Lofty Rhetoric, No Substance

 Witoubou Newmai


The Biren Singh Government in Manipur appears to be a classic illustration of either an authority who tries to quell confronting situations sans any considerable cogency or a case of an authority with a high propensity for gimmicks. Consequently, whenever an issue crops up, the Government does not have any hesitation to employ ‘assurance’ and rhetoric as tools to achieve their ends. Such measures are adopted as a lullaby to lull the aggrieved people and obtain a temporary respite. Indeed, a glaring lesson for authorities elsewhere.


As destined, however, the ‘calm’ generated by those measures are not effective even to last a year, and now the ‘once bitten’ effect overwhelms the people even as the Biren Singh Government hobbles and struggles to appear ‘real’.


With the onset of summer, familiar issues are surfacing and simmering again. The lists are endless. The issue of Inner Line Permit (ILP); aggrieved Government employees demanding their dues; the district creation issue; the issues of ‘fake encounter’ or the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) and many more.


On Wednesday, the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) spearheading for the implementation of the ILP in Manipur had threatened to take up several stern measures if the State Government does not table the ILP Bill in the forthcoming legislative assembly session.


To recall, nine people lost their lives in protest against the passing of ILP related Bills in the Manipur Legislative Assembly in 2015 by the previous State Government. The hill people then protested against the three bills terming them as “Anti-Tribal Bills”.


The issue remained highly charged until the incumbent Government took charge of the state of affairs and earn a brief respite with rhetorical assurances.


Devoid of a cogent approach from the State Government, however, the issue is waiting to explode again.


On the much commented and controversial district creation issue, despite the initiation of the so-called ‘tripartite talks,’ the Nagas at the grass roots have started questioning the parties involved as a tangible and concrete solution is not forthcoming even after one year of ‘talking’.


Going by the discourses on various platforms, including fire-place discussions on the issue, the hope of the Naga public seems to be on the wane. As a result, the pressure of Naga public is mounting on the United Naga Council (UNC) to expedite the process. The latter, in turn, is a pressuring the Biren Singh Government, to resolve the issue.


What is the main takeaway from the unfolding scenario? If only rhetoric, not a sense of mission, is the preferred tool adopted by those at the helm of affairs and power to tide over an issue, they will continue to experience retrograde stand of a society.