Strange beings indeed. As if the armed Meiteis were going to disturb the celebration of Christmas, they are talking about carrying out vigil in the hills above the Meitei villages in the periphery while the rest was observing Christmas in churches howsoever muted and dull it be. The act is but for the benefit of some or their supporters in the national media and multitude of social media warriors who keep driving the wagon of anti-Meitei hate campaigns.
It was in fact the Kukis, village volunteers or militants, who were shooting down automatic rifles and blasting bombs towards the nearby Meitei villages on Christmas eve and on the day of Christmas itself. The Meitei villagers, for example in Yaingangpokpi area, had no alternative but unleashed their anger and frustration against the central forces who remained unperturbed but went on patrolling in the villages which were attacked.
Perhaps they were instructed by their higher-ups that instead of confronting the attackers entrenched in the bunkers along the hill ridges it is safer or judicious to prevent the volunteers of the targeted villages from retaliation and killing each other. It seems to be the strategy adopted by most central forces while dealing with the clashes. That is why, the village volunteers or the CSOs or Meira Paibis had been voicing this strange attitude of the central forces.
They are busy conducting cordon and search operations in the periphery villages of the hills and collecting weapons while those in the hills go scot-free. Yes, they go about conducting search operations whenever there is a lull in the attacks and destroy bunkers for the benefit of the media while the attackers are long gone from the area.
The question is why would the Meiteis attack the surrounding hill villages when they are observing or celebrating Christmas. There is no sense in reliving a violence which happened in a fit of anger. The whole valley is looking towards a kind of normalcy where the common people could lead at least a semblance of the normal life they once had, when internally displaced citizens could return to their original home and hearth and bury the hatchet for the sake of the future generation.
A cursory assessment of the situation would reveal that violence and clashes have reduced greatly to a minimum level except for some stray incidents. The dead bodies had finally been laid to rest or final rituals conducted. This has resulted in at least lowering the tension and tenor of unresolved issues. The enmity is more of ’virtual clashes’ or rhetoric in the social media.
Yet again, the attacks have started. They even refused to let pass the buses on the highways. The Meiteis had decided to forego their greatest festival Ningol Chakkouba this year in view of the violence and suffering. But, they did not go about attacking nearby villages. And, there is some strange behaviour on the part of the powers that be in New Delhi. Even after seven months of anarchy, someone seems to be giving them hope of a separate administration still.
Except for assurances of keeping Manipur’s territorial integrity intact in general terms, not one credible voice from among the authorities is saying no to the demand of separate administration in plain and clear language. Consider that along with the strange behaviour of central forces, one may conclude that the future of Manipur has become very bleak. Surely, Chief Minister N Biren Singh and his motely crew knows this.