In the ongoing Manipur crisis, the Kuki elite had been playing the victim card rather well by bombarding the national media and social media with concocted historical narratives and false propaganda.
With Manipur being a BJP-ruled state and a large section of the national media eager to lap up the false narratives that it continue to play the victim card over and over again.
Recently, a screenshot of IFP report on July 28 rally in Thoubal district calling for a stop to arrests in the viral video case pasted alongside a photograph of the July 29 rally in the capital Imphal held against Narco-terrorism was posted in the social media thereby misrepresenting the Imphal rally.
The said post went viral as couch potato intellectuals and biased SM influencers went into overdrive, without even verifying the facts. They are blind to the fact that majority of the Meiteis have condemned the act of outraging the modesty of two women by a mob and had called for drastic action and punishment.
It is only a handful of people who are trying to stop the arrests. Yet, the so-called mainstream media has been dabbling in ‘majority oppressing minorities’ or ‘targeting religious minorities’ narratives while focusing on the present conflict in Manipur without even bothering to understand the ground realities.
And the Kuki lobby had chosen to lean on these self-appointed champions of minority as against the oppressive majority communities.
The so-called champions of mainstream media had been all along judgmental while flagging the yarn of ‘victimhood’ and oppression of minorities by the majority community. No doubt, they are being influenced by their hatred of the right-wing forces while addressing the conflict in Manipur and they have fallen victim to the false narratives and yarns.
They refuse to question why the Meiteis with only a slim majority of 53 per cent of the population feel threatened in terms of their identity and land.
One needs to recall that the Meiteis were once a proud and powerful nation at the crossroads of South Asia and South-East Asia and their writ ran large in this region. Now, their writ seems reduced to the valley region and the bureaucracy overwhelmed by ST quota IAS and IPS officers.
While one can still count the number of direct IAS and IPS officers from the majority community, there are plenty from among the hill communities who enjoy the benefits of being from the Scheduled Tribe communities and they have been ruling the roost all this time and even enjoying the double benefit of both entry point and promotion avenue as well. So much heartburn had been caused by these benefits that some sections of the majority community have even come up with the demand for transformation into the ST category.
Even among the ST bureaucrats also, it is more among the Kuki-Chin-Mizo group which they have changed to ‘Kuki-Zo’ brotherhood overnight. Yet, one never knows whether it is a political ploy to win over the larger ‘Zo’ community in their pursuit of a Kukiland till such a time they could stand on their own feet. Yes, somebody is being used.
The other main problem in the hill areas is widespread poppy cultivation by doing away with traditional crops and agricultural practices. Poppy cultivation fetches hard cash quickly with little effort while traditional agricultural activity requires hard work and a long process and yet the produce they get is little and not commensurate with the labour they had put in.
Earlier, only organic farming was practised in the hills and there was no place for chemical fertilizers. Today, with the introduction of poppy cultivation there has been rampant use of chemical fertilizers which has led to degradation of soil fertility and pollution of water besides deforestation.
The Kukis particularly had added to the damage by encroaching on large swathes of reserve and protected forest land for practicing poppy cultivation besides unauthorised habitation and establishment of new and newer villages. And they are bringing in their brethren from across the border to help in overwhelming the hills and poppy cultivation.
It is said they are now demanding a separate administration as they want a free run in poppy cultivation and production of drugs. So, the ultimate victim here is the land and environment besides the population inhabiting the state.
Read More: IFP Editorial