The district creation headache : Conflicting interests

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Roll back district creation decision. This is the United Naga Council and various Naga civil societies of Manipur.

No roll back of district creation. This is the call from different CSOs of Kangpokpi district spearheaded by the Kuki Students’ Organisation, Kangpokpi.

Caught in the middle is the BJP led Government.

Not a comfortable position by any stretch of the imagination and it remains to be seen how the Biren Singh Government negotiates its way through.

Not only this, there is also the controversy on the site ear marked for the National Sports University and here again it is Kangpokpi district which is in the news.

The UNC has already made its stand known, if the record breaking economic blockade imposed from November 1 of last year is anything to go by and the Kuki CSOs too have demonstrated what they can do if one recollects the more than 100 days economic blockade on the demand to grant district status to Sadar Hills, now Kangpokpi.

A clear sign that to many CSOs on either side of the district creation, administrative convenience is far from the radar of all concerned as far as district creation is concerned.

Making things more interesting is the ongoing dialogue at the political level between the UNC, State Government and the Centre and one wonders how the State Government will manoeuvre its way through.

No one can write off the possibility of the Kuki CSOs also demanding a talk at the political level if the dialogue with the UNC continues for a prolonged period of time and what happened along National Highway-2 at Kangpokpi, when hundreds of people lined up to greet the participants of the talk with the slogans that there should be no question of rolling back the decision to create the seven new districts should give one an inkling of what may happen.

As with all other major issues which have been dogging Manipur for ages now, the ruckus over the district creation can also seen through the lens of one community against another community.

This is the reality and there is nothing to gloss over this. It may not be as pronounced but the stand off over the venue of the proposed National Sports University too may be seen as a clash of interest between two communities.

In all the stand offs that Manipur has seen, the one common thread running through is the deep suspicion between different communities, particularly between the three major communities, the Meiteis, Nagas and the Kukis.

It is this which came out in all its ugly manifestation when Churachandpur erupted as one when the Assembly passed the three Bills on August 31, 2015.

An issue which should have united the people of the land instead sowed such a seed of divide that it was only after nearly three years that the mortal remains of eight of the nine killed at Churachandpur were given their last rites.

There is no magic mantra which can address the deep rooted distrust amongst the different communities, but this is no reason why things should be allowed to continue like this.

The Government too should sit down and sincerely discuss the issues with the people and stop playing politics.

The task ahead is not easy and it will need all the political acumen of Chief Minister N Biren and his men to ensure that Manipur does not see a repeat of the ugly incidents of the past.

Source: The Sangai Express

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