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Bridging the growing trust deficit in Manipur

The article discusses the prevailing trust deficit in Manipur among its diverse communities, particularly between the Meiteis and the Kukis. It highlights issues such as the Manipur High Court order on Scheduled Tribe status and the eviction of tribal villages that have fueled discontent and suspicion, leading to violence. The article emphasizes the need for restoring peace through military and administrative actions, addressing the root causes of the trust deficit, and fostering an environment of dialogue, understanding, and inclusivity for a peaceful and unified Manipur.

What is the context?

With its diverse population and history of violence, a widening trust deficit in Manipur is prevailing among its communities. Mutual suspicion between ethnic groups in the Imphal valley and the hills has turned into simmering conflict, particularly between the Meiteis and the Kukis. Issues like the Manipur High Court order on Scheduled Tribe (ST) status for Meiteis and the eviction of tribal villages have fueled discontent and suspicion, leading to a breakdown in trust.

Restoring Peace:

The Indian Army, CRPF, Border Security Force, and Indian Air Force have initiated military operations to control the violence’s intensity and spread. The Union Home Minister and security advisers actively engage in the peace process. Authorities take strict actions against those involved in the violence, despite significant damage already occurring. Efforts are underway to restore confidence, especially among the Kukis, through the presence of central forces and the government’s stance on the issue.

Undoing the Damage:

It is crucial to address the root cause of the trust deficit and the ongoing turmoil. Administrative and judicial interventions have proven to be costly, underscoring the need for a natural evolution of policies that consider the sensitivities and susceptibilities of the tribals. While immediate military and administrative steps are necessary, equal attention must be given to undoing the damaging measures that have contributed to the trust deficit.

Realizing Unity and Contribution:

Northeast India, once perceived as a region affected by insurgency and violence, has made progress in terms of peace and unity with the rest of the country. The people of Manipur are recognizing their essential unity with India and their potential contributions to the nation. It is essential to build on this realization and create an environment that fosters trust, understanding, and harmonious coexistence.

Conclusion:

The trust deficit in Manipur requires immediate attention and focused efforts to restore peace and unity among its diverse communities. While military and administrative actions are necessary to control the violence, equal emphasis should be placed on addressing the root causes and undoing the damaging measures that have contributed to the breakdown of trust. By fostering an environment of dialogue, understanding, and inclusivity, Manipur can move towards a future characterized by peace, cooperation, and shared progress.

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