Pays the Price for Centre's Illiteracy or Dishonesty
decision by the BJP-led government in the Centre to extend the
Indo-NSCN (IM) ceasefire without any territorial limits can
best be explained from two angles. One is the Centre's desire
to see continuance of underdevelopment in the north east. The
other way of explaining it is by taking recourse to the
Centre's illiteracy about issues pertaining to the region. As
events unfold, the first explanation is becoming increasingly
It has been the
charge of the people in the region that the Centre all along
has not been sincere in so far its dealings with the region
are concerned. This seems to be established beyond doubt by
the recent happenings. For the last quite a few years, the
thinkers from the region have been insisting that the region
should be taken away from the clutches of the Home Ministry
and be put , as in the case of the others, under the purview
of the respective purview of the development institutions.
Indeed, it would amaze any development analyst that even the
development agency, the North Eastern Council is under the
For the last
few years, we have been observing increasing assertion by the
people of North East origin in different spheres of Indian
polity, starting from sports to politics. This definitely has
not been to the liking of the Indian policy makers. They have
been so used to playing the paternalistic role and have all
along thought with arrogance that they are the superior
beings. Though the mandarins in Delhi have been using
arguments so invalid in the context of the realities that the
region has been a favoured one from the perspective of
Centre's investments. This is an argument which simply does
not hold water if we look at the size of the absolute
investments made as against the threshold requirements for the
development of the region.
despite the Centre's efforts the region, as I said, has
started asserting itself in all spheres of life in India.
Besides, in the last few years, we see a strong emergence of a
regional identity and increasing interaction among the
different ethnic groups in the region. Here we must put on
record that, the increasing interaction among the people of
the region is due to the efforts of the civil society in the
region and not because of efforts of the government of India.
This definitely has caused sleeplessness to the Indian policy
makers in Delhi.
government led by the party adept in playing the communal card
started looking for an opportunity to nib in the bud this
coming into prominence by the people of the North East and
destroy the strength built up by the civil society in the
region. It may be of interest in this context that, only a few
months back the home ministry had cast aspersion on the
sincerity of the NGOs working in the region.
feature in the recent ceasefire extension is the trap in which
the Centre has put the NSCN(IM) and thereby projecting the
leaders of this organisation as communalists. Since the
region, and particularly Manipur has such a strong inner
strength of secularism, the first round of reactions and all
the events after that had failed to fuel the communal fire.
This seems to be causing further sleeplessness to the Central
leaders as is evident from the unwarranted delay in taking a
final decision on the matter.
explanation we can think of is the likely ignorance of the
Centre of the realities in the region. The Centre conducts its
policies in the region on the basis of reports from the army.
There is no think tank based in the region. The
"experts" on the region advising the Centre are at
best army retirees or those civil servants who had had only a
short stint in the region. They do not understand the inner
dynamics of the society in the region. The features of this
dynamism are such that they need to be constantly observed and
reassessed. The "Central advisers" neither have the
expertise nor the outlook for such an exercise.
In fine, I
would like to point out that the situation we now face in
Manipur is one where the state destroys itself. The Centre has
tolerated, rather been a party to the increasing irrelevance
of the constitutional institutions for the sake of satisfying
one organisation. We now have 144 Cr. P.C. and Curfew imposed
for almost a month, but the power of spontaneous defiance by
the people is so strong that the state has no power to enforce
observance of its own impositions. The state is destroying
itself in Manipur. Or is it that a new state is emerging?