MANIPUR, INDIA (TEH) – In the northeastern borderlands of India, Manipur’s escalating unrest has evolved into a serious concern for national security. After a harrowing 26-second video depicting tribal women went viral, eliciting national condemnation, the state government finally acted, arresting a fifth suspect on Saturday. The increasing tension has prompted the central government to reinforce security measures, escalating military presence and building fortified checkpoints along the border regions.
The complex social tapestry of Manipur, interspersed with Meitei and Kuki communities, is witnessing an intensified military footprint. Following directives from the central government, aerial surveillance has now been augmented to complement the pre-existing ground forces from the Army, Assam Rifles, CRPF, and BSF. However, there lies a significant challenge: the state’s civil police and intelligence network is found wanting in its capacity to provide the necessary data that the armed forces require for effective security management.
Despite having a broad spectrum of security forces in place, their collective impact in tackling terrorism has been relatively muted. The problem stems from the lack of adequate intelligence, which inevitably hampers their effectiveness.
Manipur’s unique geopolitical situation calls for a nuanced approach. A policy that favors leniency toward extremism in one community, while demonstrating strictness towards others, is untenable. The state government must assert its non-partisan role, and act in a fair and balanced manner to maintain the peace.
Furthermore, it is paramount for the central government to fortify the state’s security infrastructure. This is needed, irrespective of potential political backlash and the possibility of protests from both Meitei and Vuki communities. The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which had been enforced in Manipur since 1958, allowed authorities to act decisively against terror outfits. However, the law’s withdrawal has seen a resurgence in terrorist activities, rendering the local police force largely ineffective.
This volatile situation in Manipur is certainly not commonplace, and traditional methods seem inadequate in managing it. When societal factions resort to arms with intent on mutual destruction, extraordinary and special arrangements, be it related to security or legal frameworks, must be enacted.
While implementing stringent measures may lead to temporary political fallout, the prioritization of peace should be paramount, even if it implies political compromises. Any reluctance or delay in taking unpopular decisions for preserving national unity and integrity could further fuel the unrest.
If the center finds it challenging to enforce strict laws through the existing state government, the emergence of a new administration should be considered. Should the new administration also fail, imposition of the President’s rule may become a necessary measure to firmly control the terror elements. Once peace and stability are established, subsequent elections can pave the way for a popular government.
The immediate priority, however, is to quell the rampant anarchy, terror, and chaos gripping the state. As a critical border state, Manipur’s stability is essential not just for regional harmony, but also for the broader security interests of the nation.
Source: The Eastern Herald