Manipur: India’s Ground Zero

Dr Suresh Mathew Dr Suresh Mathew
31 Jul 2023
Manipur is India’s ground zero. The dictionary meaning of the term ‘ground zero’ is “the place where a bomb explodes.”

Manipur is India’s ground zero. The dictionary meaning of the term ‘ground zero’ is “the place where a bomb explodes.” What is happening in the tiny state in the North-East is more devastating than the explosion of a bomb. 

The scenes and snaps emerging from across Manipur are nauseating. The latest is the video of parading two women naked in public surrounded by ‘howling armed barbarians’. It will make people go numb and dumbfounded. But the State police remained like ‘statues’ as they did not act on the FIRs filed in the case. 

Any police force worth its salt would have moved swiftly and rounded up the culprits. A speedy investigation and trial in a fast-track court would have sent the right message to others of the same ilk. It took two months for them to make the first arrests.

The worst part is that the death and devastation show no signs of waning; the fury of the diabolical attacks continues even after three months. Even more frightening is the ‘absence’ of government and governance in the State. It is not surprising that the state police, as in every other state, apparently acted as per the dictates of the political patrons. But it boggles every sensible mind that the Central Government with a huge reserve of para-military forces and the fourth largest Army in the world could not put an end to the bloodbath taking place in Manipur. 

It goes without saying that the government looked the other way when majoritarian madness was let loose to teach a lesson or two to the ‘victims’ who form around 40 per cent of the population. The government could quell the violence in no time, but it dithered apparently due to motives other than governance. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose eloquence in attacking the opposition parties and their leaders is unbeatable, kept a prolonged silence of three months on the ‘burning Manipur.’ The Prime Minister, who finds time to tweet and talk on every issue under the sun, kept mum when the state was in flames; neither he bothered to visit the state though he talks of his love for the North-East which, he claims, had been left unattended by the previous governments. At last, when he opened his mouth on the issue, when he expressed his sadness and anger, the element of empathy was missing in his statement. His mention of Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh along with Manipur exposed his political intent. 

Though the Parliament is in session, the Prime Minister has not shown any inclination to make a statement in the House; but he delves on the issue outside, from public platforms, exposing his scant regard for the sanctum sanctorum of democracy.

The Manipur issue, though it has not moved the authorities to act, has stirred the conscience of the world. The European Union Parliament has passed resolution condemning the incidents. The US has expressed ‘shock and horror’ over the continuing violence, killings, widespread destruction of worshipping places and the atrocious act of parading women naked in the State. 

The image of the country is at stake. The BJP and the governments at the Centre and the State should put the country above petty, partisan considerations. The Biren Singh government should go. That should be the first serious step to bring back peace in a state where once people lived together.  

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