NAIVE HINDUS LOOK FOR SOLUTIONS FROM "SARKAR MAI BAAP" IN NEW DELHI. ONLY IF THEY KNEW THAT EITHER THERE IS NO "GOVERNMENT" THERE, OR IT IS A DEAD GOAT THAT MANAGES TO SMILE WHEN THE HINDUS ARE BASHED OR KILLED ANYWHERE.
It is extraordinary that New Delhi has not made any gesture for pacifying the rebellious Manipuris in the wake of the Manorama incident. To say that this is not time to withdraw the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act is at best a negative approach. The people of Manipur demand at least concessionary modification or partial withdrawal of the AFSPA. The Central government’s argument is that if such a partial withdrawal is effected in Manipur, other states in the northeast under similar draconian restrictions would demand similar lifting of the repressive Act. Both the Prime Minister and the Home Minister are reported to be upset by the approach of the Ibobi Singh government of the state in making common cause with the opposition in demanding the withdrawal of AFSPA.
The present wave of protests and demonstrations is spreading in the wake of the killing of a Manipuri woman in custody. The version put out by the security forces has several holes in it. The security forces say that Manorama, who was arrested by them for being an accomplice of the insurgents, was shot, when she tried to escape. She had offered to lead jawans into an insurgent camp and on the way she tried to escape and they had to shoot her. However, evidence shows that she had suffered a large number of injuries and was probably raped and shot dead.
The army authorities would not comment on the rape part of the story until they receive forensic evidence but some jawans have been suspended. The protest demonstration by eleven Manipuri women by Parading naked (a huge banner saying “rape us and kill us” to cover the lower half of the body) and later marching to Raj Bhavan has fuelled incendiary emotions among the women in the state. Under AFSPA, an army officer of any rank can search and destroy a place, arrest a person and even kill him or her if the officer suspects that the former has violated prohibitory orders. The Manipur people’s frustration has reached a point of no return when they know that there is no legal remedy open to them under AFSPA.
The Supreme Court’s guidelines in enforcing special powers under the Act have been observed more in the breach than in implementing them. That insurgency in Manipur is feeding on alienation, which is being witnessed in other areas of the Seven Sisters too, has not been handled properly all these years. Another factor that sustains insurgency is widespread unemployment. The unemployed young men and women find their way into the ranks of insurgents.
That development efforts have totally failed to make any impact in this part of the country reflects the lackadaisical attitude of the Central government. New Delhi’s attitude of looking the other way and not addressing the grave issues which caused the present political turmoil in Manipur is certainly not the way to handle the present crisis. New Delhi knows only too well that even some ruling coalition parties have joined the opposition to demand the reconvening of the assembly to pass a resolution lifting the “disturbed area” description of Manipur. New Delhi should act now to avoid a Punjab-like confrontation.
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