Viewing through one’s community : The tragedy of Manipur

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24 hours total shutdown called by the Kuki Students’ Organisation, Sadar Hills.

A sit-in protest called by the National Sports University Haraothel Protection Committee and the Senjam Khunou and Senjam Chirang Joint Development Committee at the time the total shutdown was on.

At centre of it all is the decision of the State Government to establish the National Sports University at Haraothel.

The bone of contention is obviously the claim raised by the KSO and different Kuki civil society organisations that the proposed sports varsity has encroached on their ancestral land coupled with the fact that during an inspection tour of the site earmarked for the proposed sports varsity, Chief Minister N Biren had stated that there is no dispute over the varsity site.

The 24 hours total shutdown is not the end of it, as the KSO has gone ahead and announced that from August 11, they will spearhead a sustained agitation.

What form the ‘sustained agitation’ will take is anybody’s guess, but be sure that it will impact on the lives of the common people.

It is also anybody’s guess how the people of Senjam Khunou and Senjam Chirang will respond to the situation and certainly the coming days can quite a handful for the BJP led coalition Government.

Add to this the total shutdown called in Senapati by different Naga civil societies from midnight of August 9 over the naming of “Hengbung check post, Kangpokpi district” and surely one can see troubled days ahead.

The common thread running through the two cases here is the identification of territory with a community.

In as much as the Government may claim that districts or district boundaries are marked for administrative convenience, there are not many willing to buy this line of reasoning.

This is the reason why Manipur witnessed the marathonesque economic blockade called by the United Naga Council after the then Congress Government announced the creation of seven new districts.

Land is again at the core point of the stand off that one sees over the proposed National Sports University.

There have been claims and counter claims over the proposed site of the NSU, but so far the Government seems to have maintained a studied silence, save for the announcement of the Chief Minister that there is no dispute over the site.

Still early to say which way the wind will blow, with regard to the proposed NSU site, but it says something that such a strong opposition can be raised to a project which will be here for the benefits of everyone.

In short the dispute over the NSU site, the strong opposition raised against the district creation, the Churachandpur uproar against the three Bills in 2015, all the economic blockades etc are all testimony of the deep distrust between different communities in the State and this perhaps is the greatest tragedy.

No one is ready to view issues in the context of Manipur but through the prism of one’s own community and this is the ugly reality of Manipur today.

Source: The Sangai Express

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