In our trouble prone state of Manipur, the people had often witnessed punishments and harassments meted out to innocent family members for a crime committed by a single member of that family. The state had witnessed houses being burnt, vandalized and whole families ostracized for crimes committed by their family members or near and dear ones. It is still considered a form of sanctioned social justice by a group of dim-witted mob led and provoked by few criminal minded sadistic individuals.
Disturbingly, now the trend is getting even worse. People now started blaming an entire community for a crime committed by an individual belonging to that particular community. If a person is found killed or manhandled in an area of a specific community the whole community is blamed and harassed.
Three instances still haunt the state. The death of two youths at Mayang Imphal area some months back in mob action nearly shattered the harmony of the small valley region. Thanks to the civil society organisations, notably the Anjuman volunteers and the police department for handling the issue with extra care and diffusing the communal tension in time. Now the death of a 27 year old youth who was found hanging at Lilong area is again threatening to shatter the fragile communal harmony and understanding. The whole community of the area is being blamed for the death. As of now the absolute truth is yet to be ascertained but speculations doing the round have now provoked communal tension between the two communities yet again. On the other hand the death of another youth at Kasom Khullen area has created similar kind of situation. He was found murdered in an area where a specific community resides and therefore, going by the social trend, people belonging to the community of the murdered youth now felt that the other community should be blamed.
Point worth remembering is a quote from the writing of late Seram Mangi, former news editor of AIR Imphal. As shared through a post by his son Seram Neken on a social network site, the former editor had rightly questioned as to why a community should be blamed and crushed for a crime committed by a single individual belonging to the community. He also stated that if that is justice, then God would have killed all human beings for a wrong committed by a single human being.
It is a fact that India is a nation of multi ethnic communities so as Manipur, the erstwhile nation of South East Asia, now a state of India inhabited by over 33 distinct communities. For reasons best known to the government authorities some vital connection crucial for binding the people of every community as a cohesive single unit is sorely missing- a potent reason the people started taking due importance of their near and dear ones instead of considering themselves as the citizen of the same state or country.
Unlike India, United States of America which is home to many diverse communities from around the world such as a French, an African or an Indian etc. think that they are American first before coming to the community that they belong to. It is said that the constitution is what binds the people as Americans above everything. Communal enmity was an undeniable blot in the history for this country. Unfortunately, we the citizens of India are committing today the same blunder that
happened 100 years ago in places like America.