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Lessons from the past

by williamgurumayum
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The unenviable credit for the unfolding social and political circumstances leading to the decision to withdraw the much maligned Manipur Regulation on Visitors, Tenants and Migrant Workers’ Bill 2015 (MRVTMW Bill) by the state Government after drawing much flak from every quarter of the society, not to mention the unfortunate loss of a young life with many more agitators subjected to police excesses must undoubtedly go to the state government. And yet, the present fallout had already been prophesied at the outset when much furore was raised even as the government raised the subject. Had the state government have the temerity to discuss the matter with every single stakeholder or representatives thereof and effected any rectifications or modifications as needed, things would definitely have been a lot more pleasant and satisfying. It is easier said than done, and worse still, old habits die hard- or in this particular instance – old habits proved to be the defining factor in every decision or resolution ever made by the state government. Politics have always been about numbers, but the state government have literally taken things a bit too far when it passed the MRVTMW Bill due to its sheer majority in the house despite a vehement and justified protest from all spheres of the population including a number of opposition members of the state assembly. Perhaps those at the helm of power failed to realize that the number of representatives present in state the assembly is not the ultimate number which needs to be coerced or influenced for things to happen, but that they are mere representatives of the public who outnumbers them in excess of a thousand to one ratio. The public felt cheated of the trust they imposed on their representatives, and the consequence is the spontaneous decision of the enraged public to take their grievances and demands to their doorsteps. Now that the milk has been spilled, it is the perfect, and possibly the final opportunity for the state government to make things right and reclaim for itself some of the credibility and respect which have taken a deep plunge. Now that the special sitting of the State Legislative Assembly convened today have withdrawn the Bill, and have also expressed its assurance of framing an inclusive and exhaustive Bill within a period of three months hence, incorporating the crucial points that will ensure the protection and preservation of the rights and interests of the indigenous inhabitants of the state. It goes without saying that the opinions and suggestions of every section of the society need to be sought and analysed in detail. It must, however have the political will and determination to resist any unwarranted pressure, and must convey its intent to the public in no uncertain terms.     It would be interesting to keep a close watch on the unfolding of events. And while every eye and ear will be tuned in to the developments, one can only hope and pray that lessons have been learnt, and that the tantalizing wait for the elusive peace will finally be over.        

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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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