The happenings in Manipur have shocked the entire nation. The tiny state has seen too much of violence in the past few months, but what is most worrisome is the latest trend of assault on women. No words are enough to condemn the assault on two women belonging to the Kuki-Zomi community who were stripped and paraded naked in public. One of them was allegedly gang-raped.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has described the Manipur incident as shameful for any civilized nation and promised the most stringent action against the guilty. That the incident was the fallout of tension between two communities, one of them a minority tribe, which have been at war for past sometime, is no excuse to condone such violence or delay action against the guilty.
The words of the Prime Minister are certain to inspire confidence among the people of Manipur that the government at the Centre cares for them and remains determined to fix accountability in such cases. Violence in the Imphal Valley has been going on for some time now. In this particular case, it flared up following tension between the politically powerful Meitei community and the minority Kuki-Zomi tribe. Members of this tribe mostly inhabit the hills surrounding the state capital.
The violence has led to gruesome killings and destruction of hundreds of houses, a large number of churches and even government property. Many have been forced to flee their homes and take shelter in neighbouring Mizoram. There is a growing perception that the state government failed to act in time, or in a determined manner, to contain the bloodshed. The ruling dispensation in the state has also been accused of being biased towards the politically dominant Meiteis.
Unfortunately, the opposition parties instead of trying to douse the flames in Manipur have been fishing in the troubled waters of the state. In fact, the statements made by some opposition leaders only helped worsen the situation. The need of the hour is that leaders across the political spectrum should not only desist from making political capital out of human misery in Manipur, but they should actually take proactive action to improve the situation in the state.
The nation expects its leaders to behave maturely and lend a helping hand to the Prime Minister in bringing the situation in Manipur under control. Restoration of peace is the most urgent task in the border state at the moment. Action against the guilty can be expedited only if there is complete peace in the state. Prime Minister Modi has promised prompt action against the guilty to the people of Manipur. Going by his track record, the action will come sooner than expected. Like the Prime Minister, all Indians, irrespective of their political affiliations, must also assure the people of Manipur that they stand solidly behind them in this hour of crisis.