Manipur, as in any other part of the world, has been witnessing an increasing number of disturbances and social unrest over the years. This may be attributed to the increasing awareness of the general public of the system of governance, assertion of their rights and an increasing participation in the public administrative process. Various agitations and protests have been staged by social and public organisations demanding myriad issues. The one common , and perhaps the most effective method of protest that the agitating groups have been increasingly resorting to for realization of their grievances and demands, is the blockade- blocking and obstruction of public roads. This method has been so effective to the point of being the “weapon of choice” in any agitation or protest and has come to be expected of any event involving any form of agitation. What led to the adoption of such a form of protest- is there no other option for showing or airing grievances and demands? Who are the real victims of such a blockade? The fact that the Government has not taken up any serious work to render such practices ineffective shows that it is of little consequence to the people who matters- to whom the agitations and demands are meant to be targeted at. Denial of use of public facilities by a few groups or individuals and disrupting normal activities in their quest to get their demands is not a prudent act of a civilized mindset- but then a civilized mindset will not be resorting to such an act to begin with. True- spontaneous public anger and uprisings have taken place, and while they are not to be justified, their outbursts can be understandable. The continuing use of public roads- namely the state and inter-state roads by various ethnic groups to push for their demands putting a majority of the remaining public to much inconvenience is a case in point. A valid point – a genuine cause can and should be settled through the court of law. Unjustifiable and irrational demands, however sentimental the reasons be, should not be pursued through such disruptive means – not to mention the unfortunate few who were forced to use the roads during such bouts of agitations due to unavoidable circumstances. All said and done- the public as well as the Government has to find a better and more civilized method of airing grievances and to resolve the same with utmost immediacy without which such forms of protests will lead to more counter protests and ultimately turn this small and unstable state into a cauldron of violence, mayhem and anarchy.
The road to nowhere