48 hours total shutdown called by the Churachandpur JAC. Followed by the 38 hours bandh imposed by the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) and another 24 hours bandh called by the Nungei JAC to demand that the Government pull up those responsible for opening fire on meira paibis who were on vigil some time back. And lest one forgets, there was the indefinite bandh along the Uripok to Kangchup road to protest the action of policemen who allegedly assaulted a woman some time back. Bandh is certainly the flavour at the moment but no one seems to care. All pursuing one demand or the other and unexpectedly all the demands have been raised ostensibly on behalf of the people. The tragedy is no one has given any thought to the plight of the people, especially the people who are daily wage earners. Sure bandhs are imposed in the face of a lethargic Government or to pressurise the authority concerned to wake up and get things done. However this does not nullify the question of whether Manipur can really afford to shut itself down so frequently. It has been like this for years and to be sure once an issue gets settled then another issue will rear its head and Manipur will once again see bandhs and of course blockades. Ironically all the bandhs and blockades are imposed ostensibly on behalf of the people but more than obvious that no thought has been given on how such measures have been negatively impacting on the lives of the people.
The result is there for all to see. A plethora of JACs all over the place and once JACs become the rule rather than the exception then bandhs, shutdowns and blockades will surely become the staple diet of the people and this is what has been happening. One immediate concern is obviously the fate of the young students. With so many days lost due to bandhs and shutdowns, can one expect the young students to study freely ? Remember this is the age of competition and while the world is talking about excellence, here in Manipur one has to worry about whether the young students will be able to pursue his or her studies freely. So apart from the huge economic losses that the people suffer, the future of the youngsters is also being bartered away. Not acceptable. Time for all to seriously introspect and study whether the frequent bandhs and shutdowns are desirable for the land and the people. Moreover the State Government too should acknowledge the point that it is their ineffectiveness which is central to the growing culture of bandhs and shutdowns. Why not launch a movement to say a big no to the culture of bandhs and shutdowns ?