TODAY -

Editorial of the week

Toothless Govt
Courtesy: The Sangai Express 12th July, 2006



It is a tragedy that while Manipur is passing through such a critical phase, the Congress led SPF Government looks like a little child lost in the woods. Ever since the SPF Government came to power more than four years back, it has been content to just sit back and look at the numerous tumultuous affairs that have rocked the State.

When the State erupted as one in 2004 following the custodial death of Th Manorama at the hands of the Assam Rifles, the State Government just did not have any plans or policies to deal with the matter.

It was not Chief Minister Mr O Ibobi Singh who took the initiative to break the ice with the Apunba Lup and arrange the meeting with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh at New Delhi but Governor Dr SS Sidhu.

The most that the political leadership did then was to fly frequently to Delhi to soak in the instructions of the high command and come back and again do nothing to see how something can be worked out to assuage the sentiments of the people.

The only tangible effort that we did see in the Summer of 2004 was the lifting of the Disturbed Area tag from the Municipal areas of Imphal which rendered the Armed Forces Special Powers Act toothless in the said areas.

However this was not enough and as a Government which is there to govern we had expected Mr Ibobi and his men to display some political maturity and far sightedness to deal with the issue.

That the tragic death of Th Manorama would not be forgotten in a hurry was amply demonstrated by the nude protest by women folk in front of Kangla which then was the headquarters of the 9 Sector Assam Rifles and 17th Bn Assam Rifles.

Clamping curfew was at best a temporary measure employed by the Government and the days of street protest that followed the nude protest did not cast the SPF Government in any good light.

The SPF Government was again caught on the wrong foot when MEELAL activists started taking to the streets to demand the implementation of Meitei Mayek in the schools of Manipur.

Numerous Manipuri text books written in Bengali script were consigned to flames while the Government just looked on unable to decide and act.

Numerous MEELAL activists including its leader were arrested under different charges, but they were released free of all the earlier charges after the Government was brought to its knees.

The Central Library was consigned to flames during the protest launched by MEELAL and the arson continues to hurt and haunt the sentiments of all right thinking persons in the State not to say about the image of Manipur that was projected to the outside world.

All this while, what did the Government do ? Again in 2005, Manipur endured and survived the crippling 52 days economic blockade imposed by the All Naga Students' Union, Manipur and the SPF Government was caught napping once again.

That something was going to happen was clear during the rally held in all the four Naga dominated districts of the State on June 14, 2005 but the Government just did not seem to have the imagination or the political will to work out a contingency plan.

Improving and upgrading NH-53 was seen as the viable option to beat the economic blockade, but apart from the personal road tour undertaken by Governor Dr SS Sidhu, we did not and have not seen any interest shown to this route by the Chief Minister.

The question is what will the SPF Government do if another round of economic blockade is imposed ?

Talk about NH-53 again ?

And presently the Government seems satisfied to just sit back and see the text books prescribed by BSEM being consigned to flames.

This invariably leads us to the question, is there a Government in place ?




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