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Manipur problem and tickling the truth of North-East

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I will start with a disclaimer: This is not news. This is an attempt towards the truth. The truth of the North East. The quest of finding truth and news together, is it ironical, satirical or sadist? I guess readers know that better. Often, the word North East and News don’t go together.

Manipur, meaning the “Jewelled Land” is the Meitei dominated area inhibited by Meiteis, Nagas and Mizos. The Empire which at its height stretched from central Nagaland to the borders of Rakhine, is now struck within the internal conflict of its own people. But if you want to know where it all started, I would have to take you to well before British Raj.

The Meitei Land dominated mostly by Hindus was a merry-making place. Having grandeurs of natural beauty bestowed with its rich tribal heritage it was a place to visit for India and beyond. The tribes indeed fought but they had an understanding. All was well until the British came in.

The empire broke up. The Anglo-Manipur War was an armed conflict between the British Empire and the Kingdom of Manipur. The war lasted from 31 March– 27 April 1891, ending in a British victory. They did what they were good at. With their Divide and Rule policy the succeeded in creating conflicts between Burma and Manipur. At first, the Brits only held the heartland of the Manipuri Empire. The outlying states were allowed to dissolve. They reverted to barbarism. It also saw a series of conversions of various Meiteis, Mizos and Nagas. With over 200 reported deaths, many unreported killings and sheer cunning ability, the British got hold of Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur.

This followed with the partition of Burma, the root of the problem that exists now. When Burma and India were partitioned, it was done on geographic and not on the demographic basis. As a result, a vast chunk of Nagaland and Mizoram went to Burma. It can be coined as another failure of INC and Nehru after the Kashmir problem. However the credit for the latter solely goes to Nehru which I would never snatch away from him. As expected, there were protests which was why Nagas like Rani Gaidinliu supported the INC in the first place, but the British put it down brutally. You may never have heard of her. Because Indian history has so blatantly made us believe that we got independence only because a lawyer turned hermit of Truth and honesty gave it all to us in our garib thali with just non-violence. Everybody else is insignificant and don’t deserve to be in the pages of Indian history? Tickled some TRPs again. Did I?

Let’s first scan the issues that we saw in Mizos after independence. Mizos, mostly the peace loving folks but very fierce when it comes to battle, lost half of their ancestral land in Burma, now called China. Thank your stars, they’ve made peace with it now. The INC has been ignoring them and lots and lots of people died in one of their frequent famines called Mautam. The Congressis swallowed in their bellies the aids meant for them. They were unhappy but they made peace with it. A lot of Mizos lived in the Meitei Heartland, that became Manipur. Mizoram is at peace and the only far-eastern tribal state you can safely visit and plan your holidays to. However, if you are planning for Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal, God help if you are friend-zoned by your lady luck.

And now the Nagas. In their quest towards their old “Nagalim” Nagas have been fighting for a century now. If you would ask why? Well, remember one thing about Nagas they love to fight. They were, are and will be fighters. They don’t care about Modi’s Achhe din, Raga’s Aloo ki factory or Kejriwal’s Aloo ke samose. The word Naga starts with the fight and ends with the fight. And even in the midst of it is all fight, fight and fight. You have to crush them again, and again and again, otherwise shit will happen. The British crushed them, the congress crushed them but they have always risen to fight. From NFA/NFG/NNC to NSCN (IM) and NSCN (K), all they have done is fought for the greater Nagalim. All we have witnessed is ceasefires and battles in the Nagalim. And mind you this is not done by bribing the innocence of children with counterfeit 500 and 1000 rupees notes. This is the actual conflict and not the manufactured one. TRP tickling continues.

The historic Naga peace accord signed by the major Naga revolutionary front NSCN(IM) with PM Modi under the interlocutor RN Ravi. The accord promises them some satisfactory resolution towards a Nagalim and 5000 jobs in BSF. Their leader Muivah has already started training 5000 Naga youths in the Dimapur camp for their inclusion in Border Security Force of the Indian Army. Modi gave them what they wanted. Fight! You might think this is a very immature deal but trust me if it succeeds, it will be the first voluntary inclusion of Nagas in the country called India.

Let’s come to Manipur problem now. Manipur is Meitei dominated but the majority of the land is under the Nagas. This is because, over the past 60 years, the Nagas and the Mizos have been systematically murdering every Meitei population in the hills. News of foreign missionaries funding and providing arms and ammunition is never new for the North East population. And the rest, ie the Hindu Meiteies have migrated to the plains where they’re in majority. The control of the Meitei government effectively stops at the hills. Since the Meiteis are in majority, they’re screwed both ways. They don’t get reservations, which the hilly population enjoys. They can’t buy land in tribal districts, they’re passed over for jobs. They are unhappy. Reservation here, being the single prominent reason for majority of conversions in the North East.

Anyway, since the Nagas and Mizos get tribal status, they also get reservations. Thus, the Manipuri bureaucracy is Naga to a great extent but the Legislature is Meitei also called the indigenous people in Manipur. The Mizos known in Manipur as Kukis have again started moving towards being pro-Meitei as they realized this bloodshed will lead to nowhere. However, Nagas never will learn that. And I have already explained why.

Now, moving towards the recent controversy that started on 3rd November before demonetization, which is here necessary to highlight so that the article and the reader both don’t astray from the issue. It all started with the Congress trying to win support over Meiteis and Mizos by announcing 7 new districts in Manipur. Some being Mizo-majority, some Meitei majority. The 7 new districts are Kangpokpi (a long standing demand by Kukis for a separate Sadar Hills district with areas of the Naga district Senapati), Tengnoupal (from the predominantly Naga district of Chandel), Pherzawl (earlier in Kuki-dominated Churachandpur), Noney (earlier in Naga-dominated Tamenglong), Jiribam (from Imphal East), Kamjong (from Ukhrul) and Kakching (in the valley, but to which some areas of Chandel have been added).

The recent fight is mere quid pro quo. A month ago, the Nagas attacked the Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh the guy who is pushing the land accords. He was injured, his guards killed. The Meiteis were harassed during the Durga Puja. There were highways blocked, traffic stopped, creating disturbances in the merry making of the Meiteis. They had another festival in November a local one which was impeded as well. Meiteis were angry. And in November they started it as a revenge. If you tell me what is the government doing, isn’t law and order responsibility of the state government, even the CM will laugh at you. Winter is coming and soon there will be Christmas. Tables will be turned.

And that is what has happened. The blockade itself has overshoot its original objectives and things are escalating. On December 17, 70 NSCN (IM) militants attacked a police post in Tamenglong district and stole 9 automatic weapons and ammunition. In protest, a Meitei mob stormed the Manipur Baptist Church, one of the largest churches in Imphal and vehicles were set on fire. On December 18, a convoy of 3 buses and 18 vans carrying residents of Ukhrul for Christmas was attacked by a mob that set all 21 vehicles ablaze. The hills believe the government is anti-tribal and communal, and the NSCN (IM) has issued an unofficial diktat to Naga people to vote for the NPF (which currently has a small presence in the Manipur Assembly). Congress is losing its stronghold in the hills owing to their own deeds which are now backfiring. Recently 3 MPS have joined BJP and its ally NPF. And add to that we have the Rohingya crisis. A lot of Indian Army and BSF Jawans have been sent off to fend them away. They are not our problem. It may sound good only to the TRP clad pseudo-liberal ears. Yep, I am not going to stop the tickling.

Manipur is burning yet again owing to the ignorance shown by the Mainlanders and appeasement policies of its government from time to time. It is all out of control now. In fact the 8 November Demonetization, all it has done is diluted the protests as many militants are out of cash and weaponry. Expect more clashes. Expect economic blockades. The Nagas are angry. The Meiteis are angry. The Kukis are angry. Don’t be surprised. Elections are near, Humanity will be ignored yet again.

And all we mainlanders have done is called a North eastern “Chinky” by relating them to those for whom they have only hatred in their hearts and their forefathers have bled. Such KOOL hypocritical Indians we are. We fail to support our own. Until the time we make the North-Easterners believe that yes you are we, how do you expect any generation to realize that they are Indian. Until Northeast sees the dawn of peace, the sun can never rise on the greater good of Achhe Din over the country called India.

– Raita Ka Reporter

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