By Babina Wahengbam
Who will protect us from the hands of dirty politicians & filthy militants?
The biggest fear rising in the minds of every single citizen of the state right now is who will protect and ensure safety of the people in Manipur. Almost all the top political leaders who have set itself up as the guardians of the public trust are rotten and corrupt to the core. All self-declared guardians of the state are dishonest or crooked at heart. Who then is to guard the guardians of the state?
We have a grave situation in Manipur in which personal accumulation of wealth have been closely tied to politicians backed by armed groups and vice-versa either through corruption or extortion. And since positions of leadership have been dominated by these individuals, the two vices of corruption and nepotism have become part of the daily vocabulary of many under our political system.
There is a crippling inability on the part of the political leadership to deal with this issue of militancy. Could it be that this inaction stems from the fact that we are expecting action to be taken from the very people that are corrupt? For, power can and does transform good men and women into corrupt and greedy leaders. And the victims of this struggle for spoils have obviously been the people of this state.
Why is our government doing nothing despite claiming of having concrete evidences of the particular militant organization involving in carrying out the recent bomb blast at Sangakpham that killed 5, including that of a father and son duo and 2 little innocent girls aged around 10 years? How can our state leaders just ignore when armed goons enjoy unbridled freedom to carry out brutal attacks on civilians in broad daylight and go scot-free?
ISTV news on 2nd August 2011 carried that, at a news conference held at New Delhi, Home Minister Chidambaram declared that the bomb attack at Sangakpham was done by the NSCN (IM). Why then is the Govt of India unable to take up any action? Or is it GOI`s one dirty strategy to intensify the ethnic clashes between the Nagas and the Meiteis?
Just like the state government, the self-declared guardians did not care to prevent such inhuman and barbaric act of planting bombs at busy market place. How can they just watch silently the half-torn bodies lying on the same soil like a piece of log? How can they just let NSCN (IM) plant a bomb in such public place and stay quiet, if at all the said outfit was behind the blast? Is NSCN (IM) bigger than PLA, RPF, UNLF, PREPAK, KCP, KYKL, and the endless number of factions?
Whether they realize it or not, but NSCN spat on the face of the many revolutionary organizations operating in the heart of Imphal by attacking the public right under their nose. The very statement given by NSCN (IM), “the fact that some groups in Manipur targeting innocent public in order to make their political statement has become a matter of grave concern” is rather a big shame for our meitei revolutionaries.
Refuting the allegations that NSCN was responsible for the blast at Sangakpham, the outfit also slaps the Govt of Manipur saying that the reaction of the Manipur government and its CM, Ibobi is nothing but an act of impropriety and recklessness, considering their irrational opposition to peace and the ongoing political dialogue between the government of India and the NSCN.
Officially or unofficially, NSCN (IM) has been carrying out its terror administration along with setting up offices in all the Naga inhabited districts of Manipur, although the ceasefire is not legitimately extended to the state.
In a press statement published in The Sangai Express, Manipur Naga Revolutionary Front (MNRF) said the AC battalion of NSCN (IM) is at Phunchong in Chandel district, the NP battalion is in Oklong in Tamenglong district, Kishimung battalion is in Grehang village in Ukhrul district and Huthrong Brigade is in Senapati district. Moreover, NSCN (IM) has been openly collecting taxes at Mao Gate in Senapati, Pallel Gate in Chandel district, Litan Gate in Ukhrul district and at Noney in Tamenglong district, MNRF added.
Why then is the Govt of Manipur as well as the Govt of India giving a blind eye and deaf ear to this outfit? Is NSCN (IM) bigger than the state and central government?
The government must not only have those responsible for Sangakham blast victims brought to justice immediately but also deactivate all militants who have become a law unto themselves in Manipur. So long as they are given freedom to act according to their whims, civilians will not be safe. It is high time they are dealt with appropriately. Else, attempts being made to rebuild Manipur are bound to fail. Needless to say development does not take root in a culture of impunity.
We can`t accommodate terrorism. When someone uses the slaughter of innocent people to advance a so-called political cause, at that point the political cause becomes immoral and unjust and they should be eliminated from any serious discussion, any serious debate. Every leader, and every regime, and every movement, and every organization that steps across the line to terrorism must be banished from the discourse of civilized human life.
If the so called sons of the soil really want to build a new Kangleipak, then they should pull up their socks before the public starts protesting against them. They should stop slaughtering innocent people in the name of revolution before the public starts killing them morally. They should stop being the obstacle to the state`s development before the public throws them out of the very state they are fighting for. They hurl bombs and threaten anybody who refuses to pay them money but they can`t stand up and fight the infiltrators. If they can be the first to impose illegal tax and extort money in the name of the state`s welfare, how can they be the last on earth when it comes to protecting their own people?
Try as we should, the question that I want to pose is this: Is there any hope that we will ever root out corruption and terrorism in this new millennium? Does anyone out there in the corridors of power listening to us? Yes, perhaps they are but many of them not hearing!
The real epidemic in our state is poor political leadership, government economic mismanagement, corruption and insurgency. These are the causes of our continuing crisis and not much else. Accepting responsibility for one`s actions and for a system that has gone badly wrong is the starting point on the road to our economic recovery. I see this as the greatest challenge facing today.
And as civic society, we must continue to pile pressure on corrupt leaders so that in the end they do the honorable thing and resign from their positions of power whether they are politicians or self-declared guardians because the latter can be corrupt as well.
However, my faith in Manipur is strengthened by the fact that brave men will stand against any injustice and by my belief that the people of this state will never lack the leaderships of dynamic and dedicated men and women in the future.