BJP needs to retrospect to win ‘Sabka Viswash’ in the Hill areas of Manipur
By Dr. L. Lam Khan Piang
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his speech delivered after winning the general election 2019 at the Central Hall of the Parliament, says, “We have shown how to achieve Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and now we have to win Sabka Vishwas (trust).” This slogan has to be the heartbeat of a healthy functioning democracy in a diverse population like India. In the same way, Manipur is a miniature of India in terms of diversity, as it has various communities viz., Meitei, Pangal, 31 Schedule Tribes and Others. In 2017, the people of Manipur, perhaps, enamored by the slogan sabka saath sabka vikas elected 21 BJP MLAs, though it could not get majority on its own, they formed the government in alliance with other parties and independent MLA, yet people see it as BJP government.
Since the election of Manipur Legislative Assembly on 4th and 8th March 2017 Lamka town has been witnessing certain kind of the ‘reign of terror’ starting from the vandalizing and burning the residence of Chief of Lamzang village, which occurred within a week after the election. Even though the government pretend not be aware of such continuous mayhem and its perpetrator, the people of Lamka knows very well that it was reflected in the performance of BJP in the town in 2019 general election result.
Such lackadaisical attitude of the Manipur Government towards the Lamka town’s law and order situation makes the town like a typical Bollywood movie where the villain in power controlling the police system. It is disheartening that the perpetrators of criminal activities in Lamka town are the volunteers gathered by leaders of philanthropic organizations, in such situation if you are victims it is a mammoth task to registered FIR, as the perpetrators are well connected those who are in power. Somehow, if you succeed in registering, you can never be sure that the police will be in to task for the arrest of the perpetrators of the crimes. It does not have any different whether the victim is police personnel on duty or innocent citizen, as recently on the 2nd of September a police personnel on duty was assaulted and sustain serious head injuries. Consequently, Lamka has witnessed for the first time a flag-march by the police, since the 3rd September 2019, is rather quite a spectacular for the residents. But, the residents of Lamka town as well as the police were rather taken aback when the perpetrators whose name appeared in the FIR were not arrested. Besides, those names appeared in the FIR, the police know very well who were involved in assaulting their own colleague and arrested them but the higher ups were hell bent to release them again. This situation has demoralized the subaltern in the police organizational setup.
Most of the times, it is rather difficult to ascertain whether the Superintend of police of the District is giving order to policing the town or taking order to protect the criminals. The reputation of the police, especially the Superintendent of Police, is going down and consider to be a puppet, which is disheartening and really demoralizing especially for the younger generation, as they look up to the SP and DC of the District as their role model. The tension is continuing with the perpetrators of crimes are at large under the nose of the police, as knowingly they also become the victim of certain connivance of the people in power and the criminal activities.
If this the way the BJP is trying to win the Vishaws of the hill people in Manipur, especially the people of Churachandpur, retrospection is imperative. Besides the current situation, the people of Lamka town were aggrieved with the functioning of the BJP led government in Manipur especially the way they meddled with the functioning of ADC, Churachanpur. On learning that the 14th Finance Commission has sanctioned Rs. 32.25 crores as first installment for ADC, Churachandpur, the people were hopeful that at least certain development works will happened in their area, but to their dismayed nothing concrete work done can be seen.
In fact, to manipulate this issue the government resort to the amendment of the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Councils Act, 1972 and implement retrospectively, even though the amended Act specifically mentioned that “It shall come into force with immediate effect.”By resorting to such cheap moved it is setting a very dangerous precedent, as it gives scope for the government or the legislature to make law to penalize their rival in politics. Such exercise is, in fact, unconstitutional and also it has diluted the ethos of democracy: as it gives the nominated members, without people’s mandate, a voting right; it allows the amended Act, which is prospective in it operation to be applicable retrospectively; and also it allows a minority ministry to rule for a stipulated duration of one year even if it lost the Council’s confidence.
It is unfortunate that the government for foisting its agenda has to maneuver the existing laws, dishonoring norms and procedure, resorting to unconstitutional process and fiddling the institution functioning in the hill areas. This is, in fact, thwarting the democratic ethos and set a perilous precedent.
Hope the state as well as the national leaders of the BJP look into the matter in the spirit of sabka saath sabka vikas and fulfill their promises.
(Dr. L. Lam Khan Piang teaches at the centre for the study of Social Systems, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University)
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