Home » Meira Paibi’s Tragic Demise and Meira Shangs’ Emergence Unmask Government Fiasco in Manipur

Meira Paibi’s Tragic Demise and Meira Shangs’ Emergence Unmask Government Fiasco in Manipur

by Aribam Bishwajit
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The Manipur Government stands as a glaring testament to the depths of governance failure. Over the past six and a half months, the ineptitude of the government has left the public bewildered, grappling with a situation that has shattered the dreams and aspirations of the people. Unprecedented lawlessness has swept the state, with both state and central forces faltering in their ability to enforce order. In the midst of this chaos, the role of Meira Paibis (Women Torch Bearers) has emerged as pivotal in the current Manipuri landscape. In a scenario where the Manipur Government finds itself entangled in a deadlock with Kuki lawmakers, unwilling to engage in dialogue to resolve the crisis, the Meira Paibis have become the steadfast guardians of the community. The streets have witnessed their unwavering presence, serving as a poignant indictment of the state government’s governance shortcomings.
The inability of state forces to quell the mass rally on May 3, leading to a catastrophic outcome, is a stark reminder of this failure, duly acknowledged by the government. Since that fateful day, Meira Paibis have taken to the streets, sacrificing sleep to safeguard homes and loved ones from potential attacks by Kuki communities. The gravity of the situation is underscored by the unprecedented establishment of Meira Shangs (Huts of Meira Paibis) in localities throughout Manipur. In a dramatic reversal, Manipur CM N Biren Singh, who once boasted of ensuring the safety of the people and proclaimed that women no longer needed to sleep in Meira Shangs due to the BJP Government’s commitment to peace, now witnesses a changed reality under his own leadership.
The very women who were told they could sleep in peace are now compelled to spend restless nights in Meira Shangs, enduring rain and mosquitoes as they stand sentinel to protect their families. The transformation is all the more poignant as Meira Paibi Leichonbam Abemcha lost her life to Kuki Militant firing in the Kangchup area of Imphal West District. Her final rites, performed yesterday, serve as a sombre reminder of the sacrifices made by these brave women in the face of an escalating crisis that demands urgent attention and effective governance. Moreover, the public should understand the fact that the public are unable to decide what comes next. Though the Chief Minister, Ministers and MLAs have been secured in their homes and official residences, the Meira Paibis are sleeping literally on the streets to have their loved ones sleep in their homes.
The distressing number of deaths in the areas near the foothills on the outskirts of Imphal serves as a grim testament to the apparent failure of security personnel in safeguarding the populace of Manipur. Despite the influx of thousands of security forces, touted by the government as a measure to restore peace, the escalating casualties underscore a troubling reality—the purported protection remains elusive. In the aftermath of her mother’s last rites, the daughter of the late Leichombam Abemcha and her younger siblings, ostensibly seeking solace in their home at Kangchup Chingkhong, found themselves compelled to return to a relief camp. This stark reversal contradicts the government’s claims of a returning peace. The very fact that individuals, in the midst of mourning, must seek refuge elsewhere due to safety concerns highlights the profound dissonance between official proclamations and ground realities.
The rise of Meira Shangs in Manipur serves as a disconcerting barometer of governance inefficiency. Women, compelled by circumstances, have taken to the streets to assume a role traditionally assigned to security forces—protecting the people. The surge in such grassroots movements reflects not only a loss of faith in established institutions but also the urgent need for alternative avenues to ensure the safety and security of the population. The grim statistics tell a tale of thousands in relief camps, and thousands more sleeping on the streets—a stark consequence of a government seemingly bereft of viable solutions. In the face of dwindling options, the collective voice of public pressure and a unified democratic form of protest becomes imperative. It is the need of the hour to compel the government to awaken from its complacency and take decisive action to address the root causes of the crisis.
Intellectuals, in this critical juncture, bear a responsibility to guide the masses, including the Meira Paibis and other grassroots movements, in charting a course toward a lasting solution. Mere appeasement in the form of jobs and compensation for grieving families is insufficient. The call for a permanent resolution necessitates a comprehensive and thoughtful approach that addresses the systemic issues fueling the unrest. The warning is clear: if the public fails to act collectively and bring about positive change, the cycle of loss and tragedy will persist. The imperative to act transcends individual concerns, as the specter of danger looms over every household. It is a call to collective action, a plea for a united front to usher in meaningful reforms and safeguard the lives and homes of the people of Manipur. The choice is stark—act in unison for change, or risk the continued loss of lives and security.

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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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