Regarding accountability in Manipur, a nuanced examination reveals a complex interplay of factors. The responsibility lies not only with the state government but also with various stakeholders such as law enforcement agencies, local leaders, and the community itself. The state government must demonstrate a commitment to good governance, transparency, and effective implementation of policies that address the region’s unique challenges. Law enforcement agencies must ensure that the rule of law is upheld, combating corruption and addressing security concerns. Local leaders play a crucial role in fostering community engagement, ensuring that the needs and concerns of the people are accurately represented and addressed. At the same time, the community must actively participate in the democratic process, holding leaders accountable and contributing to the overall development of the region. Achieving accountability in Manipur necessitates a collaborative effort, involving both the government and the people, to build a foundation of trust and create a sustainable path towards progress and stability.
The deranged crime in Manipur, especially during communally charged conflicts, is a social and political dislocation of a deeper sort. Such systems of violence are a by-product of India’s majoritarian turn.
Decoding the editorial: Meltdown in Manipur
Aspects of meltdown in Manipur
The systems of violence
- The hill administration in southern Manipur is now being run from New Delhi, with the N Biren Singh government’s mandate reduced to the Imphal Valley.
- Even such limited writ came into question with the recent murder of a Naga woman in Imphal East, which threatened to dislocate Naga-Meitei ties.
- It took strong condemnation by civil society members as well as radical Meitei outfits such as the Arambai Tenggol, to prevent a Meitei-Naga war in north Manipur.
- Such a situation risks roping Nagaland into the vortex, akin to the Meitei-Kuki rupture in the south that has already involved Mizoram into the mix.
- Hosting thousands of displaced Kuki-Zo families, the Mizoram government is openly supporting this community.
- Mizos feel the need to protect their ethnic kin in Manipur from Meitei majoritarianism.
- The last time this happened was in the 1970s and 1980s, when the Mizo National Front was an insurgent organisation seeking to unify all these communities into greater Mizoram.
- Political tensions between Mizoram, Assam and Manipur, including over disputed boundaries, have become highly charged.
Partitioned state administration
- Meitei police officers are not operating in the hills, and Kuki-Zo officers are not operating in the Valley.
- To worsen matters, 6.32-lakh bullets and around 4,537-arms, including light and medium machine-guns, are reportedly missing from the Manipur Police Training Centre, 7th India Reserve Battalion, and 8th Manipur Rifles in Imphal city.
- Of these weapons, about 5.31 percent are said to be in the Kuki-dominated hills, and the rest in the Meitei-dominated Imphal Valley.
Complicated gender politics
- Meitei women’s groups scuttled an army operation and forced the release of 12 Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup militants, with no follow-up action against either.
- This brings into sharp relief the complicated gender politics and inter-community balance-of-power in this conflict.
Massive infusion of drug profits and products from Myanmar.
India’s majoritarian turn
- Fresh partitions and associated armed ethnic mobilisation in Northeast India with support from states-within-the-Union are a by-product of India’s majoritarian turn.
- Majoritarianism, here, is defined by competing desires for regional hegemony and demands for access to resources and power within the Union, and not territorial separation.
- Socially corrosive, such ecosystems are lubricated by perverse vote-bank politics, and illicit, unaccounted cash-flows, both of which are abundant in the Northeast.
The structures of silence around the violence
The silence of India’s prime minister.
- He has finally and belatedly spoken on Manipur.
- It raises the question of where exactly the ruling party figures on the complicit-incompetent spectrum in Manipur.
The silence on systemic violence against women in Manipur.
- But it took a leaked video and associated public shock for Manipur police to order an investigation. Till then, there was silence.
- Unfortunately, if one goes by the predicament of India’s wrestling champions who’ve been fighting for justice against sexual harassment by those in power, chances of a fair investigation in Manipur’s case remain thin. There may be a spectacle around arrests of certain identifiable individuals in the video. But to expect this moment to translate into a turning-point where the state asserts itself and reinstates a modicum of constitutional integrity to a strife-torn state is delusional.
India’s eroding social contract
- India’s social contract is eroding, not because there aren’t enough people who care about it.
- India’s social contract seems to be weakening because wrongdoers in power aren’t being held accountable.
- The only way to deliver justice to the two survivors of this mob assault, and perhaps to stabilise the situation in Manipur, is to ensure accountability.
India’s social contract is melting, and while it may seem geographically peripheral, Manipur is right at the heart of it.
Source: Indian Express
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Who holds primary accountability for addressing issues in Manipur?
The state government is primarily accountable for addressing the challenges in Manipur. This includes implementing effective policies, ensuring good governance, and fostering overall development.
Q: What role do law enforcement agencies play in ensuring accountability in Manipur?
Law enforcement agencies are crucial for upholding the rule of law, combating corruption, and addressing security concerns. Their role is vital in maintaining a stable and secure environment in the region.
Q: How can local leaders contribute to greater accountability in Manipur?
Local leaders play a significant role in fostering community engagement, representing the needs of the people, and ensuring effective governance. Their accountability is essential for the overall development of the region.
Q: What responsibilities do the people of Manipur bear in fostering accountability?
The community in Manipur has a responsibility to actively participate in the democratic process, holding leaders accountable and contributing to the region’s development. Their engagement is vital for creating a sustainable path forward.
Q: Is achieving accountability in Manipur a collaborative effort?
Yes, achieving accountability in Manipur requires a collaborative effort involving the government, law enforcement, local leaders, and the community. A shared commitment is essential for building trust and creating a path towards progress and stability in the region.
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