Manipur state does not begin and end in Imphal

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FOR A STATE roiled in ethnic conflict for almost two months now, since May 3, Patricia Mukhim’s conscious take on the role of the Meitei Meira Paibis (Women torch bearers) being seen by the world ‘squarely’ in the current conflict should be a point of deep introspection.

The shaky posture of Manipur state as it stands today, given the political, social and economic fabric beneath the ground shifting rather dramatically should worry us all — The Nagas, Meiteis/ Meeteis, Meitei Pangals, Kuki-Zo.

No one knows what the outcome of today’s conflict will lead to. But in whatever shape or form Manipur will emerge — in favour or against the ethos and bond the native communities of the state have been sharing and living together since its inception — Manipur, it seems will no longer be the same state as it was before May 3, 2023.

The valley, the Meitei community it seems have long forgotten that Manipur does not only belong to them.

Holding ransom the entire state in the vicious conflict by the Meira Paibis averting chief minister N Biren’s resignation on Friday in the most dramatic fashion, where the resignation letter to the Governor was torn allegedly by his supporters cannot be taken lightly.

The action is a direct purge to India’s Constitutional sanctity and the wrong expression of people’s power. This will only intensify the conflict and open up pandora of violence boxes, and tantamount to playing with fire. The demand that the current chief minister must go, whether the valley likes or not, will persist.

All political parties have considerable responsibility at their shoulders at this juncture, given the protracted conflict, they must put aside all their party’s interests and think in terms of what the interest of the state is. We must avert political anarchy at all cost!

The prospect that today’s episode was staged, and let’s hope not, but whatever the case, we need political stability before we can even think of negotiations among the opponents, to bringing that elusive peace and harmony, which will then in turn usher the dawn for normalcy in the state.

May I gently remind that Manipur state does not begin and end in Imphal! Do not ignore the other living and breathing communities of the state.

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