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Manipur Violence: Incompetence does more harm than good


The current bloodshed in Manipur, which began on 3rd May, might have been avoided if the state administration had been vigilant from the start. The ineffective central government and its tardy central troops have exacerbated the humanitarian situation that the people of Manipur are facing.

By Loya-Ngamba Sapam

“Anybody can become angry…but, to be angry with the right person for the right purpose…. That is not easy”. Aristotle. In the case of conflict in Manipur, we have found both the ‘people’ (authority) as well as the ‘purpose’ to be upset. People’s dissatisfaction with the state, both the state and the central government, has grown as the conflict has dragged on. It allows time to foster enmity or hostility amongst communities. There are no actual acts or policies in place to quell this raging animosity, which gives the ground the proper cause to be dissatisfied with the state. The state administration has failed to define adequate plans to restore peace to Manipur, instead acting in accordance with federal government dictates.


The appointment of a security advisor in the aftermath of violence in Manipur is the first indication that the Manipur government has been used as a puppet by the central executive. The question of whether the appointment was made under Article 355, which requires the central government to protect the state against external or internal aggression, remains unanswered. However, many national news outlets claimed that the appointment was made in accordance with Article 355. Though the issue of appointment is blurred, it is easy to argue that such an arrangement erodes power of the Unified Command, the Chief Minister’s authority to control the state’s police, army, and paramilitary forces.

Second, in a statement to the media following his meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah, N. Biren Singh stated, “I will take responsibility for the administration of valley, and the latter will take responsibility for the hills.” Does the chief spokesperson’s comment reflect the state’s self-esteemed government?

Third, the state’s representatives in either house of parliament did not say anything to the chambers on Manipur issues. This terrible attitude of MPs occurred at a public protest pushing them to speak out about the current turmoil in parliament. Mr. Lorho S. Pforz, the state’s Lok Shaba MP, informed the reporters in an interview, “He has been told not to raise the Manipur issue in parliament.” In actuality, everyone is restrained by an unseen force. At the same time, no one has ventured to bring up the inhumanity, human rights violations, murder, rape, and inhuman health, hygiene, psychology, and sanitation endured by the conflict’s displaced people. It is a clear evidence that they are obeying directions from their superiors in Delhi.

Fourth, deliberation and discussion are essential components of a healthy democracy. The level of debate in the state legislative assembly can determine a state’s faith. People in the state have called for a session of the state legislature to resolve the current problem via serious discourse. Despite the aspirations of the people, the Manipur state legislature’s Business Advisory Council held a one-day legislative assembly session, which concluded without any action. It is worth noting that this monsoon session was carried out after Home Minister Amit Shah summoned cabinet ministers to Delhi. Did the discussion took place in Delhi before it was brought up in the legislative assembly?



If the state forces had acted quickly when the dispute arose in Kangvai, the current volcanic-like explosion between the two communities may be reduced to a trivial issue. The breakdown of state apparatuses, notably the police and other state forces, along community lines has been a key factor to prolong this violence. It is claimed that guns and ammunition have been confiscated from police stations Imphal, Churachandpur, and Kangpokpi. People on both sides would have trusted the state securities if that had not happened.

When the state’s security forces were unable to manage the violence, the people of the state turned to the central armies and paramilitary troops for help. Following the event, Mr. Okram Ibobi, the former chief minister, requested that the Governor of Manipur to deploy central forces to settle and bring peace to the state. The people’s shared hope is that central forces would extinguish the fire that has not been extinguished by state troops. People, on the other hand, have had the exact opposite experience. Despite the large number of troops deployed, the state is still on fire; individuals have been slain while sleeping at home, and farmers have been shot while farming their fields.

In a news conference, Mr. Rahul Gandhi accused the BJP-led federal government of prolonging the war. “If the central government is proactively engaged in de-escalation of violence,” he continued, “the central troops can resolve the conflict within two days.” Is the central military a toothless lion? Since the incidents of fire, murder, and killing occurred near the neutral zone, where troops were deployed to prevent the violence, the people living in and near this zone expressed unhappiness with the military and their services. This perspective is causing a breakdown in confidence between the people and the troops. Many individuals in the state, especially Meira Paibis, claimed that the Assam Rifles (AR) were siding with the Kukis. The Meira Paibis has been organizing protests to get the AR removed from the state entirely. The demand was supported by the state’s 40 MLAs, including Naga MLAs, in a memorandum addressed to the union Home Minister. It has also been claimed that AR has turned a blind eye to the extensive poppy growing in the hill areas, which cannot otherwise thrive in these districts.


First and foremost, the state must accept responsibility for its own failures in governance rather than blaming other parties. For example, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh stated, “To unite civil society organizations because the government is confused to which organization they (the government) should listen.”  Instead of relying solely on civil society organization (CSOs), the government may take the lead and bring all CSOs together on a single platform. The state should take the initiative in putting out the fire. It’s not the time to hibernate or obey directions from their superiors in Delhi. The state must learn to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to their masters while keeping the best interests of the people in mind.

Second, the central government must define the role of soldiers stationed in the neutral zone. Why were these soldiers brought to Manipur if they were unable to disarm the weaponries and ammunitions present on both sides? Did they come to be mute bystanders to the tragedy taking place here? If the flame is not extinguished as quickly as possible, the protracted anguish will produce uncontrollable animosity toward troops- police, paramilitary and central forces.

Third, Home Minister Amit Shah stated, “The military coup took over the democratic government in Myanmar, which has pushed Kuki brothers toward Mizoram and Manipur because there has been no proper fencing for a long time. This fueled the conflicts, which were exacerbated by the high court’s decision to grant Meitei ST status.” In this remark, one can clearly understand the need to resolve the problems of illegal immigrants. It is critical to find a solution to the surge of illegal immigration. The inflow of Kukis has been a source of concern for the Naga people since the 1990s, during the historic Naga-Kuki confrontations. Before the demography is permanently altered, the state must implement all necessary steps to limit the inflow threat. It includes rapid fencing of the Myanmar border, an appropriate system to manage foreigners in border towns or areas, policy-based methods to regulate refugees, and strong efforts to combat illicit drug trafficking in vulnerable areas of the state.

Fourth, the young must step up to ease tensions between the Meiteis and the Kukis. Youth from both communities must build a channel of communication and discourse between them. Rather than dividing society, they must collaborate to build trust among members of opposing communities. This youth forum must be supported by youngsters from various non-partisan communities across the state. Instead of heightening tensions, people might exchange their opinions and difficulties from one community to another via mutual collaboration and communication. They must operate as a conduit between the profoundly separated neighborhoods. Instead of pointing fingers, the youth must recognize that each of them must rise beyond their community cohort while simultaneously striving for the development of mankind. Personally, I feel that youngsters have the potential to influence the socio-politico-economic dimensions of society and, consequently they have the potential to spread love within the society. When the young people becomes the ambassadors to disseminate love, there would be no differentiation between castes, races, or communities. Humanity is paramount and peace is inevitable in such society.

(Loya-Ngamba (Raju) Sapam is a an alumnus of IIT Delhi and can be contacted at [email protected])


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