Home » Manipur Bandh: Crisis, Contradictions, and the Quest for Stability Amidst Conflict

Manipur Bandh: Crisis, Contradictions, and the Quest for Stability Amidst Conflict

by Rinku Khumukcham
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Manipur Bandh: Crisis, Contradictions, and the Quest for Stability Amidst Conflict

The bandh called in protest of the killings by Kuki militants has not only disrupted the lives and livelihoods of the people but has also shaken the political landscape of Manipur.
The bandh has unveiled two intertwined issues: The first is the apparent powerlessness of the government, and the second is the conflicting narrative among the higher echelons responsible for bringing peace to Manipur.
The apparent powerlessness of the Chief Minister raises critical questions about the state’s governance and the extent of authority vested in the Manipur government. The opacity regarding the Manipur CM’s control over the home department further muddies the waters, leaving the public in the dark about the state’s ability to address the root causes of the crisis. The confusion surrounding the implementation of Article 355, coupled with a perceived lack of will from the central government to quell the violence, contributes to the prevailing sense of uncertainty and unrest.
Moreover, both the Manipur Government and the Centre-appointed security advisor, Kuldiep Singh, find themselves unable to satisfy the public, either with their words or actions, as the death toll among security forces and civilians mounts. The conflicting statements from Chief Minister N. Biren and the head of the unified command, Kuldiep Singh, regarding the involvement of Burmese fighters in the attacks on Moreh, illuminate the profound lack of consensus within those entrusted to bring peace to Manipur. Kuldiep Singh and top-ranking Army officials offer narratives that contradict the statements of the CM and Governor on the nature of the conflict, placing the political leadership of Manipur in a precarious position.
The absence of a decisive counter from the CM and Governor against Kuldiep Singh’s narrative regarding the presence of Myanmar citizens among Kuki rebels adds to the perception of a powerless leadership, fueling further unrest. The lack of a cohesive stance within the government not only confuses the public but also erodes confidence in the authorities entrusted with managing the crisis. The prevailing mood among the public is one of anger and disbelief, questioning how the lawmakers of the country have seemingly failed them in this critical moment.
Calls for the removal of Kuldiep Singh from the position of security advisor and the head of the unified command have been made. However, Kuldiep Singh has stated that his resignation depends on the recommendations of the CM and Governor. As Chief Minister Biren Singh and many MLAs hold a meeting to contemplate the way forward, discussions are underway on whether resignation is an option and its implications for the future of the people of Manipur. Amid the confusion, the role of MLAs comes into question. Some remain silent, while others seem to be grappling with the pressure from the youths to reach a unanimous decision on the path forward.
Under similar circumstances, the CM earlier announced his resignation, but it was rescinded when his loyalists stopped him from doing so. The question arises: How many times will history repeat itself before meaningful change occurs? The answer holds little significance for the people of Manipur, desperate for peace and prosperity, unless both the central and state governments, both under the BJP, take decisive actions to stop the violence and chart a course toward lasting stability.

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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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