When will peace be restored in Manipur?
- Rommel Rodrigues
- Aug 06, 2023
NEW DELHI: India's northeastern state of Manipur has struggled with violence and turmoil for several weeks now. Ethnic warfare and insurgency have afflicted the state and have cost precious lives and property. The people of Manipur have been longing for tranquillity and stability, but when will this happen remains a mystery.
While the opposition's constant assertion is that Manipur is on fire and nothing is being done, the government has been working to solve the problems that have been producing unrest in the state with only little success. Opposition delegations have visited the state and met with the people of Manipur to understand their concerns and to find ways to restore peace in the state, however, clearly, there are challenges to restoring peace.
Restoring peace and harmony in Manipur is not an easy task as the state has been facing several challenges that have made it difficult to achieve lasting peace. For several decades complaints and aspirations of many ethnic groups, particularly the Kukis, Meiteis and Nagas, who have fought for more autonomy and recognition from the state and the federal government have remained the main challenge.
The communities' lack of trust and communication has resulted in mutual suspicion and hatred. It is the same persistent ethnic tensions in the state which was responsible for the flare-up this time. There have been conflicts amongst the various ethnic populations that call Manipur home over matters like land, resources, and political participation. These disputes have frequently descended into violence, causing casualties and damage to property.
The existence of numerous rebel groups that have been active in the state for a number of years is another one of the major obstacles. These organisations have engaged in kidnapping, extortion, and other criminal activity, which has made the populace feel unsafe and fearful.
In this background, the main question is, when will peace be restored in Manipur? As we can see the only way forward would require a concerted effort from all stakeholders. To address the issues that have been producing turmoil in the state, the government, opposition, civil society, and the people of Manipur will need to work together.
The first two things that need to be done are to achieve reconciliation and trust through dialogue. All stakeholders should engage in dialogue to better understand each other's problems and develop solutions to them. This will necessitate a willingness to listen to one another and identify common ground and will eventually result in mutual respect for one another's rights as well as a desire to collaborate for the greater good of the state. Ironically all these waring communities had united in the fight against British rule, and nothing stops them from uniting again for fighting the forces that have led to current conflagrations.
The socioeconomic development and well-being of Manipur's people, who have suffered from poverty, unemployment, corruption, and a lack of basic utilities are at stake today and unless peace and harmony return soon, precious lives and property will continue to be the unfortunate casualties.