EDITORIAL: Averting Communal Flare Up

Being a home to numerous ethnic groups, Manipur is not alien to communal clashes and tension that resulted from lack of communication and misunderstanding among the people from time to time, however, unfortunate such incidents may be. In the Kuki-Naga clashes of 1990s, thousands of people including innocent children lost their lives while many villages, both of the Kukis and the Nagas, have been consumed in the fire of communal flare up.

Even as there are still many villages where resettlement is yet to take place, the seed of discord that have been sown is apparent when the two communities started speaking against each other over what have happened in the past. In the clash that broke out between the Meiteis and the Meitei Pangals in 1993, many innocent lives too had been wiped out for no fault of their own, causing a deep wound in the heart of the two communities.

Similarly, the Kuki-Paite clash of 1997 resulted in a no-win situation for all concerned.

In addition to these three major incidents, there have been occasional instances of heightened tension among people of different communities in Manipur every now and then. By virtue of being a society where numerous groups of people with diverse interests and political aspirations have been settling since time immemorial, such occasional instances of communal tension may be understandable when it comes to the question of one’s own interest or obligations.

However, with the people wiser from the past experiences, sanity have always prevailed over them in such times of trouble that threatened to tear apart the social fabric that tied them together to a common destiny and every possible efforts were taken up collectively to avert any major human catastrophe.

In such a backdrop, the latest instance of communal tension engulfing Sadar Hills is indeed unfortunate, to say the least. The root of the current crisis may be traced to conflict between two armed UG groups.

In Manipur where many armed UG groups operate, such conflict is inevitable. In fact, most instances of communal clashes that Manipur have witnessed in the past too have connection with some armed UG groups, one way or the other. Such covert or overt activities of the UG groups in inciting communal tension among the people are even more unfortunate.

But with the people wiser from the past experiences, peace and communal harmony have been their reigning slogans. As a matter of fact, waking up to the need of the hour, many civil organizations have already chipped in towards ensuring that the Sadar Hills incident is not given any communal tinge by those who would go to any extent to ignite communal flare up among the peace loving people.

It is such elements and their mischief that the people of Manipur should stand guard against at this critical moment. It is the time to stand united and remember the lesson learnt from the past. After all, life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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