Not far are the days in Manipur when we see bodies hanging in the middle of the polo-ground with signs written on them. Pubic execution being carried out in the middle of Shamu Makhong while the crowd cheers , judgement and sentences implemented right on the spot without even trial. Everyone walking around doing their daily chores with AK 47 on their shoulders with occasional gunfire in the distance. School Children’s’ packing a pistol apart from their lunchbox and disputes settled through gunfight and law & order just for name sake.
I am not trying to describe a scene in a Taliban Hollywood movie , I am describing a society which we are heading to, a dysfunctional society without any laws where mistrust reigns and every decision is influenced by a misguided mob. A society where law and order are non-existent. There is a saying that a “mob has no head or a tail” which is very true. Nothing good has ever come out of a mob, a mob is never right or wrong every action a mob takes always ends up in a disaster.
Manipur society is slowing heading towards this culture as a direct consequence of the mistrust in the system , mistrust in the law and order , a dysfunctional society where everyone seeks justice, but no one is ready to take the ownership and responsibilities for their actions. Where everyone is ready to blame the OTHER person, but no one wants to listen about their own mistakes and shortcomings.
To prove how dysfunctional our society has become , let me draw the attention of the reader to a very hot topic and a very recent unfortunate incident which has been burning Manipur for few weeks now, the untimely demise of an innocent child, Babysana Ningthoujam. I blame our entire dysfunctional society for what happened to her and the subsequent series of incidents and events which is burning Manipur. Not only I blame the school management for their negligence but I also blame the media including social media for inciting mob violence , the investigating agencies for their non proactive but reactive nature , the political parties trying to take political mileage in such situation, our government for not being able to create trust among the citizens and last but not the least our citizens who don’t think with their head but their knees and can easily be manipulated by anyone.
Print and Electronic Media role in Journalistic Objectivity - By definition of Wikipedia ”journalists should present the facts whether or not they like or agree with those facts. Objective reporting is meant to portray issues and events in a neutral and unbiased manner, regardless of the writers opinion or personal beliefs.” It has been widely covered in news that there was a scuffle between the police personnel and the media team on the spot of the incident and apparently the media team left without proper coverage of the incident. While the first coverage of the incident on print and electronic media stated categorically that the death was “Questionable” and ever since that posts the public has been agitated and was responsible for inciting the initial flares of public unrest . Now the question arises about Journalistic integrity of the reporters whether the reports of the events were reported in neutral and unbiased manner or personal ego and opinions due to the scuffle was inserted in their reporting . It is already very evident as media has never published any interview or press release from the school authority side and apparently the press release by the Principal of the school on the 2nd day was never circulated and given equal airtime compared to the story from the parents side. “The school authority is silent” has been one of the most contentious statement which has agitated the public and caused restlessness. Has the media in its “questionable” reporting added more fire to the burning flame by just telling one sided story to general public ?
Reactive rather than proactive nature of Investigating agencies – There is a serious trust deficit issue with the police and investigating agencies in Manipur which has accumulated from a very long period of time and which I don’t need to elaborate much. Not all issues can be resolved with tear gas or mob bomb. The reactive nature of police personnel and dealing every situation with confrontation has brought about a never-ending Vicious cycle of tit for tat reaction from public. No one trust the police frankly because of their action . Hence, there is serious need for police reformation and changing some of the procedures. For example , in many developed countries always a press briefing is held 48 hrs. after an incident informing the public about some of the basics about the incident. Frequent press briefing is done giving awareness to public about the status of the investigation . Why there is no such procedures in our Policing today. I don’t think all information about an incidents can be confidential some can be released to the public. Specially in Babysana’s case no status update has been provided to the general public which has incited more rumors and restless among the public.
Easily manipulated citizens - It is rather very unfortunate that a pristine organization like Meira-Paibi which started as a very noble endeavor of eradicating drug abuse and community watch program has been time and again manipulated by vested interest group to become ponds in their master plan. Meira-Paibis are turned into foot soldier , always in the frontline ,getting emotionally manipulated and getting the brunt of police lathi charge and tear gases. While the master planner stays in the background with nothing to lose.
Our unemployed youth are also not that innocent and has been contributing towards the dysfunctionality of our society. While some are using their empty minds to create the devils workshop , spreading and propagating rumors others are trying to get more Facebook likes on their page and get more people join their group using babysana’s unfortunate incident. Even attention seeking tik tok personalities have joined the bandwagon creating a complete mockery of entire situation. In this entire façade I am sorry ichal Babysana no one has even bothered to understand you, understand why you too the ultimate action ? What was bothering you ? What were you thinking ? Why take such a step at such a tender age, you had your whole life ahead of you ? I know you are gone now for your heavenly abode, but I am sure you are seeing everything from there. How people are using your name for their own agenda to get political mileage, get more Facebook likes and what not . How in your name 5000 of your school friends career is in jeopardy and no one seems to care , the mob is trying its best to frame some charges any charges against anyone remotely related to your incident. How all of sudden every tom dick and harry who have never done anything good in life or helped another person has become the savior.
These are all the signs of a dysfunctional society heading to path of Taliban like system where everyone is own their own and it is slowly happening right here in Manipur. Everyone in this society is responsible for your untimely demise , a society which is breeding depression , injustice and hatred for its kind and the worse is yet to come. So, I apologize to you from all of us , for not listening to you , taking care of you while you were alive for which you give the ultimate sacrifice as a warning sign for all of us. I apologize to you for we have failed you and many of our younger generations to come because we gave you a dysfunctional and hateful society which you don’t deserve, you deserve much better than this , you deserve a joyful childhood without worries or hatred, you deserve love from your parents , friends and families , you deserve to be happy and be not depressed , rest in peace my dear child now that you are free from all these worries.
By a Concerned Manipuri citizen