Giving a new dimension to the understanding of militarising a place, to borrow a phrase which has been used extensively by some Naga student organisations and Naga civil society organisations. How else does one explain the rationale of opening an Assam Rifles camp plumb inside the campus of Manipur University ? Take note, the Assam Rifles camp in question here is also in a place deemed to be a sacred, historical site to the people of Manipur and voices raised against the camp inside the sanctum sanctorum of a place of learning in the past have all fallen on deaf ears and it is here that serious questions may be raised on just how Delhi views the people of Manipur. This is in sharp contrast to the much tom tommed Act East Policy of the Central Government with Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeming to take a personal interest to integrate the North East to the consciousness of India. Also remember that it is at the initiative of the Prime Minister himself that Union Ministers have been instructed to visit the North East States in turn and while all these steps are definitely on the right track, it is acts like opening a post of security forces inside a place of learning that will only help in alienating the people further. What is the rationale of opening the Assam Rifles camp inside the campus of Manipur University ? It is here that the Union Home Ministry has a bounden duty to answer to the people of Manipur. If memory serves us right, the Government had to act quickly and remove a police outpost from within the campus of Delhi University in the early part of the 1990s when students of the varsity raised a hue and cry. The police outpost was later shifted to the foothills of the Ridge, which runs adjacent to the campus of Delhi University.
How does locating an Assam Rifles post inside the campus of MU help in maintaining law and order is the natural question that follows. A question to which there will never be an answer. It is this mentality that sucks. Throw one’s weight around and militarise a place of learning. This is what exactly the Centre is doing in stationing a para-military force, whose primary duty is to help maintain law and order, inside the campus of a univeristy. Moreover remember there is exactly no good report card to be given to the Assam Rifles in its long years here. Just recall some of the ugly incidents of the past and how the Armed Forces Special Powers Act came to be withdrawn from the municipality areas of Imphal more than ten years back. Just recall the historic nude protest by womenfolk in front of Kangla, which then housed the Assam Rifles. So it is that from occupying Kangla to setting up a camp inside MU campus, the Centre has got its priorities wrong. Good that Manipur University Students’ Union has brought this subject up again and this is the main reason why the English edition of The Sangai Express featured the move of the student body as the first lead story in the 25th June edition.
Source: The Sangai Express