Manipur Realities

Combating State Terror

Asis Ranjan Sengupta

At last the last leg of Assam NRC has been published under deployment of 200 Companies of Army Platoons and total black out of Internet in the State. The Developments in North East, are again taking a very dangerous shape. History shows that even mighty British empire could not vanquish the fringe entities like Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram or Arunachal, the names by which these states are now integrated to the Indian entity. Since creation of separate entities, after the dissolution North Eastern Frontier Agency ( NEFA ), as existed during British rule. The Nagas and Mizos, fought prolonged armed conflict with India since independence, under the leadership of Phizo and Laldenga. Time and again peace accords were struck, only to be violated again and again. After the demise of those hard core leaders, uneasy peace prevails with unresolved issues always, till date. The strong governance of agenda of Modi Government inspired to sign one clandestine accord, with the ailing leader Muivah, terms of which,are still kept secret. The Inner Line Permit system, mandating all to obtain requisite permit before entering the states, still prevalent in Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal, was revoked in Manipur by a central Act in 1972. Since then, time and again the state of Manipur witnessed violent agitations for reintroduction of ILP, but none paid heed to their demand. Manipur has been the free operational field for a number of armed insurgent outfits, across the Myanmar border. It is mostly characterised by ethnic conflicts, and bears the infamous reputation of civilian Extortion and operation of 'Drug Trafficking' rackets.

These armed rebels are highly organised and equipped with most modern weapons, like missiles even, rendering a large border area into inaccessible zones. Government of India, always conducted armed crack down, causing more damage to the civilian population than the terrorists. The situation was so tough that, since independence, for the first time and also last time in known history, Indian Air Force conducted Raid and Bombarded, Manipur National Party (MNP) Camp in Aizal, Mizoram, within own territory and own people in 1966, during Indira Gandhi rule.

The armed conflict and the civilian unrest has become the regular feature of these three states, with that the continuous crack down operations by the Army, empowered by AFSPA ( Armed Forces Special Powers Act), has only compounded the problem. Secret encounters, brutal torture and legalised rapes or killings, are but the valid tools of containing unrest, and naturally unrest grows unchecked. In 2004, a Lady named Manorama was rounded up brutally tortured, Raped, and her dead body was thrown in a bush. Justice is still awaited, in protest, 30 ladies gathered nude in front of Assam Rifles HQ, with banner, "Indian Army Rape Us", but nobody was booked for the heinous crime. There are recurring incidents of fake encounters, and no remedy for gross violation of minimum human rights. Fortunately, one whistleblower namely Lt. Colonel Dalvir Singh, put the cat out of the bag, by disclosing details of several crimes committed by the Armed Forces, in the name of suppressing armed insurgency, under AFSPA cover. He was again rounded up from his official residence, at dead of night, in front of his family members, on 1st July 18. He would probably have been killed unless his wife had filed a Habeous Corpus petition before the Manipur High Court,the next day. On 27th July, 18, Lt Col, D Singh, filed an affidavit before the Manipur Court, which exposed a whole details of custodial killings by Army, the storyline is really horrible. The affidavit contains the details of how at least 3 or 4 young alleged militants were killed in cold blood, and bodies thrown or buried behind the unit mess, in a period from 2001 to 2016. It also contains the details of how a lady was arrested from Dimapur, and later released after extortion of Rs one crore as ransom. V K Singh, then in charge of North East affairs was so annoyed that he ordered enquiry, but his tenure ended and the probe made no head way. Meantime, this Lt. Col Singh, who raised the issue of merciless crime to the higher ups, was kept under disciplinary and vigilance ban, finally he was whisked away, to be negated, the court intervention saved his life. Earlier Supreme Court had ordered CBI enquiry, on more than one thousand fake encounter cases in Manipur, only in the year 2016, but, recently it observed that the Agency had been playing "snake and ladder game" with the process of enquiry, and the killers were roaming free in the streets of Manipur. Only on 20nd August,one arrest was done to register some progress. This is the state of Law and order in India, where Law enforcers are greater violators. The bloody tale of Manipur mayhem, is a sordid narrative of murky hell.

The situation in Manipur is little better than that in Kashmir, but it fails to attract the attention of mainstream media, simply because, it has no Hindu—Muslim, Pakistan—Terrorist narrative to excite Nationalism Jingo. Another no less important development is that Manipur University is closed for nearly two months, a total deadlock situation prevails, but no stir in the mainstream media in the mainland. The turmoil started with the appointment of Mr Adya Prasad Pandey, an ex- Teacher of BHU, with a strong saffron background, and wife being the head of BJP Mahila organisation, a cousin of Rajnath Singh, Rakhi Bahen of Modi, as VC in October 2016. Manipur is the only totally Hindu region of NE, with a special Vaishnavite creed. So the saffron Brigade found it a happy hunting ground, in collaboration with the saffron Governor and the CM,newly christened to saffronite school. The allegations against the new VC, by the students as well as Teachers are, nepotism, illicit relationships, rampant corruption and reckless attitude, with arrogance of power. He moves with Central Force security contingent, attends office late in the day,overstays late in the evening, when, favour seekers mostly local ladies throng to his office. He awarded all purchase contracts at exorbitant rates to the firms, stationed either in Lucknow or Benaras, which are again allegedly owned by his family relations. Rupees Twentyfive Crore was allotted to a Lucknow based firm, for installation of smart class rooms, and the contract for supply of Answer Sheets at the rate of Rupees Twentyfive each, again to a Lucknow based supplier, against the prevailing cost of Rupees Five each by local vendors. The last Science Congress was held in MU, attended by Modi, who was accompanied by the son of the VC, who had bagged plum contracts from the office of his father, in connection with this Congress. Moreover, he gifted two lac to local ABVP unit, from University fund.

 The Teachers, Students are in solidarity to protest against the rogue VC, as all Teachers submitted resignation in support of the unanimous demand for the removal of this corrupt VC. But Manipur is Manipur, a distant corner, inhabited by 'chinkis' so it fails to draw the attention of Nation's conscience, unlike JNU or HCU. Most unfortunate. The administration is adamant not to concede to the students' demands, and the agitators are also stern and unbending. Left with no way to tackle with peaceful protesters, with genuine demands in the interest of Academia, the nincompoop administration resorted to the same wretched practice of internet ban. More than 60 days elapsed, the stalemate continues. As per latest update, the tainted VC has proceeded to indefinite period leave. Salute to the historic fight by the student and Teacher community of Manipur. It shows path to the rest of the Nation.

Vol. 51, No.7, Aug 19 - 25, 2018