By: A. Bimol Akoijam
In a swift response, the Chief Minister of Manipur said that the terrorist violence that struck Sangakpham on 1st August, 2011 was the handiwork of NSCN (I-M). This is a development which is quite uncharacteristic of the Govt. of Manipur on such incidents or as an editorial in the Sangai Express, a leading newspaper in Imphal puts it, “can’t really recollect the last time that a case of this proportion was laid bare so fast and so conclusively”. However, the said organization, according to a report released by Newsmai News Network from Dimapur, has denied the allegation. Besides, according to a press report, contrary to the statement made by the Chief Minister at the Press Conference on 2nd August, 2011, the Koren (Koireng) Youth Organization has denied that the suspected bomber one Anthony s/o Bonkolung of Sadu Koireng is “a resident of Sadu Koireng Village, Saikul sub-division…and he is not known to the people of Koireng”.
The contradictory reports do not help the citizens who are at the receiving end of such violent and atrocious crime. This being the case, we, as citizens must know the truth as to who is/are behind the dastardly and gruesome act at Sangakpham. The government must put the system and institutions at its disposal to task so as to come out with the truth and bring those who are responsible for the crime to justice at the earliest.
And we as citizens must also know that we must not rest till the institutions for investigations and protecting the life and dignity of the people are made to perform their assigned and expected duties and responsibilities. Only then, we can expect to live with certain sense of normative and institutional mechanisms of a civilized life.
All those who cried out for justice, and those who have statements such as “enough is enough” etc must put their statements into action by seeking and pursuing this: to know the truth and make the above institutions accountable. Only then, can one say that their slogans and outpouring of emotions have some sense and value. Otherwise, those statements shall remain as symptoms of a pathological mind which make them vulnerable to atrocious violence and indignity.
This being the case, we deserve to know:
a) Who is Anthony, the suspected bomber?
b) What are the material and circumstantial evidences on the basis of which the officials have established the identity of the suspected bomber and the organization of which he was a member or on whose behalf he allegedly carried out the heinous act?
c) As per the statement of the Chief Minister, the Bajaj scooter (Chetak) which was allegedly used in the blast had a Nagaland number (NL-O1E/1394) registered in the name of one K. Daniel s/o K. Angami of Diphu Par, Dimapur (Nagaland). Now the question is:
i) Was this information based on the recovery of the necessary document(s) from the blast site or provided by authorities in Nagaland?
ii) Has the investigating agency in the state kept in touch with their counterpart in Nagaland on this matter a) to establish the facts of the case and b) to trace the owner for further questioning?
d) ISTV news mentioned that the Union Home Minister also reportedly blamed NSCN (I-M) for the blast at Sangakpham. (There was one line in Morung express which also reported the statement of the Union Home Minister). If this is so, which agency has given them this news? This is crucial for two reasons: a) The Union Government has been in talks with the said organization and b) for the deeply ethicized and communalized mindset, the words of the Government of Manipur can be subjected slanderous allegation. Moreover, this has serious implication for the “ground rules” of the “cease fire” between the Government of India and the NSCN (I-M), which, as far as Manipur is concerned, is nothing more than a farcical enactment and a part of a make-belief world of those who were ostensibly happy with the withdrawal of the “three words” from the “ceasefire agreement” following the so-called “uprising” in Manipur in 2001.
We must avoid communally charged perspective; what we have seen at Sangakpham is the display of a horrible act of a naked and illegitimate violence that attack the life and dignity of the citizens. Democratic ethos demands accountability of institutions and transparency for a civilized life in the state. And we must work to restore such institutional imperatives, not hollow talks and rhetoric.
By the way, such a note as this one is something that one can legitimately expect to come in media in Manipur. I am sure that many of us have seen such reports and news analysis in media across the globe following such incidents. If it doesn’t come, it only speaks of our media guys just as it speaks of the people of Manipur in general. It’s time to take responsibility, each one of us, for a change.