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Ignorant, Arrogant Delhi

Delhi has this uncanny knack of repeating acts, which do nothing except, keep reminding us of the general observation or saying, biting off more than you can chew. If the then BJP led NDA Government committed the blunder of inking the Bangkok Declaration on June 14, 2001, this time the Congress led UPA Government has shown that it can match the BJP tooth for tooth when it comes to staging State managed acts involving characters such as the spies and super spies, diplomatic pressure or influence, conspiracy of silence, dispatching its agents to foreign locales for some undercover assignments etc.

After the BBC went ahead and published the report that the Chairman of the UNLF, arguably the biggest underground outfit operating in the North East, RK Meghen alias Sanayaima has been arrested in Dhaka by a joint team of intelligence agents of India and Bangladesh on September 29, this year, it became clear that it was not just a question of a wanted rebel leader being held in foreign soil but one that reeked of subterfuge, undercover agents and all the other possible terms that one usually associates with a James Bond flick or the Jason Bourne series ! What added to the ugliness of this already deceptive development was the conspiracy of silence maintained by both Delhi and Dhaka for over two months triggering speculations and wild talks and rumor.

After the BBC made the first breakthrough in reporting the arrest of the UNLF chief, Tehelka took up from where the BBC left and using its vast network of contacts and sources, came out with the story that Meghen has been taken to Delhi and kept somewhere in a safe house at Mehrauli in the capital. The Union Home Ministry or anyone for that matter, neither denied nor confirmed the story of Tehelka and even BBC and what is more, the conspiracy of silence continued even after the UNLF had publicly and officially acknowledged that its Chairman was in the custody of the Government of India.

Taking into consideration the numerous instances of people disappearing without a trace after being picked up by some Hindi speaking armed persons in the dead of the night, it was but natural to see the people of Manipur coming out on the streets and demanding that Delhi disclose the whereabouts of the rebel leader. Lessons learnt from history of the recent past, we may say, courtesy the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. That Delhi had bitten off more than it could chew started to become clear, when it decided to act as if nothing has happened and banked on the belief and hope that the issue will gradually fade from the public domain but the reverse proved true with each passing second of Delhi keeping mum taken as a signal that something diabolical was in the offing.

In a way we may say that the years of living under the shadow of the guns as well as surviving the conflict situation has come in handy for the people to cope with such sensitive issue. No rhetoric, no beating one’s chest and definitely no darts aimed at anyone in particular, but a dignified approach marked by sit-in-protests and the occasional opinion commented in the newspapers. This is a sure sign of maturity and a people coming to terms with the need to articulate their thoughts and actions in a rational way.

The issue here has nothing to do with whether one subscribes to the ideologies and methodologies championed by rebel leaders like RK Meghen, but has everything to do with what one would call human dignity and self respect of a people, especially when that people we are talking about are placed in such a situation that questions over their affinity or identity of their citizenship, very often has to be explained the moment one sets foot outside the chicken neck. It was not for nothing that we had questioned whether the idea of India as a Nation has really taken firm roots or not, in our last commentary.

RK Meghen is a man who will mean different things to different persons, but no one can deny the fact that he is a son of the soil and is the leader of at least 5000 or so armed cadres. Either one dislikes him to the core or one likes him, but no one ignore him, is stating the obvious and the very act of stage managing an arrest of the rebel leader in front of the international community is nothing short of Delhi’s short sightedness, especially when it is pulling all strings possible to get admitted as a permanent member of the Security Council of the United Nations. Maybe they ought to listen what Wikileaks have to offer and see how Secretary of State of the USA, Hillary Clinton has been ridiculing India’s claim to be admitted into the hallowed circle of the United Nations Security Council.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram may pat his boys in the National Investigative Agency as well as the sleuths of RAW for a job well done, but the job may be seen as well done only when viewed through India’s view, where mediocrity is seen as something above the average. This is the reason why the second most populous country in the world goes over the top when its athletes win a bronze in the Olympics, clearly overlooking the fact that there was the gold or the silver that could have been won. It is this failure to see and understand their own weaknesses that Delhi and Dhaka came under the impression that they can pull off the perfect heist without leaving a trace!

RAW agents are not Mossad or the now dismantled KGB or the CIA, but they are intelligence agents of caliber by India’s standard and this was error number 1. Error number II and the most blatant was the conspiracy of silence that was discreetly agreed to between Dhaka and Delhi and the error number III was the announcement that Meghen was arrested from some place in Bihar! Our stand is, if you have to come out with a doctored report do so, but with finesse. Clearly Delhi has bitten off more than it could chew and the desperate attempt to cover up the arrest of one of the most wanted men in the North East region is more than enough to say that there is still a long way to go for the Chidambarams and others to climb the ladder of political maturity.

Yes, Meghen is a prized catch, but what has Delhi gained from it, is a question we would love to hurl at PC. Clearly it is a case of Delhi mistaking ignorance for valor and arrogance for a well drafted policy.  Mr PC. It was a misadventure, alright and Delhi appeared like a caricature in front of a global audience.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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*The Sangai Express- Largest Circulated News Paper In Manipur
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