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EDITORIAL: Pattern That Runs Through All Crimes

There is something eerily wrong with what has been happening in the State in the recent past starting from the March 20 incident wherein the son of a high profile Minister pulled out his licensed gun and shot dead another youth, the reasons for which are yet to be spelt out, the lynching of a couple at Sora area of Thoubal district following the killing of a Zilla Parishad member and the death of an elderly woman of around 75 years, after she was hit by a bullet that was ostensibly fired by Assam Rifles personnel in the night of April 2, to celebrate India‘s victory over Sri Lanka in the ICC World Cup Cricket tournament.

All these instances appear unique in its own way and to the common observer; the question of a common factor running through all these cases would not arise at all. We wish things were as simple as this and this is what the Government wants us to believe, but scratch the surface and one will see a pattern emerging in all these cases which inextricably link them together. Tears shed over the loss of someone dear and near under some tragic circumstances have literally sapped the moral and physical strength of the common people of Manipur and it hurts more when we realize that such a situation could have been easily avoided if only the main characters involved in the incident had not come under the false notion that they belong to a special class, by virtue of their parentage. We are more than sure that the Minister’s son would not have pulled his gun out and fired a shot, if only he had been taught the value of a human life and the likely outcome such action can invite.

The 75 year old woman, who died after receiving a bullet fired ostensibly by Assam Rifles personnel in celebrating India’s moment of pride in the world of cricket, was not a deliberate act. It was an accident, no doubt about it but doesn’t this say something profound about the gradual erosion of the real meaning of a soldier and the emergence of the mercenaries, who kill and render their service for money. It is unfortunate but true that the security forces are beginning to act more and more like the mercenaries. The lynching of a couple at Sora area is an example of the people demonstrating that they no longer trust the Government to deliver justice and the best thing would be to play the role of the policeman, the jury as well as the executioner at one go.

All these eerie incidents would not have occurred, if only society had not come to such a stage that the people now no longer understand the language of love, piety, gentleness, respect for each other and very importantly the realization that everyone is accountable and responsible for one’s action and deeds. Today Irom Roger is just another figure in the list of those killed in a gun fire in Manipur (which is not rare at all), but come to think about it, would the incident actually have occurred if the value system of the society had not degraded ?

Would a 27 year old youth have the gumption to pull out his gun and open fire, if his father did not belong to that rare breed of people we know as Ministers? Would the mob have taken the law into their own hands and lynched the couple at Sora, if the Government agencies had enough credibility to earn the trust and confidence of the common people and would the Assam Rifles personnel would have been so insensitive to the sentiments of the local populace, if they are made to realize and accept the fact that they are accountable to the laws of the land. Manipur goes to sleep early and more so in the rural areas, to which Thoubal definitely belongs to. Apart from the extremely tragic incident, the unsaid but nevertheless prominent point that stands out is, the very act of opening fire in the air, whether in celebration or whatever the occasion in the night, that is after 10 pm, shows a deep rooted mentality that more or less says that the security personnel care a damn about the sentiments of the local population.

The argument we have put ahead should be more than enough to drive home our point that there is something common that runs through all the three different incidents. Crime or criminal activity is not unique to Manipur and so is a mob taking the law into its own hands and simultaneously playing the role of the police, the judiciary and the executioner or someone getting killed in a case of misfiring or caught in a cross firing. However the universal understanding or practice of interpreting a crime or a criminal act in isolation of other similar cases, except in cases of serial killers or serial rapists, in one way or the other fails to explain crimes and criminal activities in Manipur when viewed in isolation, for there is always a common factor that runs through all of them.

This may be the case in other parts of the world too, but the difference lies in the systematic pattern that we see in all such cases. The pattern that emerges from the blood and tears of many a family is a direct reflection of the system of governance in vogue as well as the culture of VIP-isation among the political elites of the State. Such a culture is bound to have an effect on society and what we see today is a result of the gradual erosion of social values and ethics down the years.

When kids as young as ten or eleven are exposed to the ugly side of an adult’s personality, then we can only expect our children to grow up with a negative attitude towards life. When kids see their fathers and their peers, making a mockery of the traffic rules on the busy streets, by virtue of their position, then it can be absorbed by the young and tender minds as the accepted social and legal practices. It is this pattern that we need to destroy and annihilate and for this, all adults of society need to realize the impact their conduct has on the young minds and young people. On the other hand, the Government too must start delivering or else it will continue to lose the faith and confidence of the people and this is a perfect recipe for anarchy to descend upon us. The number of appeals to the “Concerned Authority” which appears in the local dailies is more than enough testimony of the confidence that the common people have in the Government and there is nothing to gloat over this.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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