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Shifting tide

by williamgurumayum
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Leaving aside the question of legitimacy of the source of authority of the JCILPS official who ordered the supporters of the ongoing agitation for implementation of the ILP system in the state to resort to any form of protest or agitation as they deem appropriate leading to blatant and excessive use of force to physically assault and manhandle passersby thereby causing grievous injuries, the worsening situation has raised alarms of the increasing possibility of a total breakdown of the social setup. The movement initiated to put in place a fail-safe mechanism to protect and safeguard the indigenous people from the increasingly demanding influx of illegal migrants who are beginning to pose serious threats to the political, economical, social, cultural and physical resources of the state has its share of detractors, chiefly amongst the tribal people who alleged the three Bills to be Anti-Tribal on the premise that the Bills in contention were designed to rob the tribal people of their apportioned assistances and freebies being doled out by the state as well as the central government. The resulting campaigns on both sides witnessed deaths and destructions as well as a palpable divide on the perspective of the whole issue and the danger of tearing the fragile social fabric beyond repair. The uncertainty and unsettling atmosphere has also induced the people with a sense of frustration that has translated to violent and often unwarranted outbursts. Bandhs and blockades which should have been more of a symbolism for the protesting mass has increasingly been misused to settle personal scores and display bravado by those hitherto passive souls. Left in the lurch, and often the ones to bear the brunt of these frequent social upheavals are the students and young children being denied their right to education. The constant disruptions have resulted in the children developing an uncertain and often anxious mentality, especially the ones who are preparing for their board exams- a very important and life-defining juncture. They have been exposed to the irrational and violent outbursts which do not augur well for their future. Meanwhile, a section of the public, while expressing solidarity for the movement to implement the Inner Line Permit in the state, have started speaking out against the means being resorted to at present to push for their demands. The excessive display of brute force, unwillingness to listen to reason and unprovoked intimidation even towards those engaged in “essential services” which were beyond the ambit of the bandhs and blockades as declared by the JCILPS have raised doubts about the ability of the spearheading body to steer the movement in the right direction in more difficult situations. On the other hand, the political parties who are shouting themselves hoarse about the insensitivity and ignorant attitude of the ruling party towards the aspirations of the people have done precious little other than to provide lip service. Waiting for the green signal from the central government by the All Political Party Committee for an appointment with the President of India makes little sense since the all-important “assent” which must be granted by the President is still uncertain, given the strong objections from the majority of the schedule tribes in the state whose views will more than likely be taken into consideration. If the state government is sincere in its efforts to bring the issue to an amicable conclusion, it must proceed to the national capital and pry out an appointment at any cost. They certainly should be worth at least a few minutes of the President’s time.

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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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