Fear of peace

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Once in power everyone speaks of peace and non-violence. Today’s leaders are no exception. They say that if there is no peace, there cannot be no development and progress of the society or the nation. They say that as violence occurs, there cannot be peace. They say that violence must be stopped and peace must prevail. The term ‘peace’ has often been misunderstood. What many perceive about peace is just the absence of direct and visible violence. These people do not understand nor are they ready to understand why such violence occurs. There are structural and cultural violence which are less visible and indirect; and they support the visible and direct violence. That is why many people and organisations both governmental and non-governmental demand to stop violence and seek for peace. Many people think that if there is no violence, there will be peace. However, the kind of peace, which prevails in the absence
of violence many people perceive, is negative peace. Peace researchers say, negative peace is absence of war or violence as against positive peace, which encompasses all aspects of the good society that we might envisage for ourselves: universal rights, economic well-being, ecological balance and other core
values. Peace is a political condition that ensures justice and social stability through formal and informal institutions, practices, and norms. Several conditions must be met for peace to be reached and maintained: balance of political power among the various groups within a society. But, there are always
people who fear peace. They are those who wield power in their hands. They have good reason to do so for they will lose wealth, status and power as result of what they have done. Look at the living example of the profiteers of conflict in Manipur ranging from police commandos to top bureaucrat officials and
politicians. Look at the huge mansions that have come up in the skyline of Imphal. It is a known fact that the very people who are directly or indirectly involved in counter-insurgency operations do not want the insurgency to end. Even when there is a fund constraint in the state, the Union Home Ministry has
funds for raising new police battalions, modern weaponry and enough funds for military civic action. Now they have a civic action fund for the police also.

While they talk about conflict as a deterrent to bringing development in the state their hands are also dipped deep in the development pie. While they talk of UG percentages in development funds, they are taking their own share of percentages. So, why should they care about conflict becoming a hindrance to the so-called development? It is indeed a boon in disguise for them. Yet, they will talk about it in every available forum. It has become a common endeavour for them to direct public attention and focus towards negative peace that is the absence of direct or visible violence. Simply because they are afraid of positive peace which could only be churned out of conflict getting either resolved or transformed. Their only agenda is making appeals to the non-state actors to come to the negotiating table for talks. What kind of talks or on what basis or conditions? They are not ready to spell it out. And, they are also
not ready to evolve a well thought out policy or plan. The other day, the state Home Minister had on Gandhi Jayanti invited the UG groups for talks. Yet, he contradicted himself by again saying that the state government is yet to chalk out a specific plan for holding talks with the UGs. The frontline UG groups active in Manipur have already expressed their opposition to peace proposals floated by the state. On the other hand state Home Minister had said that no steps have been taken up at the moment for any sort of talks with the valley based UG organizations in the state. The situation throws up a question. Is the state government really serious about talks? Or just harping about it for the sake of propaganda? The state needs to come clean.

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