In a way, it is heartening to learn that a section of the Anal populace have admitted that the Momoko incident was a passage in a guide book and not part of the syllabus for graduation course prescribed by Manipur University. On the other hand, it was extremely disconcerting to come across the news that the Naga Students’ Union, (Chamdil) had asked the concerned author to tender an apology to the Naga communities and warned of agitation if he is not punished (by the MU) even after his expression of readiness to retract the contentious portion covering two lines.
The events following the alleged assault of the young actress during the fag end of 2012 by an NSCN-IM leader was marked by social unrest and was not indeed a proud moment for the state. It opened a Pandora box culminating in an unwanted stand-off between the protestors and the administration and heightened the risk of misunderstandings between different religious groups during the festive season of the Christian community. Above all, the life of a dutiful journalist was lost in the line of duty felling to bullets of the state security force. The demands for arrest of the alleged perpetrator steadily weakened and was soon forgotten after the realisation that the rigmarole of administration was the major block to attainment of justice. The molestation case had been pushed into the back of our minds. The accepted, if unrevealed, understanding among all is that the unruly behaviour of a stoned rebel should not be allowed to push a wedge into the cordial relationship between different communities. After considering of the whole story, it is worth pondering whether the use of the ‘ugly incident’ as an exemplification is significant enough to be persistently brought up in the media and exposed for another round of public debate. The Anal community has the right to oppose the inclusion of the unwanted episode in the book. However, after the author of the guide book himself clarified that he had no intention of hurting their sentiments and agreed to retract that part from his book, it was unfair to be adamant on demanding punishment and making wild charges against one and all including the journalist fraternity.
The Anal community can boycott the book and even huddle with other organisations to ensure that the book has no buyers. Unwanted aggression is unwarranted and tantamount to over-exposition of a trivial issue. The accused in the Momoko molestation case is still at large and the episode that rakes up a lot of controversies and tested the limit of our tolerance has not still been closed. The union and the community leaders should accept the apology from the author and believe his words on leaving out the ‘controversial lines.’