Banning bandh/blockade

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Ban bandh and blockade. Declare them illegal. Fix responsibilities on the sponsors and organisers of such bandhs and blockades and if convicted, bar them from getting employment with the Government and any other benefits of the numerous schemes floated by the Government. Plus initiate criminal proceedings against them. This is perfectly in line with the slogan of the BJP which said that if the party is voted to power then it would ensure a bandh and blockade free Manipur. This was before the Assembly election, but it is nice to see that the BJP has not forgotten is pre-poll promise and seems intent on living up to it.

This is also a move which will go down well with the people, but important to remember that it is the people themselves who have been imposing bandhs and blockades from time to time. The losses suffered by the people need not be spelt out in detail here but everyone will agree with the point that for too long the people of Manipur have been reeling under a series of bandh and blockade. It was in line with this that a young man had conducted a minute study of the impact of blockades and the losses suffered by the people.

The survey was taken some time back and it was taken up after the then Chief Minister O Ibobi had noted that it would have been very fruitful if the young man also conducts a study on the losses suffered by the people due to bandhs and blockades. The then Chief Minister had said this after the young man in question here had conducted a deep study on the losses suffered by the people on taking a longer route due to the failure of the State Government to complete the construction of the new Sanjenthong bridge which connects Imphal East and Imphal West.

It is not clear whether the then Chief Minister took any serious note of the findings furnished by the young man on the losses incurred due to blockades, but it is gratifying to note that the BJP led Government has taken it upon themselves to initiate some steps to make bandhs and blockades illegal. The proposed move of the State Government will also be on firm legal ground, for remember the High Courts of Kerala, West Bengal and Meghalaya had earlier pronounced bandhs and blockades as illegal. The High Court of Manipur had also struck a similar line in advising the media not to overly give coverage in the event of any bandh or blockade. How the BJP led Government proposes to go ahead with its task remains to be seen but it is a fact that many seem to have come under the impression that calling a bandh or a blockade is their birth right. This can be gauged from the fact that any group of people can come together, form a JAC and then impose a Statewide bandh. Never mind if the bandh has been called for an extremely local issue. Democracy gives the people the right to protest but there is something called democratic form of protest and certainly calling a bandh or imposing a blockade cannot be democratic by any stretch of the imagination.

Source: The Sangai Express

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