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EDITORIAL: Dial M For Murder

It had intrigues, devilish plots, minute planning behind closed doors and something very fishy about it and if it had not come without the overwhelming sense of tragedy, it would have definitely given the master story teller Alfred Hitchcock a run for his money. Close your eyes for a minute or two and try to visualize what happened at the office of the Board of Secondary Education, Manipur on January 11 at about 3.30 pm. A gunman or two or three, walking into the office of the Chairman of the Board, Dr Naorem Kunjabihari, pumping in two or three bullets and then coolly walking out. This is not all.

Initial reports received so far, say without a doubt, that the staff of BSEM came to know about the incident only later and even then, they were under the impression that the late Chairman had suffered a stroke, when they found him slumped on his chair. If the story that the employees of BSEM came to realize that he was shot only later is true, then this late realization may have a story of its own.  This by itself sounds like a perfect script for a perfect murder planned and carried out meticulously, but once again close your eyes for some minutes and visualize where the office of the BSEM is located.

By any account, Babupara, the place where the office of the BSEM is located, is the most heavily fortified or barricaded area in the whole of Manipur, coming after only Leimakhong and the office of the IG AR (S) at Mantripukhri. The residence of the Chief Minister, another heavily fortified area, is merely about 50 meters or so away from the office of the BSEM and in between these two there is the Police Headquarters, where the DGP sits and the office of the Auditor General. Bang opposite to the office of the BSEM is the Secretariat, where all the suited, booted officials, including the Chief Secretary attend office and a little way further south, there is the imposing office of the SSP of Imphal West. Not only this, there is also the office of the SP of Crime Branch as well as the head office of the BSNL, which again is a fortified and heavily guarded area.

Given this fact, it is beyond our comprehension, how the gunmen or killers killed the Chairman without raising any commotion and most importantly the question of how the gunmen managed to enter the office room of the Chairman undetected looms large. Were there no peons or attendants, nearby? Don’t the BSEM have any screening policy for visitors who come to meet the Chairman and is the BSEM office a free zone, where everyone and anyone can just walk in and walk out without entering their names and purpose of visit in the security log books? The contrast is palpable and disturbingly so, for while the killers had meticulously planned the high profile murder, the security agencies were found napping.

Remember Kunjabihari was not killed in a remote area but in the very place, which is supposed to be the most heavily guarded zone in the whole of Manipur. How did the killers manage to make their way into the office of the late Chairman and how did they manage to come out without raising any suspicion? It is fishy, very fishy and all angles need to be looked into, for the conspiracy to eliminate Kunjabihari was planned to the T and the involvement of some inside hands as well as those whose entry to the office goes unquestioned, cannot be ruled out altogether. The caption of this editorial may as well have been, ‘Dial M For Murderous Manipur.’

These are the mysterious parts of the murder and no one has pointed out any possible motive for the high profile assassination till date, and as the general observation in Manipur goes, it is only the dead and their family members who suffer and no one else. This is a practical approach, shorn of all complexities, but it should not be forgotten that the ‘only the dead and their family suffer,’ phrase has started hitting many families across the State in the last many, many years. This was also not the first time that gunmen had struck with such audacity in the heart of Imphal and if a car fitted with powerful explosives can be driven into and parked inside the Raj Bhawan, then the security loopholes are too many and it is time that the Chief Minister, who also holds the Home portfolio, put on his thinking cap and see how the loopholes can be plugged.

On the other hand, what is there to expect from a Government, which had the temerity to think that the security of the Chief Minister can be ensured by blocking all the roads leading to his official quarters after a certain set time. In all likelihood, Kunjabihari will be just another figure in the list of high profile murder and he will not be the last and it is time to see how the public as a people bound by a common destiny, have been responding to the situation. As one of our more regular visitors to our website commented, there is no sense in demanding the reasons for the killing of Kunjabihari or anyone else, for this very demand can amount to giving the killers the space to  explain things from their own perspectives or come out with some cooked up charges.

Many a public protest, in the past, had to be buried in the sands of time, after a group or two came out with a series of accusations to justify the killing of one individual or the other. That this trend has been gaining ground in the last few years is a disturbing development for no one has the right to eliminate anyone, much less justify it on various charges. It is the job of the State to check criminal activities, but this becomes a tall order, when important functionaries are found supping with the very elements, who they should be trying to neutralize.

Dead man tells no tale and the JAC formed against the murder of Dr Kunjabihari, should not make the mistake of disappearing from the scene, when and if any group comes out with a list of accusations against the accused. In as much as there is the need to check criminal activities, there is also the corresponding need to check the trend of demanding the reasons for the killing and interpreting it as the end of the matter. Such a trend is akin to providing a platform for the killers to legitimize their action.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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