Rev Dr Zelhou Keyho
General Secretary, NBCC
If justice delayed is justice denied, what do we call the tactics the Manipur Government and the authority at the center are playing in spite of Manipur burning and bleeding for the last 12 weeks and counting? Why are they not bothered to take any serious step to bind the wounds inflicted? Time and again we are reminded with flashes of the horror of hatred unleashed upon the innocents and religious minorities in the state. The people who are directly affected are sleeping with the horror unleashed on them and their loved ones.
Could it be true that what happened in Manipur almost three months ago is a well planned execution of certain political and religious group in the nation against a certain religion and ethnic group in the region? The authority at this time cannot just be silent on the pretext that they are collecting evidences. What more evidences do the authority need when human-naked eyes have seen all?
Our daughters, our mothers, our children and innocents of the land became the target of the beastly-horror act in the hands of those who have lost their sense caused by the deep seated hatred. In destruction of properties, vandalism is too light a vocabulary when places of worship were brought down to ashes. So much hatred have been poured out within a short span of time surpassing all the narrations of persecution against the Christians in the country. This, we never expect, at least in the northeast region where religious harmony seems to be more evident and elaborate than other part of the country.
Why is it taking so long to gather the evidence of what happened? The delay has caused more pain because people were made to visit the past again and again. What more evidence is needed when the truth has been revealed?
The dust has not settled and the authority is hiding under the pretext that they are collecting evidence. This lame excuse has exposed the mentality that India will always give a step-sisterly treatment to the region were they have nothing to gain.
The shame it has brought, the pain it has caused, and the tears that were shed will not be soon forgotten. Only delivering justice will begin the journey of the healing process. At this time, the Manipur government and the Central government cannot just make comments and shed crocodile tears to appease people. You must act to instill confidence in the minds of the people in the region and the nation.
The evidence of things which happened in the most terrible and horrific manner in post modern era are not just blowing in the wind, they are flying all over and it is yet to settle down. If you have seen the videos circulating around those are the evidence, the burning of churches, homes, villages, and the smokes going up are the evidence. The bodies buried are the evidence. The beastly rape, inhuman treatment, and the parading of our daughters naked are the evidence. But if the authority is still collecting evidence, go to the makeshift camps, talk to children who lost their parents, and listen to their stories.
The delay tactics of the authority is enabling lies to be concocted and made to travel half the world when the truth at home is trying to put things in order. Hate speeches and angers are blown out of proportions because there is no control system put to work by the authority. Mad minds are let loose. Unless these are brought under control, the house that was set on fire will continue to burn and spread.
There are people playing devil’s advocate in the media, in the name of digging the truth. They are only adding fuel of hatred to further divide the community. These are not helping and people are carried away. Our society is now becoming a society of propaganda. We have given ways to spin doctors to influence the way we look at things. All these are happening because the government chose to remain silent.
The vicious cycle of hatred must stop and the authority must act with precision. We therefore, appeal to the government of Manipur and the Central government to act without wasting time. The delay is causing more harm.
Manipur situation cannot be looked at in isolation. The ethnic clash that occurred and the senseless killings, the beastly act on our women and daughters, the burning down of sacred-religious building and worship places have become the face of the region. These are shameful acts and uncivilized and to say the least, unfit for the region that is moving forward. What have we gain? Nothing, only hatred, fear and uncertain life for the certain group of people. Unless, the authority act fast it will soon become uncontrollable and will spread to become something which we may not want to expect.
Justice has so many enemies and the Manipur Government and the Central Government have become the enemies of justice. This is a poor reflection of the nation which takes pride in proclaiming to the world that it is the biggest democratic nation yet, not willing to live up to its name. It only exhibits that the nation still lacks leadership maturity. All attentions placed on the region and the promises made time and again are becoming just hallow words.
If rapes and beastly treatment of its daughter and mothers are treated as normal, the nation is yet to see the light of civilization. On the other hand, if public harmony is sought by destruction of one particular religion/faith community in the nation, the proclamation of secularism is just a vocabulary .
It boils down to these two things. First, leadership that tolerates rapes and mistreatment of our daughters, sisters and mothers are as guilty as the perpetrators. Second, a nation that lacks tolerance and is filled with hatred towards other religious groups and faith community is doomed and nothing good can be expected beyond hate crimes.
On behalf of the Christian community in the region, the Nagaland Baptist Church Council makes its stand crystal clear on three points. First, justice must be served and equal protection must be guaranteed to all people regardless of their religious affiliation. Second, India cannot go on talking about development to seize and dispose the tribals properties at their selfish whim. Third, a nation that tolerates rapes and senseless killings of its citizens must rise to the occasion and booked those who are responsible and justice served according to the law of the land.
The undersigned, therefore, on behalf of the church in the region appeal to the authority both in Manipur and Central Government to immediately cease the delay tactics and act upon with precision to bring the situation under control. This is the need of the hour. The authority can no longer ignore the voice of the people.