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Law and order must be implemented to save Manipur

by Editorial Team
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Law and order must be implemented to save Manipur

The people of Manipur have been fighting among themselves for ages now. Nagas fought the Kukis, Meiteis and Meitei Pangals fought, and Kuki and Paite also fought since the 1990s. Later, the Nagas fought among themselves, the Kuki-Zo community did too, and now we are seeing tension simmering among the Meiteis given the militarization of society in general. These conflicts have not suddenly emerged in Manipur out of thin air. They are the results of addressing people’s aspirations through military means.
Many retired civil servants and intelligence officers have claimed now and then that there needs to be a political solution to some of the grievances that people have raised against the Indian state. The merger of Manipur into the Indian union, which led to the loss of her statehood, disillusioned many in Manipur. Their demand for statehood took a turn towards armed insurgency, challenging the sovereignty of India because of the militaristic approach of the Indian state in handling popular demands. Similarly, the Kuki militants have been instrumental in the country’s counter-insurgency strategy in suppressing the Naga insurgency and Meitei underground groups.
These military approaches have made society completely violent. The ongoing violence between Kukis and Meiteis is the result of the military solution that the Indian state attempted to pursue. The ongoing violence has exaggerated the ongoing cycle of violence inside the communities themselves. Kuki-Zo organizations have fought among one another. The recent bombing in Imphal that fatally injured one student and severely injured another, and the arsons at offices of different CSOs, are some examples of how society has been taken over by violence.
To avoid more mishaps, the state government must guarantee that there is law and order in the state. Since the past seven to eight years until the eruption of violence last year, there was some semblance of peace. It almost looked like society was finally heading towards progress. The state guaranteed law and order without committing excesses such as extrajudicial killings, at least in the valley. In the hills, given the presence of militants who are either in suspension of operations or in peace talks with the state, there was always an impression that there was no law and order to begin with in the hills. Now, similar situations have erupted in Imphal. So, the call for the implementation of law and order is a must now.
Regarding a political solution, the state has not pursued the political solution honestly. The prolonged talks with Nagas, initially consenting to measures that harm the interests of other communities, and the suspension of operations agreement with Kuki-Zo militants without any political necessity have led to conflict, even though these initiatives are part of the so-called peace process in the insurgency-torn northeast. These are half-hearted solutions without much study of the real situation on the ground.

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