Respecting a people’s dignity


By Nameirakpam Bobo Meitei

What hope does a state give to its people? The hope that their state is altogether a different establishment in which every individual can claim his or her rights, and if this state turns out to be quite the contrary, and its conducts barely reflecting the wishes of its people, instead of giving hope it has begun to terrorise its very own people, then should people come forward to court a establishment which is willing to treat its people as subjects rather than respectable citizens? When a state has reached a point where no one feels the need to approach it to seek justice and all that it can bestow to those who have empowered them is tyranny should people live on under it?

One academic laid down several questions regarding the conducts of the Indian government in the state of Manipur on removal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act(AFSPA), one among them was “How many people in India know about AFSPA and the existing problem of insurgency in the reason and why people are gung-ho in asking the Act be repealed when they themselves have no solution to the existing insurgency problem?”

Only a clause in the Act is what people need to know, the clause that gives complete immunity to guilty security personnel. While attempting to solve a complex prolonged-matter the state has to be consistent and any fruitful result is for the betterment of the people. But what if their attempts have proved futile while enough damage has been to a people who are caught up in the conflict? What difference can one see between those proscribed groups, the state is fighting supposedly on behalf of the people, and its soldiers, which have been given the task to handle and have turned against those who they have sworn to protect? Should we expect that state agents behave just like those proscribed group or worse than them because they happened to be caught up in a conflict zone?

Here one doesn’t overlook the existing insurgency, while one is asking the Act be repealed from the affected region. One understands that existing problem should be solved, perhaps with a different approach altogether since the old approach of “combat and destroy” doesn’t prove productive, and can expect to be more human; start conducting in a fashion that reflects the wishes of the people, human rights not being violated and if violated they should have faith that justice will be done.Some say why the elected representatives in power don’t say much against it and how they have come back with a majority to power? But why did the government give in the army’s opposition to the removal despite strong recommendation by several committees set up under the behest of prime minister? Even if the state government wished how much of its wish could be carried out when it finds itself in a situation in which New Delhi can easily override state power? If one is to talk about the voting back Ibobi government in Manipur, which didn’t say a word against during election campaigns, one could also question the overall maturity of Indian democracy. Despite the clear knowledge that BJP leaders were responsible for the demolition of Babri Mosque why they have voted back repeatedly in a secular India?

Perhaps India has become a virtual military state in which civilian concerns are no more valued in the regions suffering from insurgency. If India claims that it has the power to destroy external forces at wars then it should also be convinced of its ability to eliminate those elements which have only been considered detrimental, and if it cannot, then perhaps it should reconsider its strategy and try to address the decade-old problem through political means. Unfortunately no serious initiative has come forward from New Delhi except some leaders dropping at election times and scattering few lines asking to “join the mainstream” when those who have been living in the very heart of Delhi from this region don’t feel that they are treated as a part owing to the cast attitudes of the people. One just have to look at the ongoing decade-old peace dialogue between NSCN(I-M) and Delhi, what milestone both the parties have brought forward before a person who was boy when the peace talks started and now the author of this piece?

If New Delhi wants people from this region to join the so-called “mainstream” perhaps it should value the dignity of those who live in the so-called disturbed zones under the sly shade of Armed Forces Special Power Act. How could a humiliated people come forward to join a “mainstream” which it sees as the violator of their basic fundamental rights and making a mockery of their dignity?


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