The INDI Alliance would have people believe that ‘Manipur is burning because of Prime Minister Modi’s policies’. What is being forgotten in all the noise being generated is that the conflict between communities in that state is due to a court judgement providing Meiteis scheduled tribe status. This has miffed the Kukis and other hill dwelling tribals as it would give the Meiteis the right to purchase land in ‘their areas’. Rather than challenging the verdict in court, people resorted to street protests that quickly deteriorated into mob violence and atrocities on innocents. With such a sharp division in society, maintaining law and order has posed a serious challenge for state authorities.
So, what is it that the Prime Minister should have done to tackle a problem rooted in ages old rivalry between communities? Considering the fact that it is a BJP ruled state, there is any way ‘direct’ rule of the Centre and declaring President’s Rule would have only been a formality and made absolutely no difference to the ground reality. It would not have won the hearts of the Kukis but certainly alienated the Meiteis – who would have benefited except those who wish the BJP to lose another state?
It must not be forgotten that the Prime Minister is not the first responder but the last port of call. His making a statement in a half-baked situation would not have helped matters and been a mere formality. Any intervention by him should be when a solution has been worked out or a significant stage has been reached in the negotiations. There is no doubt that the situation is being closely monitored by the Home Minister and the agencies concerned.
Of greater concern to all should be the fact that the ‘tribes’ in the North-East – comparatively small in numbers as compared to communities in other parts of the country – hold such animosity towards each other. The area is already divided into seven states and other special entities. For its size and population, it has had numerous insurgencies and agitations. Even as people from that region complain about ‘discrimination’ in other parts of India, why can’t they live in mutual accord with each other? The policies that have led to such divisiveness need to be identified and overhauled. With a problem that is many decades old, any attempt at serious resolution is bound to take time and requires a national consensus, not an eagerness to score petty political points, which is being witnessed at the present.