If 2015 revolved around the demand to introduce the Inner Line Permit System or a similar mechanism to check the influx of non-local people into the State and the three Bills passed on August 31 last year, then there have been equally earth shaking incidents that marked the State in the last 15 or more years. Significantly the demand to introduce a legislation to check the influx of non-local people still stands while on the other hand the bodies of the nine people killed in the protest against the three Bills are still lying in state at Churachandpur. Central to the two opposing sides is the deep trust deficit between the local people of Manipur and this is what is worrying. A look back at the past 15 or more years should drive home the point that this is not the first time that the deep divide between the different communities has come out in the open and one just has to look back to 2001 when the State was literally paralysed for days when a strong protest erupted against the Bangkok Declaration. The Lim divide continues to haunt the collective psyche of the people and it will take much more than mere lip service to bridge the divide that the Lim demand has spawned. And if one talks about the last 15 or more years then how can one forget the Malom massacre of 2000 which gave birth to the crusader in Irom Chanu Sharmila. Her fast demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act continues to this day and there is no indication that either side, meaning the Government of India and Sharmila will give in.
Thangjam Manorama, Sanjit and Rabina, Irom Chanu Sharmila, Bangkok Declaration of June 14, 2000, June 18 of 2000, the ILP movement and the Churachandpur protest against the three Bills and Th Herojit in 2016 are all names and instances which have marked the last 15 or more years in Manipur. These individuals and instances continue to cast a long shadow on the people and the State. No indication that the past will be forgotten in a hurry but for the sake of the future and the youngsters, the people and the land should learn a lesson or two from the past and see how to proceed to the future. The lesson should be on how to take the positives from the ugly incidents of the past and take steps to ensure that the errors of the past are not repeated. More often than not it is the deep distrust between the different communities which is chiefly responsible for all the ugly instances. The future too will not look bright if the distrust continues. The Government too should seriously look into itself and see how it has added to the all round bleak scenario of the place. Ditto too for the people. For starters why don’t everyone start questioning themselves why thousands of students feel compelled to go outside the State to pursue their education, putting their parents and elders under immense stress ?