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Manipur Violence – Misunderstanding between two communities or a political plot?

Manipur Violence - Citizens ask for help

Burning to ashes is the hope that Meitei, Kuki, and Naga society members will coexist after eradicating past resentments. Mutual trust has deteriorated, and there is a great deal of despondency. At the moment, Manipur is separated into two parts. The Meitei people are in one portion, and the Kuki people are in the other. The type of violent scene that is being witnessed is not one or two days’ worth, but rather one that has been going on for weeks and resulted in the destruction of communities, homes and people. Given the kind of flaws that are now apparent, it appears that this crack has existed for a very long period.

Since independence, the Kuki community, who follow Christianity, have got the status of Scheduled Tribe. Some people belonging to the dominant Meitei Hindu community did not get reservation while some became Scheduled Caste and some got OBC status. This is the reason for the quarrel, because Meitei people cannot buy land in Kuki areas and now they also want tribal status.

Obviously, the issue is of rights on the land. The majority of the population of 2.8 million have lived in the Meitei Valley, while the Kuki population is settled in four hill districts. In this ongoing violence, the people of both the communities settled at each other’s place have become victims. By the way, there are Meitei Muslims and Nagas in the state who remain untouched by this violence.

The distinctive feature is that, for the first time in Manipur’s history, sacred sites are now the target of caste-based violence. Both the temple and the church are being set on fire, especially the temple that the Meitei community uses for worship and the church where the Kuki people offer prayers.

Every time something is written about an incident which humiliates humanity and devastates the so-called civilised society, the opening phrase is always, “The country is boiling,” but this time, even this line is unable to capture the rage of the mind. Screams are dying in the throat, and the veins are burying the blood boil. I had never witnessed such a rigged political system, and this was beyond anything I could have imagined. The people are being used as pawns for the game of power in the politics of rumour by sowing the seeds of animosity. In order to make the nation a global guru and its leaders politicians, people are being sacrificed, as is the right to life. Either dead or mute are the people.

There was a rumour going around that members of the Kuki community had murdered a woman from the Meitei community. Despite the fact that no proof of the incident’s veracity could be uncovered, this rumour ignited clashes among different ethnic groups in Manipur. The Meitei and Kuki community riots in Manipur took a nasty turn as a result of the rumour, which was a political manoeuvre. Two Kuki community members were forcibly stripped off their clothing and displayed in front of thousands of people while completely naked. On social media, the terrible footage of gang rape in broad daylight and public indecency with her naked body went viral. The incident occurred between May 3 and 4. Delhi-based kuki women condemned this dishonourable event. The matter was also brought up in the media, but only after two months, when the entire nation came to know about it through social media, that authorities are waking up and action is being taken. There will also likely be some political issues involved with this.

Why would it occur to someone to strip a woman in a country where women are valued for their strength? Have you ever heard of a man being compelled to disrobe in public due to social or interpersonal hostility? No. So why was a woman’s body employed as a means of exacting retribution against a particular class? Why has one social class utilised a woman’s body as a tool for social change?

We are dead if we do not feel the hands of the crazed mob scurrying over the nude body of the naked woman drowning her screams on the road! If we do not confront the mindset that enjoyed playing with our women’s naked bodies and dignity, we should perish! Despite witnessing the vulnerable women being raped in front of their deceased father and sibling, if we are able to sleep soundly, we are actually dead. This civilization is dead because we remain mute despite the political chessboard being laid out on the injured, naked bodies of women!

The central government has not felt the need to intervene despite the fact that Manipur has been experiencing violence for the past three months. Although there were daily reports of violence, murder, and theft of people and money, the authorities did little right away. We were too preoccupied with building our reputation abroad and flagging off new initiatives instead of paying attention to our internal issues.

The era of political rhetoric has just begun. We read the news, vent our wrath mostly on social media, and then we quickly forget. But will the Kuki women ever be able to forget this terrible incident? Will these incidents never occur again? The Manipur incident is also a recurrence.  Repetition of the practice of using women’s dignity to exact revenge on one another! Be it Draupadi’s shredding, the gang rape of women in Kashmir’s holocaust, or the Manipur tragedy – all are methods of exacting retribution against society or a certain class, every time a woman’s pride, her body was exploited. And this is the state of a society, where Yatra Nari Pujyante, Ramante Tatra Devta has been acknowledged for millennia.

The fire in Manipur is still not extinguished. The leaders are yet to visit Manipur. VVIPs and media teams are yet to reach the houses of the victims. Bale of assurances are yet to be tied. Statements are left to ‘shout’ for the ‘daughters of the country’ from those who were silent till now, who did not even consider it necessary to make an appeal for peace to the people of Manipur!

There was never any riot in the name of religion in Manipur. The reality is that after such a long period of violence, the scene is even more frightening. “Whether it is the Centre or the state government, no one has taken care of them properly.” The period of this violence started with the demand for rights and then it shifted to religion. Mutual trust has ended among those who have been living together as a community for hundreds of years.

However, in the midst of the tragic inhuman incident in Manipur, there is good news! The US intelligence agency CIA Chief William J. Burns has said that the danger of nuclear war has been averted due to a very simple  advice of our own honourable Indian Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi to the Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘No war era’. With this statement coming from the American CIA chief, the image of India at the international level has further improved and a nuclear war has been averted.