Nobody said anything or protesting against the immediate action of the government in recommending or handing over the case of the burning man episode a video of which surfaced recently. No one including CSOs particularly from among the valley population accused the state authorities be it the chief minister or the security advisor of working in favour of the ‘Kuki-Zo’ by handing over the case.
One remembers the Kuki-Zo groups and their social media supporters protesting vociferously against the handing over of Linthoingambi-Hemanjit murder case to CBI followed by arrests and of the Kwakta blast in which one Seiminlun Gangte was arrested by NIA. The Kuki-Zo apex body based in Churachandpur ITLF decried NIA’s arrest of Seiminlun Gangte in a ‘transnational conspiracy’ involving ‘terror groups from Myanmar and Bangladesh. It defended Gangte, claiming that he worked as a private teacher in Kwakta and had no criminal records.
When the CBI special director himself came down to Manipur accompanied by a special team, there were already murmurs of protest. But when arrests were made with the help of a special team, the Kuki-Zo groups cried foul and said the arrested were all innocents. They even went to the extent of demanding the release of the arrested individuals within 48 hours. Even, some of their supporters in the national media were sceptic about their involvement and one media group totally black out the news when all it was splashed all over.
The main argument of Kuki-Zo groups was that, the central agencies were swift with arrests even on ‘flimsy evidence or grounds’ while they neglect the cases where the victims are of Kuki-Zo particularly those involved in the ‘naked parade’ episode’ and beheading of David Theik besides the cases of looting of arms from police armouries.
One must understand that, central agencies like CBI or NIA makes the arrests only when there is some evidence and once they have taken over cases the agencies will pursue the investigations till its logical conclusion even if it takes time. Yes, there are sometimes instances of ‘pick and choose’ but never in cases ordered by the Supreme Court.
A video showing a man being burnt in a trench, an incident which reportedly took place at the height of the ethnic conflict in May, was horrific as it went viral on social media. In a rare appearance, Security Advisor Kuldiep Singh came out in the media and informed that the burning man case had been recommended for a CBI probe into the incident. The response was quick.
The video edited with the word, ‘Kuki, was shared on several WhatsApp groups in Manipur on Sunday. It showed a man, in black T-shirt and trousers, lying in a trench. The face has been bludgeoned and the body is on fire. Kuldiep Singh He said that he does not have information of where it occurred, however, he confirmed that the man in the video is from Kangpokpi district. His name is one Lalding Thanga Khongsai alias Lal James, 37, son of Johnthang Khongsai from Hou Hongching village of Nongpok Sekmai Police Station, Kangpokpi district. His body lies at JNIMS morgue. Besides recommending a CBI probe into the viral video, he informed that the DGP of Manipur Rajiv Singh has also recommended the incident to CBI.
Yet, there were no murmurs of protests from the valley particularly froms leading CSOs or Meira Paibis. Why is it so? Whosoever be the victim or the perpetrator, justice has to find a way. When the video of ‘naked parade’ surfaced in the social media, many CSOs and individuals condemned the incident and called for justice.
But, when a testimony of Meitei woman who was gang-raped in Churachandpur on May 3 itself came out in the media, Kuki-Zo individuals mocked at it even saying that it was fabricated. The said Meitei victim being a married lady came out with the testimony several days later. It was but natural as she feared stigma and discrimination. Yet, she was mocked.