be nothing to be concerned about for the people in mainland India, but for the people in the north east, the already congested and much contested resources including land and employment opportunities become dearer and as such social flare-ups and communal tensions becomes more frequent. The already unstable life of the public is thrown into chaos thanks to the insensitive and ignorant leaders who decided to go with the words of their employees pumping out fake reports to please their bosses rather than try and feel the real pulse of the people before making such sensitive decisions which will undoubtedly have a really lasting effect on the continuity and even the very survival of a political entity.
At this juncture it is pertinent and indeed important to try and look at the big picture which the government at the centre is trying to put together, albeit in pieces and deceptive bits. For a region which doesn’t subscribe to the fanatical ideals of any religion one may follow, injecting elements which could replace the political scenario with those that can and will propagate and preserve the idea of Hindutva is not an unpleasant option because electoral politics is about numbers, even if those numbers happen to lack intuition and intelligence. 

Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham, Editor of Imphal Times has more than 15+ years in the field of Journalism. A seasoned editor, was a former editor of ISTV News. He resides in Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai, with his wife and parents.

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