More than 20 days have gone by since the communal riots started in the state and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not uttered a single word.
We first thought, perhaps, he was busy with the Karnataka assembly elections. After the elections, it was business as usual with him inaugurating large projects and Vande Bharat train services in several states. The most recent was the three-nation tour. Yet, he remains silent.
Perhaps, Mr Modi is not happy with the way things are being handled in the state or maybe he did not want to give a handle to the opposition for not invoking Article 356 (President’s Rule) in the state or there are some other considerations like the geo-political dimension of the present unrest in the state. Surely, he must have had his reasons.
Meanwhile, the death toll is rising as violence continues. In these circumstances, a question pops up as to how many more lives it would take to break his silence.
On the other hand, the Union Home Minister Amit Shah is an extremely busy person. So, he summons Chief Minister N Biren Singh and his ministerial colleagues to New Delhi last Sunday and gives them an assurance that Manipur’s territorial integrity will remain intact and the Centre is fully committed to it.
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As we said before, Central leaders have been saying it for the last few decades. That, the Centre is committed to the preservation of the territorial integrity of Manipur.
However, the threat lurks everywhere as different political and ethnic aspirations continue to be nurtured by the powers that be.
Narco-terrorism is the latest issue which began rearing its head in the said discourse of territorial integrity.
Opposition to the government campaign against drugs and poppy cultivation backed by certain SoO groups have taken centre-stage in the present conflict and it is threatening the very fabric of the territorial integrity with Kuki-Chin-Mizo groups seeking a separate administration through their elected representatives.
There is a general outcry among the general population against the Central forces in the state as they remain mute spectators to the violence and attacks unleashed by Kuki militants against Meitei villages located near the foothills.
We understand, it is not the fault of the personnel on the ground that they did not retaliate against the SoO militants. The fault lies with the leadership of the Central forces who still continue to hold dear the SoO agreement which they had painstakingly crafted and who still dream that the SoO militants will adhere to the ground rules.
Under the SoO ground rules, the militants are supposed to be at the designated camps especially more so at times of communal conflict. Upon first inspection of the designated camps, the Central forces team found many of the cadres and arms missing. Just a few days ago, Advisor (Security) Kuldiep Singh informed media-persons that the number of cadres and arms are increasing and a full report on the inspection will soon be placed.
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Meanwhile, attacks on villages still continue with the latest being the death of a refugee staying in a Moirang relief camp after which the residence of the Works Minister Govindas Konthoujam was vandalised and vehicular movement blocked on the Tiddim highway. A Central forces team who was supposedly on a mission to carry out operations against militants was blocked and made to turn back by women-folk at Moirang Lamkhai.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah came up to Assam to inaugurate a Forensic Science University and distribute appointment orders to Assam youths this Thursday where he spoke of visiting Manipur on May 29. We wonder why he could not extend his visit up to Manipur from neighbouring Assam.
State MLAs have of late become extremely restive in view of recent developments as the general public are breathing down their necks on their stand with regard to the Centre’s indifference and the reluctance of Central forces to operate against SoO militants.
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