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Succeeding in creating total polarisation, for BJP it's a 'win-win situation' in Manipur

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*
The incident of rape and parading of two Kuki women in Manipur is outrageous and barbaric, to say the least. For the last three months, the state is suffering from violence, which has been deliberately encouraged by those in power. Why is Manipur burning and why our Prime Minister or Home Minister had no time to speak about the horrific incidents in the state for so long?
Manipur is what India could be tomorrow. It is an attempt to change the demographic profile of the state. It is an attempt to intrude into the tribal domain. You use the courts and the government to push new communities into the Scheduled Tribes list in order to gain access to to tribal land and forest.
The violence against the Kukis is purely majoritarian in order to teach the Kuki minority a lesson. Even when the Central forces and the army are present, things are allowed to continue and burn.
The Vishwguru was upset when Manipur was being discussed in European Parliament terming it as 'internal' matter. One does not know what is internal and external when you keep quiet for so long when the state is burning.
Indeed, Manipur and its crisis are the absolute failure of the Central leadership, including the all-powerful Prime Minister and the Home Minister. They can make and unmake a government. What stops them of putting the state of Manipur under the President’s rule and allow an impartial administration?
The politicians in Delhi have created this crisis deliberately for their own agenda. This is basically an attempt to gain entry in the tribal land so that big corporates can enter the state and exploit its vast natural resources. India’s Hindu-Muslim and Hindu-Christian divide is basically meant to help the corporates to exploit natural resources.
Manipur is the crisis of governance. It shows how majoritarianism will ultimately destroy India. People of India will have to understand that there is violence and humiliation of fellow countrymen will not take us towards any solution. The answer lies of walking together and understanding the agenda of those who have gained maximum politically by creating such crisis.

PM’s ‘concern’

On July 20, the Prime Minister 'expressed' his 'pain' and 'anguish' on the horrific incident in Manipur, suggesting all the state governments such as Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal or Manipur, must do everything to protect 'women's right and honour'. The way he expressed his anguish seemed to be a clear contempt for the common people's issues.
He spoke after 78 days of the incident. and that too for less than a minutes. It was a monologue. However, he refused to have a debate in Parliament. Can there be a bigger hypocrisy than this?
After the supreme leader spoke, the #bhakts were relieved. For the whole day the story about PM’s concern was picked up by everyone. NDTV started the 'desh seva' from the morning giving us the news of how Smriti Irani, India’s Women and Child Development Minister, was sad about what had happened in Manipur.
Irani has rarely spoken about violence on women and children unless it has happened in an opposition-ruled state, or any matter that concerns Rahul Gandhi. She is one minister who has trolled Rahul Gandhi the most. She told NDTV that the state chief minister has promised action on the incident. She was 'concerned' on the crime against women in the state.
Thereafter, everyone appeared happy that the Prime Minister had spoken. The usual loud speakers came into action. Ravi Shankar Prasad, desperate to be in the Ministry, said how come a crime that happened on May 4th is now appearing in the media on the first day of the monsoon session of Parliament. Another minister said that Twitter has to follow the law of the nation. The threat was loud and clear: Twitter must delete the video of the incident or face action.
It is a war to control people's resources. For the rest of the country, they have made Muslim as villains, in Manipur it's Christians and tribals
By the evening two great things had happened which make us 'proud' of our system. First, Delhi police had no objection for bailing out Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, whose chargesheet suggests everything that could have made the arrest imminent. The court happily granted him bail.
The Delhi police has arrested so many young students and has opposed their bail on the ground of they being 'anti-national', without any chargesheet or proof. The police version is similar to the Sanghi version, which thinks that anyone in disagreement is anti-national.
Then another great news came from Haryana -- that a court has granted parole to Gurmeet Ram Rahim, facing murder and rape charges. A perfect example of impunity to those who have supported the Prime Minister and his ministers.

Damage control?

This is the modus operandi for damage control of the government and the BJP: If it does not work to solve an issue, bring in the Hindu-Muslim binary. The favourite news supplier of the government, ANI, reported from Manipur that somebody named Abdul was arrested in the related case, and the BJP leaders started trending it. Later, the ANI deleted the tweet.
There is no doubt that violence against women and marginalised has been happening in India for long. Nobody can say things started happening after the BJP assumed power. But the impunity that the caste forces are enjoying right now is unparalleled. Such complete polarisiation of the administration has never happened in the past.
Even in the past, Muslims in India never got enough space in our administration and in political life. But things never reached a point when you ask them to leave the country or bulldoze their houses.
The filth that has entered in our news rooms is also unprecedented. The absolute shamelessness with which they have now started peddling the ruling party narrative has only emboldened the supporters of the ruling dispensation – they feel, they can do anything and can get away with it.
In Manipur they have created total polarisation. where the majority Meitei is in a dominant position. Politically, it is a win-win situation for the BJP. While nationally and internationally one may vilify Meiteis, it not going to help secular forces politically.
The whole exercise is part of a war to control people's resources. For the rest of the country, they have made Muslim as villains, but in Manipur it is Christians and tribals. The politics of secularism will only succeed when there is a stress on social justice and inclusion as the main plank.
Those who have heard and seen the story of Bilkis Bano will realise that what has happened in Manipur has already been done many years back in Gujarat. One need not think too much as to what will happen in Manipur. After some time, the accuse will become a 'star', even allowed to fight an election.
Bilkis Bano is still fighting for her right and all those who were accused of assaulting her and defiling her are 'free' citizens of the country. Iy is a perfect example of our political hypocrisy. What is in store for Manipur will depend on what discourse will our political parties and civil society organisation pursue. They must ensure that hate does not dominate their political discourse.
Manipur in real sense will progress and prosper only when both the Meiteis and Kukis live and work together, defeating the hatemongers sitting outside their state to exploit their resources.
---
*Human rights defender

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