Nothing can be more shameful for all the people of Manipur that a respected political stalwart like Rishang Keishing who is father-figure to many was denied a burial ground at his native village of Bungpa Khunou, Kamjong district.
The State Government had already made a plan to bury the mortal remains of Rishang Keishing at Bungpa Khunou.
What prompted the State Government to change its plan all of a sudden or what prevented the Government from taking the lifeless body of Rishang Keishing to his native village for one last time?
The funeral service of the late political patriarch was scheduled to be held at Bungpa Khunou but the body was laid to rest at his Mantripukhri residence because one major insurgent outfit prohibited the late leader’s son who is a former MLA from visiting Bungpa Khunou, so say media reports.
If these reports are true, the State Government needs a serious introspection and soul-searching.
Thousands have paid rich tributes and many have eulogised the deed and life of the late political patriarch.
If the State Government changed its plan of holding the funeral service at Bungpa Khunou because of threats by the particular militant group, then it has serious political implications and it would have far-reaching ramifications.
Nothing can be more offensive both morally and politically than denial of a piece of burial ground to a dead man or woman.
When the particular militant group has the audacity to prohibit funeral service of one of the tallest figure like Rishang Keishing at his native village, its writs undoubtedly run strong and large.
For Rishang Keishing, Bungpa Khunou and Mantripukhri might not have made any difference for they are all parts of Manipur but it is not so for Rita Haorei whose body cannot be buried till date even though she died on August 7.
Whereas her family has been insisting that the mortal remains should be put to rest at their native village Leingangching, Leingangching village authority has been contending that they would not give any burial ground for Rita Haorei for the entire family was banished from the village in 2010.
Whatever may be the cause of banishment, what is rather interesting is, the particular militant group seems to be sitting on the judgment throne in this case too.
Apparently, the mortal remains of Rita Haorei can be and possibly would be put to rest at Leingangching only with the blessing of the militant group.
Whereas the State Government has been watching all these heart-wrecking events helplessly, the militant group has stamped its authority very firmly.
We have no intention to politicise the death and funeral of Rishang Keishing or any man or woman but we cannot help wondering what prevented the State Government from going through its original plan of holding the funeral of the former Chief Minister at his native village.
If it was because of threats from militants, the State acted wisely by opting for non-confrontational solution.
No doubt, it’s time for mourning, not for violent confrontation even though we are not sure whether the State Government has the guts and gumption to confront the militant group.
Any confrontation with the particular militant group could have resulted in heavy casualties at this time of pain and grief. Yet, we cannot help asking if there is a parallel Government in the hill districts of Manipur.
When there are two parallel Governments or established authorities within a defined territory, you cannot expect people to be loyal to both of them.
Again, Manipur’s geographical boundary is well-defined, but its administrative boundary is becoming more obscure day by day.
It appears that the administrative boundary of the elected State Government is restricted within the valley area.
If the State Government is really committed to the idea of a united Manipur as repeatedly pledged by successive Government leaders and as espoused by late Rishang Keishing, it needs to expand its administrative machinery to the hill districts too.
The Government and all its machinery and functions should be comprehensive enough to take all the people residing within the geographical boundary of Manipur within its fold.
If the State Government leaves any vacuum in any part of its territory in any aspect of life, one group or the other would surely step in to fill the vacuum. RIP Oja Rishang.
Source: The Sangai Express