Editorial: Peace In Manipur, Sooner The Better

Editorial: Peace In Manipur, Sooner The Better

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Tuesday, June 11, 2024, 08:18 PM IST
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The recent comments by RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat urging the Narendra Modi government to restore peace in Manipur highlight the grave neglect that the Northeastern state has suffered. Bhagwat, known for his reluctance to offer unsolicited advice, chose to break his silence, signalling the severity of the situation. Since the violence erupted in May 2023, claiming over 200 lives and displacing thousands, the region has remained a tinderbox. The recent attack on Chief Minister Biren Singh's convoy is a stark reminder that the crisis is far from over.

The Centre’s equivocation on Manipur is deeply troubling. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's persistent avoidance of the issue, even amid mounting violence, has been conspicuous. During the last Lok Sabha session, when the Opposition tabled a no-confidence motion to compel him to address the Manipur crisis, Modi diverted the debate to score political points instead of offering solutions. His avoidance of the troubled state and lack of direct engagement with the crisis on the ground have exacerbated the problem. The BJP’s recent electoral losses in Manipur, where the Congress won both seats, underscore the political cost of this neglect.

Bhagwat’s pointed criticism of Modi’s reticence is a wake-up call. Manipur, as he rightly emphasised, is an integral part of India and deserves to be treated with the same care and attention as any other state. The conditions in which thousands of displaced people are living are deplorable, lacking access to basic necessities like medicine and food. The disruption of education for thousands of students is a crisis that will have long-term repercussions. The proud tribals of Manipur cannot be expected to live as refugees in their homeland.

One of the critical issues fuelling the violence is the uneven disarmament process. While one group has been disarmed, militias with political patronage continue to wield power and terrorise communities. This imbalance has led to an arms race, where both sides seek to arm themselves for self-defence, leaving ordinary peace-loving citizens caught in the crossfire. The displacement and suffering of the Kuki people and other affected communities demand immediate redress. Those who fled their homes, whether in the valley or the hills, must be allowed to return with proper compensation for their losses. The government must initiate a reconciliation process to heal the fractured state. Modi must heed Bhagwat’s call, visit Manipur, and engage directly with the situation. Only then can trust be rebuilt and a path to lasting peace be forged.

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