ATSUM threatens mass movement

IMPHAL, Mar 31: The All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur, ATSUM, organised a public consultation meeting today at the Kuki Inn in Imphal during which it was decided to carry out a mass tribal movement if the sitting of the state Assembly on April 3 happens to pass the Manipur Hill Areas Autonomous District Council Bill, 2008, in accordance with the reports of the Select Committee of the Manipur legislative Assembly.

According to Thomas Taishya, general secretary of the ATSUM, the public consultation meeting held today rejected the committee report on the Manipur Hill Areas District Council Bill, 2008, that was placed before the members of the legislative Assembly on March 19.

He also further mentioned that the members present at the meeting expressed their indignation that the rights of the hill people of Manipur guaranteed by the Constitution of India were being meddled around by the Manipur legislative Assembly. Therefore, in the event of justice being denied on April 3 when the matter is to be tabled again in the House, the ATSUM would not hesitate in launching a far reaching mass tribal movement to redress their grievances even to the point of disassociating themselves from anything that has to do with Manipur, he added.

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Egg and Omelette Story IFP Editorial

4/1/2008

The chief minister, Okram Ibobi Singh, has promised to be tough on the militants in his speech yesterday at the inauguration function of a major and new facility in a private hospital. This is expected of a chief minister, but the only problem is, he did not spell out what he means by “tough”. Moreover, this is not the first time he has made such a promise, making it difficult for anybody to treat the statement too seriously. We however honestly hope that we are wrong this time, and we would see some positive action from the chief minister to ensure that the important agenda of law and order becomes the sole prerogative of the state, and not those of any parallel administration, of which there are today a dime a dozen. The chief minister also listed a number of instances to demonstrate how there is a complete law and order breakdown in the state. This includes, underground “taxes” per head on meals offered by devotees and served at the various temples. The intelligence available with the chief minister seems extremely sharp and detailed, for he also stated that the meals once used to cost Rs. 30, but today because of illegal “taxations” the same meals are priced at Rs. 50. Apart from the familiar story of the consumer ending up bearing the burden of any tax, legal or illegal, it is amazing how the state administration remained complacent about such an elaborate and systematic underground tax regime all the while. We cannot resist the temptation to ask what shook the chief minister to awake now. We also hope he realises that when he said the law and order has completely broken down, he is spitting at the sky, and that ultimately the spittle would going to land on his face. For, as the minister who is also in charge of the home portfolio, it is precisely his responsibility to ensure that the law and order agenda remains solely in the state’s hand.

Looking at Manipur, even die hard sceptics would be left convinced of the inevitability of a centralised authority even in a federal arrangement of the state’s power hierarchy. In the absence of such a controlling authority, as is the case in Manipur today, what remains is plain anarchy. Interestingly, this seems to be very much the scenario even in the underground world. It appears nobody is in control, and conversely, everybody is in control too. What we are witnessing today is the reverse of Max Weber’s notion of the state as the institution that claims monopoly over legitimate violence, for everybody today claims legitimacy to the violence they perpetrate, and nobody can do a thing about it, not the least the state administration.

It is time for the administration to reclaim the grounds it has lost in this battle for legitimacy. The tough measures that the chief minister promised must be assessed against this understanding. He must however also realise why it is important that the nature of this tough measure is explained first. Surely, it cannot mean a license to do anything the chief minister pleases. In any such endeavour it must be acknowledged there is a need to balance out the ends and the means. Perhaps it would be best to try and explain our contention through a familiar metaphor which says that you cannot make an omelette without breaking the egg. Since this essentially means that there would be a lot of pain involved, the tough action that the chief minister talked of must be premised upon the understanding, and indeed guarantee, that of it has a definite goal of public good. He cannot simply go about breaking eggs without caring about the omelettes. Unfortunately, this precisely has been a major problem in the administration’s attitude to all counter insurgency strategies so far. It has been about desperately resorting to breaking eggs when situations go out of control with no creative plans that go beyond. We have no doubt that the number of eggs broken can be a strong alibi that the state government has not been sleeping all along when the day of reckoning arrives and it has to present its progress report to the bosses. But what we need today is something that goes beyond these facile certification exercises to please bosses. There will be none today who does not long for a return of law and order, and more importantly, peace. But make no mistake. Everybody also dreads the peace of the graveyard.

Source: IFP
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About Zou Sangnaupang Pawlpi Delhi

Zou Students' Association Delhi Branch
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