Manipur Legislative Assembly’s concluding week of the Assembly session saw intensive agitation for implementation of the Inner Line Permit, ILP system in Manipur. Protests demanding the implementation of ILP were brewing up slowly in the State. This year’s February Assembly session was also marked by modest protests on ILP, taken out at different pockets of the valley. However the July session saw the protest shifting its gear for a more intensive one. We would say the protest in and around the Dhanamanjuri college campus, and Thangmeiband area near the Assembly complex by students gave an impetus to the intensity of the protest. The State Police’s brutal action towards student protestors was something that shocked the people to a large extent. What followed was spontaneous reaction in form of protests in different areas. The atmosphere is still charged even after the Assembly session. One can easily sense the resentment against the Government. ‘Insensitivity’ of the 60 MLAs to the demand of the people, is one common tirade employed by most of the protestors. As seen on the placards and heard from the slogans of the protestors, the demand for resignation of 60 MLAs for their failure to empathise with the people’s demand has been a popular call. The demand not only lacks pragmatism, but a far-off one to achieve. True, political demand does come with political rhetoric too. Sometimes, protestors on camera even claim that they can sacrifice their lives for ILP. Nevertheless, collective wisdom of the people must decide if ILP is a cause worth laying one’s life for or not.
Time and again, the elected representatives are blamed for their insensitivity to issues of the State. In a parliamentary democracy, the representative assembly is the most important decision making body. Decisions on behalf of the people are made, to serve the best interest of the people. It is important to have parliamentary debate before major decisions are made. The recent Assembly session was a budget session, which means important financial decisions pertaining to the State and its economy were taken. In this regard, we need not restate how many among the 60 representatives took part in the debate. The number hardly reaches 10 per cent of the House’s total strength. If any, leave aside the rigour of the debate, the number of participants would clearly reflect the level of involvement of our honourable representatives. This is not to indicate that the House should be turned into a market place like environment, with so many to speak and none to listen. But we demand some rightful noise in the House during an Assembly session, rather than mournful silences. Debate, which is the backbone of democracy, was sadly missing in the House. One could contend that the majority of the House belongs to the Treasury Bench, and therefore the silence. But what about the wholesome participation of the members when the ‘privilege’ of the House was supposedly breached by an outburst from a human right activist during a television discussion over the ILP issue? Apart from all the important decisions taken during the session, was there even a hint of discussion on June 24 Majorkhul fire incident which occurred in the heart of the town. The Chief Minister and his motley group of VIPs were witness to it. They already had a brush with the looming danger of the faulty urban planning. What about the June 4 School van accident which took place at the CM’s home turf? It was the accident which exposed the negligence of the transport department in implementing safety guidelines for the children. We clearly see lack of sensitivity on each count. But, mind it, they will not resign.
Leader Writer: Senate Kh