Indian Express Editorial Summary

Editorial Topic : Remember Manipur Crisis 

 GS-3 Mains Exam : Security

Revision Notes

Note: This editorial are solely for informational updates; direct questions cannot be formulated


A Belated Admission:

  • After a year of ethnic violence that ravaged Manipur, Chief Minister N Biren Singh finally admitted the government’s shortcomings in controlling the unrest. This admission is crucial, considering over 200 lives were lost and 60,000 people displaced.

More Than Just Ethnicity:

  • Manipur’s situation is complex, and ethnic tensions are just one piece of the puzzle. The state boasts a diverse population with Meiteis, Kuki-Zos, Bengalis, Muslims, and Nagas residing within its borders. Notably, Jiribam, a multi-ethnic district bordering Assam, remained peaceful until recent violence. This highlights that other factors are at play.
  • Economic disparity seems to be a significant contributor. Manipur has the third-lowest per capita income in India, a stark contrast to its position as the richest state in the Northeast during the 1990s. The state lags behind in education, employment opportunities, infrastructure, and healthcare. These anxieties and lack of development exacerbate ethnic tensions and fuel accusations of favoritism in resource allocation.

Loss of Faith:

  • The BJP’s significant drop in vote share in Manipur’s recent Lok Sabha elections, from 34% (2019) to 17% (2024), reflects the erosion of public confidence in the government’s handling of the crisis.

Proposed Solutions (and Shortcomings):

  • CM Singh seeks central intervention to convince tribal communities that they aren’t being targeted. He proposes focusing on “outsiders” who arrived post-1961. However, critics argue this approach is divisive and fails to address the root causes of the conflict.
  • The formation of a multi-ethnic peace committee in June 2023 hasn’t yielded any concrete results. Additionally, despite the government’s renewed focus on the Northeast, Prime Minister Modi hasn’t visited Manipur. This lack of attention from the central government is seen as a missed opportunity.
  • As pointed out by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, prioritizing peace efforts should have happened much earlier.

The Way Forward:

  • CM Singh, a Meitei himself, needs to move beyond the “insider-outsider” narrative. A genuine effort towards inclusive governance is vital for healing and progress.
  • Addressing the economic disparity and lack of development in Manipur is crucial. Investing in education, infrastructure, and healthcare can create a more equitable society and reduce tensions.
  • Open dialogue and collaboration between all ethnic groups are essential for lasting peace. The multi-ethnic peace committee must be revived and empowered to find solutions.

Manipur’s path to recovery requires a multi-pronged approach that tackles ethnic tensions, economic disparity, and a sense of alienation. Only through genuine efforts towards inclusive governance and development can Manipur heal and move forward.


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