Public curfew, torch rallies, road blocks Reliving the days of 2015 ?

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42 hours public curfew, torch rallies, mass protest. Road blocks, the clanging sound of electric posts in the night, the smouldering remains of the night’s protest greeting the people on the road the next morning and Manipur seems set to relive the days of 2015, when Imphal and the valley districts were paralysed for days. Inner Line Permit System or a similar mechanism to check the inflow of non-local people into Manipur is the main thrust of the agitation and with the State Assembly passing the three Bills on August 31 last year, the pressure is now on the Government to approach Delhi fittingly so that the Bills get the assent of the President and are enforced as Acts. To keep the record straight, it is not only the Government which is under pressure but also all the other political parties, particularly the State unit of the BJP. This is where the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) seems to have done its homework. With the BJP heading the Government at Delhi, it is natural that pressure should be mounted on the State unit of the BJP and with Assembly election scheduled in the early part of next year, the saffron party obviously cannot sidestep the issue here. However the compulsion of politics is such that it also has to take the prevailing sentiments at Churachandpur and the hill districts, which strongly revolted against the three Bills. Tough to say what the future holds, but these must be worrying days for the State Government.
Other than the State Government, these too must be worrying days for parents, particularly parents whose children will have to appear for the Class X and Class XII board examinations next year. Experience from the past, if one may add. The anxious days that parents had to undergo last year during the days of agitation must still be fresh in the minds of the parents whose children are going to take the board examinations next year. Difficult to say how things will unfold in the days to come, but with all the political parties deciding to head to Delhi and bat for the three Bills, will it suffice to say that the ball has been lobbed at the court of the Centre ? Also remember that the nine bodies at Churachandpur are still lying in state and the possibility of the hill-valley dichotomy erupting in the days to come cannot be brushed aside that easily. Here again it is interesting to note that senior Advocate Khaidem Mani has gone on record to say that there is nothing anti-tribal about the three Bills and it would be interesting to see how the Churachandpur JAC respond to his viewpoint. Unlikely that there will be any meaningful dialogue and most probably either side will continue to stick to their version over the three Bills and this is where Manipur can expect to see more stormy days ahead.

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