As I sit down to write this, my heart is heavy with anger, empathy, and guilt. It’s a difficult topic, one that many of us have ignored or brushed aside for far too long.
Manipur, a beautiful land of diverse cultures and traditions, has been engulfed in turmoil, and it demands our attention, our empathy, and our collective conscience.
Let me take you through a timeline of events that have unfolded in Manipur:
In April, protests erupted in Manipur following the High Court’s directive on the Meitei community’s inclusion in the ST list.
Violence escalated as a Gym set to be inaugurated by the Manipur CM was set on fire, leading to Section 144 imposition, internet suspension, and tear gas use during clashes with protestors.
In May, ATSUM’s Tribal Solidarity March drew over 60,000 people, resulting in violence, deaths, and injuries.
The situation worsened, with brutal violence reported in Imphal, prompting shoot-at-sight orders and curfews in multiple districts.
The CM held a multi-party meeting and over 25,000 people were rescued by security forces. By May 9, the death toll reached 60, with over 200 injured.
Later, an improvement in circumstances led to the relaxation of curfew in some districts.
However, nothing ever improved. The protests are still on, communities are still fighting, and innocents are still being killed.
This timeline is a painful reminder of the ongoing unrest and violence in Manipur. As a nation, we cannot turn a blind eye to the suffering and anguish of our fellow citizens.
Yet, it seems we have allowed the cries of Manipur to be drowned out by the noise of less relevant issues.
What concerns us more is whether Seema Haider is an ISI agent? I can quote more such garbage pieces of news, but they are irrelevant.
The response from our politicians has been disappointing, to say the least. When Rahul Gandhi visited the state, he was ridiculed for allegedly playing politics.
But where were the voices of those in power when Manipur needed them most? The silence is deafening.
Our Women and Child Development Minister never speaks up when anything happens in a BJP-ruled state.
Our conscience is so riddled with bigotry that we are no longer interested in justice, not even metaphorically.
The PM doesn’t want the European Union to discuss the Manipur issue, he himself doesn’t want to speak on the Manipur issue, and his ministers don’t speak up on the Manipur issue; who the hell is supposed to talk about the Manipur issue?
And now, a video of two women being paraded naked on the streets of Manipur has shocked us all. The incident occurred in May, over two months ago, and yet it was only now that it came to our attention.
What were the police and the Manipur government doing during all this time? Just imagine had there been no video evidence, we would have never known what was going on in a corner of India.
We must admit, we, as a society, have been distracted by irrelevant debates and sensationalist news.
We have allowed ourselves to be consumed by divisive narratives that pit one community against another, while the real issues fade into the background.
Corruption, misuse of power by agencies, and the violence in Manipur should be at the forefront of our conversations.
We must hold our political leaders accountable for their promises, especially when their words and actions don’t align.
Our conscience should be pricked because we have stopped demanding answers. We have allowed ourselves to be enamored by a single individual’s charisma, losing sight of the essence of democracy—collective responsibility.
Before the elections, our political masters, even the PM, went to the state and announced if the people voted for him, it will be the best thing to have happened to Manipur.
But ever since the violence erupted, he has maintained complete silence. He spoke on July 20, highlighting how pained he was after seeing the viral video of women being abused in Manipur.
But would he have spoken had there been no video? Would he have been pained had there been no outrage?
The Manipur CM, after the video went viral, mistakenly accepted that there were over a hundred such cases and that’s why they had to shut the internet.
Without the video of women being paraded naked, these reckless politicians would have remained silent for the rest of their lives.
On June 12, the National Commission for Women ignored a complaint submitted to it about the incident.
And after the video, see their response:
Moreover, some of us are hellbent on doing whataboutery. It is disheartening to witness such a disturbing trend within a section of society.
We must resist falling into the trap of whataboutery and instead, come together as a compassionate society to address the root causes of the unrest in Manipur.
Hatred has been insidiously injected into our minds by the media, social media, and influential figures.
We must break free from this vicious cycle of animosity and rediscover empathy and compassion.
It’s time we reconnect with our shared humanity and acknowledge that the pain of Manipur is the pain of every Indian.
As I write these words, I do so with a heavy heart and the realization that we, as a society, have failed the people of Manipur.
We cannot change the past, but we can learn from it and take action now. We can raise our voices, demand justice, and support those who are working tirelessly to bring about positive change.
Let us not be silent spectators any longer. Let us remember that empathy and sensitivity are not just emotions; they are the catalysts for meaningful change.
The lawlessness in Manipur should weigh heavily on our conscience, and together, we must work towards a brighter, more compassionate future for all.