Imposition and relaxation of curfew over the past few days has, rather, created confusion among the public. Following the May 3 incident, curfew was imposed in many districts across Manipur, however, following an improvement in the law-and-order situation (as per government), curfew was withdrawn from many districts while being imposed in valley districts of Imphal East, Imphal West and Bishnupur with relaxation period.
And for the most part, curfew in the state capital was relaxed from 5 am to 6 pm for a larger part until it was relaxed to 10 pm some time ago.
However, following the shootout incident that took place in the capital city on Wednesday evening (November 1) between some unknown miscreants and security forces, curfew relaxations from the two districts of Imphal East and Imphal West were withdrawn immediately and a full curfew imposed; Imphal West district magistrate even issued prohibitory orders.
However, on Thursday morning, curfew in both the districts were relaxed from 10 am to 5 pm only for the Imphal East magistrate to come up with a prohibitory order in the evening.
Now, these sudden orders of imposing and relaxing curfew in the state capital have created more confusion than one could imagine. As curfew was imposed on Wednesday evening, Thursday saw Imphal city barren – the market was closed with very few vehicles on the road.
However, curfew was relaxed from 10 am to 5 pm to facilitate the public to buy the essentials they need. However, as said earlier, shops were closed and people were not even aware that curfew had been relaxed. Even if they knew, it was already too late to start opening shops or going out shopping.
Moreover, the prohibitory orders by the magistrates of both the districts seem to be rather contradictory to the relaxation of curfew. One of the orders prohibited the movement of any person outside their respective residences and yet curfew was relaxed; which means that one can freely move within that relaxed period.
While imposition and relaxation of curfew is much needed owing to the present situation, it is also important that the concerned authorities are clear with the declaration of such orders. For many who are daily-wage earners, such confusion means a day’s wage lost. Or some miscreants could take advantage of the situation to create chaos too.
(The views expressed are personal)