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Democracy infected: When people turns violent against High Court order

The uproar by section of people against the Manipur High Court order regarding the ban on mining of sand stones from River bed is a serious one. Even though there are some legitimacy to the anger of labourers who live on the sands and stones from the River bed; the way they responded to the High Court order is a sign of Judiciary becoming weaker then the Legislative and the Executive. Moreover, the failure of the state machineries, either due to incompetency or due to pressure, in honouring the verdict of the Manipur High court indicates downgrading of the Judiciary. To come straight to the point the weakening of Judiciary is nothing but another symptom of infection to the democracy of the Country. If people stop respecting/ honoring  the judiciary and if people started going to the street by using violent means protesting High Court order and if the state remain quiet looking for some sort of political measures to appease the sections of people, then the democracy will be in jeopardy. People will stop saying that – I will challenge you to the law.
In democracy people have the right to protest and raise the voice of dissent to any government policy which the people felt it unfair. Democratic protest is the right of all citizens of the country. Dealing with such protest lies to the hand of the state government. And if in case the government failed to act in favour of the protesting people, than the last option that people of the country often chose is the Law Court. There may be criticisms about justice being delayed by the law court but people still have trust to the Law Court. Judiciary is perhaps the most important pillar for the success of democracy. If Judiciary is suppressed than the so call democracy will take no time to convert into autocratic rule.
The purpose of this write up is an attempt to keep alive judiciary and make its existence more meaningful to the people and also to the government.
Yesterday, the Chief Minister of Manipur after convening an important meeting with all important Ministers and staffs at his secretariat had resolved to allot license to some sand quarry runners. If one ponder on the protest, the frontrunner were the local labourers who didn’t get their minimum wages while working at the sand quarry owned by rich people who can afford excavators, trucks etc. The daily wage earner labourers at the sand quarry have already been exploited since the entry of the rich people. Earlier some 5 to 10 years back the sand miner labourers managed to get sufficient amount without creating much disturbance to the nature and the river. Small quantities of sands accumulated from the river were seen collected by truck owners. But since the coming of rich and powerful people the labourers seems to have been bought and the recent spurt of protest showed that they are now in the grip of the people earning lot of money and they might have left with no choice to act to the advice of the excavator owners.
One mistake, the state government seems to had committed is that, no proper survey of the live of sand minor labourers were conducted. Whether the government skipped that part as no organizations put up the matter or is it their mere negligence will be only known by those who are paid to serve the people at the cost of the state government exchequer.
When everyone across the globe is showing so much concerns about the environmental degradation, one need to ponder on why some people are so much against it. Well they need work to live, but there are many other works which the government could arrange to make their live worth living. The government should also conduct awareness programme on why the High Court had to give such an important ruling.
 The High Court ruling was to protect the environment, and it is for the future generation. If the labourers and those instigating them love their children, they should call off all agitation against the High Court order regarding the mining of sand from river bed. However, they can start a fresh agitation demanding arrangement of an alternative work for their living.

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. Rinku can be contacted at [email protected] 

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