TODAY -

Village to village via guns
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: 08th May, 2008 -

Adopting a policy to provide arms to villagers living in far flung places to protect themselves against outlawed organisations and on the other hand failing to take up action against any of the MLAs from whose official residences a large number of underground cadres were arrested does not exactly inspire confidence and trust in the present political leadership, but this is a fact and the most the people can do is wait and hope for the best.

That the SPF Cabinet has decided to look beyond Heirok and Chajing and arm the villagers in far flung areas, is an indication that the Government may have received feelers from other villagers that they too need arms to protect themselves.

The situation is indeed tricky and at the same interesting.

Heirok locals lining up for selection to SPOs
Picture Courtesy: Jinendra Maibam


If other villages follow the path taken up by Heirok and Chajing, then it should serve as an eye opener to the numerous underground outfits to the fact that the people of Manipur are capable of turning their angst and ire against the State as well as the non-State actors.

If on the other hand, no villages come forward to embrace the offer made by the Government, then it can be said to be a clear indication that the people are yet to fully trust the Government and this will not be surprising considering the fact that the JAC of Heirok has come out strongly against the purported remark of DGP Y Joykumar that the SPOs would be used in CI Ops.

The DG is understood to have stated that he was misquoted by the media but despite this, damages have already been caused.

As we have said earlier, the issue of arming the people of Heirok or Chajing should not be seen as pitting them against the militants, but giving them some means to protect themselves and this line should not be blurred.

Whatever the merits or demerits of the decision of the Government, one fact that cannot be wished away is that Chief Minister O Ibobi has taken a very tough decision and it will not take a genius to know that the move of the SPF Government must have received the blessings of Madam Sonia Gandhi and the Prime Minister and other AICC leaders.

Perhaps this is the most significant decision taken by the State Government after the unilateral cease fire declared by the then short lived Radhabinod Koijam Government sometime in 2001.

Again it is important to know that the decision to appoint SPOs in two localities in Manipur and the similar steps already in force in Kashmir cannot be compared under any circumstances.

Unlike the people of Heirok or Chajing, the armed volunteers at Kashmir have to protect themselves against the jehadis from across the border and not anyone from amongst themselves.

This is not the case here and while this difference may seem superficial to a casual observer, there is a gulf of difference between taking up positions against some mercenaries from foreign soils and adopting a posture to protect oneself from the people of the same place.

The situation is extremely sensitive and to all concerned, it would be assiduous on their part not to forget that discretion is the better part of valour at times like this.

In other words donít shoot your mouth off, which may mislead the people !





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