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Bigger Role of Politicians

by IT Desk
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By: Seram Neken
It is not time for our legislators to confine themselves in relief camps distributing job cards, ration cards, health cards, labour cards and exercise books. There are enough government officials to do it. Popular sentiment demands that our politicians stand bold and courageous in the face of any untoward eventuality in the process of ongoing political dialogue.
There are reasons for public anger against the government and the legislators. First, no special legislative assembly session has been convened to discuss the Manipur crisis in spite of appeals from various circles to do so. Even though a one-day session was held, there was no discussion on the issue and it was only namesake. Second, ruling MLAs are still unable to obtain appointment with Prime Minister to discuss Manipur issue despite their long presence in New Delhi. Third, there is inherent disunity and deferment of opinion among the ruling legislators as far as the settlement of the current issue is concerned. Fourth, most MLAs are not pro-active in responding to the crisis, and they have remained in complete silence until and unless the central leaders speak out. Fifth, the MLAs have not strongly moved the authority for disqualification of ten Kuki MLAs who are demanding separate administration and instigating violence against the valley people. Due to these reasons, general public everywhere in the valley are seen to be against the elected representatives particularly of the ruling party.
On the other hand, many still feel the importance of the political class in bringing solution to the current crisis. As every conflict ends with dialogue, the political aspect of the conflict is very significant. Amidst the raising popular fury against the incumbent chief minister, ministers and MLAs, many sections of the population are still standing against the imposition of president’s rule in Manipur believing that popular elected government would be quite helpful in bringing political settlement of the issue. While expressing dissatisfaction over the inaction of the legislators and the ruling party, general people in Manipur valley demand the political class to courageously deal with the situation.
With the completion of five months, a turning point in the crisis is in sight now. Manipur Chief Minister has recently stated that the ongoing crisis is purely a war against Indian Union by Myanmar & Bangladesh militants in collaboration with militants based in Manipur. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has expressed the view that influx of migrants has caused destabilization in the state. Recently, apprehensions of Khalisthani links to Manipur conflict has also emerged following the controversial speech of Lien Gangte, the Canada chapter chief of the North American Manipur Tribal Association (NAMTA) at the Surrey Gurdwara in early August last. Gangte condemned the Manipur violence as ‘attacks on minorities in India’ and asked Canada for all possible help. Meanwhile, Defence Minister of India has assured to provide Indian Air Force planes for destruction of poppy in Manipur hills whenever request from the state government comes. According to these developments, it may well be established that the ongoing conflict is a ‘War against India’ by foreign based militants in collusion with Manipur militants under Suspension of Operation, and poppy cultivation which has been widely taken up in Manipur hills is against national interest.
Recent Supreme Court directive to protect the properties of displaced villagers and to prevent encroachments is remarkable considering the unending area domination efforts of the Kuki-Chin-Zo groups. Of late, the state government has also cautioned individuals or organisations against any attempt to rename districts, subdivisions, places, institutions and addresses without the government’s approval.
Narratives of ‘ethnic clash’, ‘law and order issue’, ‘religious conflict’ and ‘land dispute’, as initially depicted in various media, have proved wrong. Various national media houses and even the Editors’ Guild of India (EGI) have tried to portray the Meiteis as offenders. In the beginning, even the Home Minister of India had stated that it was caused by the High Court judgement over the scheduled tribe status demand of the Meiteis. Kuki-Chin-Zo groups made efforts to portray the conflict as ‘ethnic cleansing’ by the majority community over tribal minority, and also as ‘majority Hindus targeting minority Christians’. The issue has already been internationalised as it was raised at the European Union Parliament and even at the United Nations.
Manipur activist Khuraijam Athouba, in his address at the 54th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, highlighted facts about the ongoing violence in Manipur. He placed before the international community the large-scale infiltration of illegal immigrants in Manipur, their narco-terrorism activities, widespread poppy plantation in hills and massive deforestation. Among the intellectuals, Prof. Bimol Akoijam of the JNU has been doing his best to negate the lies spread by Kuki-Chin intellectuals at various fora. Political activist Maheshwar Thounaojam has also been making efforts to inform people in nook and corner of the country about the reality of narco-terrorism perpetrated by the Kuki-Chin-Zo people in Manipur. Finally, the people of India and the international community as well have apparently begun to realise the ill designs of the Kuki-Chin-Zo groups against the Meiteis.
Now, the only worry is the inaction of the Government of India in dealing with the mayhem. If the Manipur Chief Minister’s claim of foreign aggression is true, then why is the Government of India still tolerating the external aggression against its territory from across the north eastern border for five months now? Why those ten legislators who instigated the war are still not disqualified? Why the militant groups like Kuki National Organisation (KNO) and United People’s Front (UPF) are not declared as enemies of India? Why the bodies such as Committee on Tribal Unity (CoTU) and Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF) are not banned for anti-national activities? Obviously, there must be a hidden agenda of the central government behind the Manipur crisis.
Meanwhile, a political dialogue is reportedly going on between the Union Home Ministry and warring the KNO/UPF. Optimistic of getting a prompt positive response from the Government of India regarding the charter of demands including creation of a separate union territory, CoTU recently announced withdrawal of its highway blocked. According to its statement, the ongoing political dialogue between the Government of India and the KNO-UPF is progressing.
At this critical juncture, politicians particularly affiliated to the ruling BJP must carefully monitor the content and progress of the ongoing political dialogue between the KNO/UPF and the Government of India.
(The writer is senior columnist. He is available at [email protected])

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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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