I am sick of economic blockage and bandth in Manipur. Enough is enough! Let’s give a chance to peace and we need to live in justice as a good citizen in the state.
The world is a beautiful place to live in and the beautiful state of Manipur is a part of it; where the economic blockade, curfew and bandth have become a part of day to day life for the people in the state. It has been regularly organised time and again for different reason in the state. I am sick of economic blockade and bandth in Manipur because it has been practicing since my childhood. Enough is enough; let’s give a chance to peace. We have an option, we the citizens of Manipur can choose a peacefully life, living together with love and mutual respect to all communities in the state. Or else! We can choose to live together with full of problems, such as; economic blockade, bandth, counter-blockade, a state with full of violent, waging war with one another, living in culture of corruption, paper war, fighting for power among the political party and full of socio-political problems in the state which include, civil war, factional clashes, riot among the various communities, curfew and total shutdown in the beautiful state of Manipur. The choice is in our hand and let’s chooses wisely.
The law and order in our state is totally breakdown in my observation; where different communities in Manipur have failed to live together under the law of the land. Coming to the main point, oh my surprise! Indefinite economic blockade calls by UNC for political reason on the National Highway, which is the lifeline for Inner-Manipur. And the ruling government has failed to lift the economic blockade by playing divide and rule policy; if the ruling party has failed to resolve the issues with UNC on time, then the Manipur general election 2017 will be disturbed, because the outer-Manipur is dominated by Nagas and tribal. One thing the Naga leaders should understand that this economic blockage is directly affected to the poorest of the poor in the valley, this blockage indirectly affecting to the development of the state and also effect the peaceful life of the innocent citizens of the Manipur. However, the outsider and greedy businessmen made more profit by taking advantage from our economic blockade. Our problem is with the congress ruling party in Manipur but not with poor and helpless people in valley; but our economic blockade is affecting them badly, we should formulate a better policy to counter them directly or indirectly without effecting to the poor. We should not use this method of economic blockade as a pressure giving to Manipur government for their political misadventure in Nagalim, because it is directly affected to the poor, under privilege people and daily wages labourer, government service men and small businessmen. On the other hand, shutting down all government offices in Naga inhabited areas is our lost only; this kind of policy is the stumbling block for our development and effecting the efficient administration of our district, in my opinion. Once again, I personally didn’t encourage the economic blockage using as a tool to find the solution but I will rather suggest to deal them directly in more diplomatic way or else we can organize protect in the CM office, Secretariat office, asked for centre intervention, request all the Nagas who are working in government office in Nagalim ought to be cooperated with UNC decision and sort out in non-violent meant, and fight in the court based on the law of the land. On the other hand, Meitei people in the valley often organized bandth and counter blockage. Citizen of Manipur let me tell you the truth; we are stopping ourselves from human development, economic growth and badly affected our children education and their future carrier.
Education system in Manipur has eroded by socio-political problem in the state which is the root cause of unable to cover-up the syllabus on time, affecting the education system in our society will be our lost at the end of the day. However, some rich families can sent out their children for better education to other cities but poor families can’t effort at all; according to my opinion, all our children deserve to get equal opportunities of education in our state. Moreover, this has been reversely effected our state economy. So, we should stop this culture of bandth and economic blockage for the sake of our children. I thought, all of our children deserve to study in our state peacefully by providing them all necessary materials; but if the bad situation continues then the best option for our kids is, to send them out to the other state for the better education. But you know? When your children go out to other cities for better education, they face many problems especially racial discrimination everywhere and every time which affect them psychologically in studies. Apart from it, some parents have lost the precious life of their children. Thereby, the best option for us is to provide quality education to our children in our state with parental love and care, and we can send our children to other cities or places for internship or study tour or vacation to explore the world!
Our hope lies in our children successful future; In Manipur, we can give our children the best quality education for no doubt. However, there are many problems, but let’s find out the problem and solve it immediately. I will discuss three main problems which I find in my research; firstly, we have a habit that any organizations can call for bandth and they call it without prior-information which affects the education curriculum of the student and their educational carrier. Suggestion; we should find another way to solve the problem or to meet our demand without affecting our children education. And we need to solve in more diplomatic way or in legal meant through court. I appeal every concern organisation to give prior-information for bandth and curfew if necessary. Secondly, some organisations are using to the student for protest, rally and bandth or as their political tools to meet their demand but that is absolutely wrong because their duty is to study in educational institution but they shouldn’t be politicised before their time; however, misusing the student by disturbing their studies is logically incorrect and pushing the innocent student to against the government is not the right approach in my thought. Suggestion: let’s not disturbed children education and we should not use them as our political force to meet our demand. We should respect the teachers who are shaping our state future. Thirdly, the corruption in the state has already spread as a virus in our state. It has been affecting to the children’s education; the corruption has been practice in the interview for appointing/selecting teaching staff, this is one of the most dangerous in education system of Manipur. Because the unqualified person can become a teacher by depositing cash in the interview but the merit candidate were not given a chance if they didn’t practice the culture of corruption, in return that unqualified person can give wrong education to your children in school. Suggestion: Ministers and officials of the state should check the corruption in the education system and appoint the merit candidate for teaching post without corruption. On the other hand, many teachers are not going to the posted places but they love to get salary without teaching in the school. I want to suggest to all teacher; be a good teacher for our society because you are shaping the future of our nation! We shouldn’t play our children future like a dice; but we should give a chance to committed and deserve candidate for teaching post, every teacher should have commitment and conviction, and the politicians shouldn’t misuse their power while exercising their muscle power on education for their populist politic. We should stop the culture of bandth, economic blockade, curfew and total shutdown once for all, and let’s give a chance to peace and install normal life.
Manipur unrest should be seriously analysed; one thing which give me very surprise! The so called volunteers for economic blockade have burn down trucks and the volunteer for Counter-blockage’ has destroyed and taken some of my friend goods which bring from Delhi via Imphal to Ukhrul district. The Manipur police are just looking the uncivilized action of the innocent volunteers. That was a shameful act; oh my goodness! Why you guys are taking advantage to take other belonging and burning goods and truck, which is not really yours and for what end? What a silly reaction to the situation! Let’s learn from our mistake and we shouldn’t repeat it again in the future. When the hill people has organized the economic blockage for a political problem with ruling party; the centre has provided the securities to escort the vehicle in the National Highway and even the centre has sent oil to Imphal by using Indian Air Force C-17 (Globemaster Plane). But the ruling government has totally lost control the situation. However, many congress MLAs especially Okram Ibobi (19th CM of Manipur), MLA Mr. Gaikhangam Gangmei (54-Nungba ST) and Mr RK Anand (Nouriya Pakhanglakpa AC MLA) has totally confuse how to handle the situation and blaming to centre or accusing other blindly that the state BPJ are working with NPF without evidence, this is a mockery to their own immature politic. The Citizen of Manipur shouldn’t elect those leaders who have little knowledge but talking likes an expert because they are dangerous in our politic. Mr. RK Anand said “BJP, UNC, NSCN-IM and NPF have been working together as their political agenda are more or less similar” –Jan. 29, 2017 20:47 pm (The Sangai Express), where is the proved? On the other hand, it’s quite funny that the person like RK Anand question about Naga National issues under NSCN-IM (Framework Agreement); when he can’t even handle his own problem and struggling in state affair, he is unfit and he is not welcome to discuss any of the Naga issues because he is not qualified for this topic but talking like an expert. However, I will be happy to teach those people like him on ‘Naga Polity and law and governance system of our nation’ apart from their limited legal knowledge, only if, they want to talk like an expert on this topic. The congress government can’t ignore the daily wages labourers, street vendors and small entrepreneurs have suffered a lot due to economic blockade because of the untimely intervention by the ruling party. It is the duty and responsibility of the state government to maintain law and order by solving all these problems and manage to bring peace in the state. They shouldn’t forget to promote the weaker section of the society and small young entrepreneurs affected by economic blockade. Because this economic blockade is intentionally created by them for their political gain but in reality it has badly affect to them. If the ruling government is really concern for every citizens of Manipur, then why common men face such problems at this juncture? But the state ruling government is not taking enough steps to solve the problem but they rather blame to centre government; however, maintaining law and order in the Manipur is in state list, legally speaking. The centre government can help to any state government under federal structure in Indian constitution but they can’t directly involve in state affair which is in state list, unless president rule impose in the state. I have been experiencing the dysfunction of secretariat office in my district but we have many works in the office but most of my works are on pending since it has closed. And all the blame goes to inefficient ruling of Congress party in the state. We are not moving forward but pushing ourselves backward in this highly competitive world; every citizens and communities have equal right to be protected by the state, which is the spirit of democracy.
Every citizens of Manipur should re-introspect the democratic form of government in our state. There is something wrong in Manipur democracy; the spirit of democracy is fading away day by day and the culture of corruption has been growing longer all night. We need to change the government, at least once in a decade, when they have failed the law and order of the state. In order to correct the system, we should vote for the deserve party. Fifteen years of corruption and socio-political problem in the state is enough, normal citizen like me has fed-up to the lawless system. The inefficiency ruling of congress in Manipur led the United Naga Council (UNC) to organized economic blockage regularly and some interest group in the Valley conducted bandth regularly because the Manipur congress has failed to accommodate all community in their administration when analyzed. On the other hand, Mr. Ibobi led Congress sharkar has announced to create seven new districts; however, Nagas in Manipur has discarded the move because the move is undemocratic, the congress government has been trying to control our land and they have not properly communicated to the Nagas leaders and the effected people. I suggest the congress government and their politician to sit with Nagas leaders and settle the issues without creating further socio-political problem in Manipur.
As the political actors of the state, they should respect the constitution and protect the minority and honour their leaders who represent them in the state and respect their rights. Without Nagas and other communities in Manipur, Meitei congress alone can’t be formed as Manipur state for various reasons; and geo-political reason is one of them. Thereby, they should respect the rights of every community, and releasing of UNC leaders immediately is the need of an hour for peaceful coexistence. Congress politicians has been ignoring the Nagas national right, and ignoring their concern, trying to override their legal right, under estimating them as minorities by creating seven new districts for vote bank politics which is highly questionable. However, the corrupted politicians will receive their price when the time has come because they will never go unpunished. Let me ask you very simple question to all the citizens of Manipur; how will you react, when I give your plot of land to other person without your concern? I’m sure you will protest against the injustice that I have done. The similar situation is happening with UNC and Government of Manipur. Thereby, the UNC can protest against the ruling government of Manipur for their wrong decision and they call for economic blockage for a right reason, in one sense, but alas! This economic blockade is not the solution for the problem and it affects the peaceful life of the innocent citizen, in return it also affects ‘Right to Life and Human Right’ and I don’t like this policy. Unfortunate, no valley organizations complain to ruling government for their injustice they have done to Nagas but they rather point their finger at UNC blindly. Let’s live in justice and placed our thought and feeling in the right platform on right time as a civilised person! As a citizen of Manipur, I feel that voting for Congress in this political scenario is like shooting to the wheel of the racing car. On the other hand, when the BJP is in power at the centre; what is the need, if the congress emerges power in Manipur? The congress doesn’t deserve another chance in this coming election in my opinion. However, I will be the first person to vote for congress, if their politicians come out with clean hand in the next election but my faith on congress party has wither away with the winder-fall.
Dear folks, let me conclude by saying these points; we should exercise our voting right which is given in the constitution in order to correct the system or else we can continue the same old boring system. Remember that what will our future generation learn from us; when we keep on practicing the culture of corruption in our state and if we keep on conducting this silly episode of economic blockage, bandth and counter blockage? Let’s live together in peace and with mutual respect, and let our grandchildren talk about the strong bond of our friendship. I suggest every citizen of Manipur to live as a good citizen and work as a living example for other, especially for our coming generation. Let’s saw a seed of love in their heart but not hatred among the various communities. Let’s reason together, and we should work for peace and unity, because the human life is very short and let’s enjoy the beauty of life with happiness. We should learn the arts of peaceful coexistence in a beautiful state of Manipur, and the beauty of our state lies in our differences. We should try to give good hospitality to the Non-Manipur citizen (outsider) with love and respect, and let them learn a good life lesson from us, let them spread a good news about us to the whole world. We should forgive and forget one another our past mistake; we must perform our role with sincerity, integrity, honesty and live in justice under the law of the land. I am from outer-Manipur but I believe in peaceful coexistence with Meitei, Kuki and other community in Manipur. I belief in equality and I believe that everyone is equal before the eyes of God; we are one family being in human society.
The author is specialized in Law and Governance and ex-executive officer of Greenpeace International; presently working as social worker in Manipur.
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