“God has not given us the spirit of timidity but of Power, Love and Discipline” — ‘2 Timothy 2:7’
All religions, all faiths, all societies in the world believe that there is some super power who controls the man kind. This super power is called by different names; God, Allah, Christ, Satguru etc. It is also said that the almighty resides in the people he has created. Therefore the voice of the people is His voice. This region (NE) of our country has been conflict ridden for almost six decades now. Though part of this region is peaceful ie Arunachal & Sikkim and part seemingly peaceful ie Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura and balance is suffering from myriad forms of violence.
This violence was ideology based earlier and was backed by the masses. But now ideology has morphed in to criminology. These criminals, claiming themselves as fighting for a cause, are mistaken patriots. At the outset all the organisations starting form NNC, NSCN, UNLF and ULFA have faced splits and sub splits to be headed by one of the breakaway cadres who did not get his share of ill gotten gains. This has made the situation more complex in the region and resulted in down right terror activities, criminalisation, mafiaisation of these groups and sub groups. Each one is trying for a major share of material gains but claiming to represent a spiritual cause for the society it comes from.
Crime index in the region is showing an upward trend especially Assam, Nagaland and Manipur. All sorts of crimes that were never heard of earlier (being of anti tribal value) are being committed now eg kidnapping, flesh trade, rape, extortion, murder, theft etc. This is nothing but a distressed attempt of various gangs to express their failed power of gun they are happy to exercise. Now all sections of society are up against these social crimes. A society that was known for its indigenous but rich human values and bonding seems to have run out of patience. There are reactions in abundance from children, elders, shop keepers, teachers, businessmen etc.
Youth seem to have realised the senselessness of gun culture; therefore they are not lured by false recruitment promises of UGs. These outfits decided to kidnap and forcibly recruit the innocent children in desperation. An eight year old was kidnapped by two suspected militants in Mangaldoi and a failed attempt was also made to kidnap a shopkeeper. This invited a huge protest in Mangaldoi (Telegraph dt 26 Aug 08). Father of eight year old said, “I have no enemies. I really cannot understand who could have kidnapped my son”. Probably he stated this under fear.
For past few months in Manipur, children are afflicted by fear psychosis, traumatised and worried about their future. Angombi Chandra said, “Children are pillars of the nation and if the militants keep doing these evil activities they will ruin children’s life. So it will not bring any good to the nation”. Another student Laxmi said, “I really don’t like such kind of atmosphere. It affects our studies. She also added that in future, I would like to see Manipur to be very developed and all should be in unity” (Manipur Mail datelined 27 Aug 08). There is a loud message in the voice of children, ‘Please ADD LIFE to our years and NOT FEAR to our lives”.
In Nagaland Church leaders, elders, businessmen, NGOs are voicing against factional violence in unison. Church leaders are making constant reconciliatory efforts. Gaon Burahs (GBs) and Dobashis DBs) association took initiative to bring an end to factional violence but of no avail. Now GBs and DBs have called for State wide bandh to protest against continued but avoidable factional violence (Nagaland Post datelined 29 Aug 08). There are number of protests against plethora of crimes depicting declining societal values.
In Manipur every one is aware of the strike by humble rickshaw pullers, truckers, teachers, Govt employees against unreasonable demands of the outfits and difficulties faced by common man. On 28 Aug 08 shops along Sega road (in Imphal) downed their shutters and staged Wakat Meepham to protest against monetary demands of KYKL (Rs/- 30000, 20000 and 10000 from A,B,C grade shops respectively (The Sangai Express datelined 29 Aug 08). Not a single day passes when some or the other civil group is not protesting against mayhem of insurgents. At the same time KYKL and UNLF have come out with a blue print of Joint Task Force Medical and Health (JTF-MH) aimed to cleanse the administrative decay for benefit of masses (Imphal Free Press datelined 24 Aug 08). It is nothing but a ploy to plough more funds for their treasury by wielding the gun against doctors, contractors and pharmacists.
In Assam, Peace Consultative Group (PCG) was set up in 2005 to commence peace process with ULFA which is nowhere in sight despite the people’s desperate desire. Now the people have realised the reason that top ULFA leadership is ravishing their lives in Bangladesh with their business running in multi million dollars. This is not withstanding the money extorted, collected and sent by the cadres in Assam. Probably futility of the same has also been realised by leadership of 28 and 709 battalions who form the Pro Talk ULFA group. Jiten Dutta (Pro Talk leader of 28 battalion of ULFA) said,” People of Assam want peace and the ULFA Central leadership should respect the aspirations of the people and come for unconditional peace talks”.
There are number of cases where some of these cadres have been beaten, chased out and even lynched by the people. Probably masses are conveying Seneca’s (Roman Philosopher) message to miscreants in a very strong manner ie “to be feared is to fear; No one has been able to strike terror into others and at the same time enjoy peace of mind’.
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