If one looks at the tumultuous events of the year gone by, there is so much to wish for in the new year. Yet, there is little or no light at the end of the tunnel we had just crawled through. That is why one needs to be very careful of wishful thinking less the hopes and wishes are shattered. It could always lead to a downslide in cynicism and pessimism, which nobody wants. We all know that there is nothing earth-shaking transformation as one slides into a new year, as it is just another day in our lives. It is like greeting someone with ‘Good Morning’ or ‘Good Day’.
But, one can certainly make a wish list for the coming year while not forgetting that new year wishes are always dictated by events of the year coming to an end. Events which had happened in the year 2023 are not something to be valued or treasured in our hearts and minds. Again, how could one easily forget the hate driven violence and unsavoury events which rocked the state as we endeavour to say goodbye to a chapter closed forever.
Goodbyes always entail a sense of love, togetherness and cherished moments captured in time, which is completely lacking in the year 2023. We wish we could forget the gory and violence of 2023 in the effort to look forward to a new year and a new beginning. But, the hatred and venom surrounding the events tucks at our sleeves. Simple and innocent folks of all ages made victims of the brutal killings, kidnappings and abductions, homes burnt and rendered homeless living in relief camps beckons us to their sad predicament asking us not to forget them or say goodbye.
The voices and images will haunt us forever. The bodies of two teenagers Linthoingambi and Hemanjit who went missing on July 6 are yet to be found or recovered, even though the investigating agency had claimed that some individuals involved in the kidnapping including the main accused had been arrested. As the appealing eyes of Linthoingambi haunts us, several other villagers are still missing. Several families have already conducted the last rites of the missing in the customary tradition without the bodies as the families seek to bring resolution.
Several thousand internally displaced people along with small children are still taking shelter in makeshift camps with no prospects of returning to their original land, home and hearth in the days to come. As they suffer in the camps, the state government is busy building prefabricated houses which are a kind of temporary or ‘semi-permanent’ shelter. The amount of compensation provided for construction of houses which were burnt and razed to the ground is too meagre, according to the displaced people. The food and amenities provided at the relief camps are simply disappointing, and when complaints are made they are shouted down by arrogant politicians.
With regard to violence and armed clashes, it has once again reared its head in the closing days of the year leading to deaths and injury of village volunteers and police personnel besides some militants. Perhaps, the harvesting of poppy must have been completed. The allegations of central forces siding with the militants or of standing watch as spectators during clashes refuses to go away.
Meanwhile, state leaders seem to have lost the political will to enforce a semblance of law and order or command and control of all central forces deployed in the state. Nobody knows the progress of the peace efforts or to make heads or tails if such an effort is being made in earnest. So, the whole scenario brings us to a question as to what we should choose to forget and wish for in the year 2024. One can only say, good riddance to 2023.