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Friday, July 12, 2024

Shocking Manipur Video Reflects the Dark Reality of Society

IndiaShocking Manipur Video Reflects the Dark Reality of Society

The Manipur video, which went viral, depicted a shocking incident of violence against tribal women in the state, causing a nationwide sensation.

The entire country was left horrified and outraged by the humanitarian crisis that unfolded in Manipur. The disturbing visuals in the video triggered feelings of shame and anger among those who watched it. This incident serves as a wake-up call for society to deeply reflect on the current state of affairs and question the direction in which we are heading.

Bilkis Bano who was gang-raped and her family murdered, begged the Gujarat government to undo the harm of freeing 11 convicts but they were freed on Indian Independence Day on August 15th.  The convicts were garlanded and offered sweets after they walked out of jail on August 15. It was shocking to learn that ruling BJP lawmaker CK Raulji defended their release saying they are Brahmins with good values.

The Silence and Shame: A Society in Crisis

The Manipur violence has been ongoing for three months, marked by burning houses, street killings, and the brutal rape of women. However, before the viral video emerged, there was a disconcerting silence prevailing across various domains. Politicians, government officials, the judiciary, and the media seemed to turn a blind eye to the atrocities. It took 77 days for the Prime Minister to break his silence on the matter, and this incident has laid bare the dangerous mentality that has been growing in our society.

While people are speaking and holding candlelight vigils, the silence is echoing at large and we see this pattern of violence, arson, rape, and murders from the massacres from the Ram Temple, the 1984 Massacre, the Gujarat Massacre, the Odhisa carnage, Kashmir, and hundreds of other horrors.  It is becoming the accepted norm, and not much is spoken about by the educated masses.  There are over one billion people in India, so the response is rather weak for the size of the population.  It shows a dark acceptance of many that this is our reality.

The silence across all political leaders was frightening, to say the least. I could see that apart from Asaduddin Owaisi, President of AIMIM, no tall political leader really spoke to any media clearly about it, condemning it in strong words.

Asaduddin Owaisi tweeted, “@PMOIndia, at last, spoke on Manipur after 2 Months of continuing Genocide of Kuki tribes, question that the Govt must answer but for the horrible video will Modi have reacted?
Will BJP CM of Manipur give justice to the 160 killed, many women who have been raped, fifty thousand who have been displaced NO NO.”

A Society Unlearned: Repeating History

The horrifying incident in Manipur is not an isolated event. It reflects a recurring pattern of injustice and violence against women that remains inadequately addressed in our society. Past incidents, such as the tragedy of Asifa in Kathua and the mistreatment of a Dalit girl in Unnao, demonstrate that we have not learned from these grave mistakes. Such heinous acts persist due to a certain mindset that still prevails within various communities.

The Gujarat Riots in 2002 had similar patterns of violence and rape. The police allowed the enraged Hindu mobs to attack the Muslims, kill them, and set their homes on fire.

The pogrom went on for three days, uninterrupted with no help from the government, and in fact, the police stood by and watched while mobs burned Muslim homes, stores, hotels, and restaurants. Muslims were burned to death during the raging massacre.  It is estimated between 1000 to 2000 people were killed in Gujarat, with the vast majority being Muslims.

Western researchers have called it a one-sided systemic pogrom backed by the BJP.  Both Indian and International human rights groups say the Gujarat government was complicit and the massacre may have been premeditated and not spontaneous.  Similar patterns are found in the Manipur Violence.

Comparing States: Understanding the Manipur Context

While Manipur’s violence is complex and influenced by political factors and territorial disputes, it is essential to recognize that similar issues exist in other parts of the country and even in different nations. Often, conflicts arise over the control of natural resources in tribal areas, leading to exploitation and violence. In Manipur, the recent violence was triggered by protests against the Scheduled Tribe status of the Mayiti community, which caused tensions with the Kuki and Naga communities.

A Call for Accountability and Change

Despite slogans like ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ (Save the Daughter, Educate the Daughter), and the introduction of new laws, genuine efforts to change the underlying mindset responsible for such atrocities are lacking. It is crucial to hold legislators, law enforcement agencies, and those who manipulate the law accountable for their actions. Mere rhetoric will not suffice; sincere and sustained efforts are necessary to address the root causes of these issues and ensure the safety and dignity of every individual, regardless of gender, caste, or community.

There is also anger in society because of the silence of the prime minister during the first 80 days of the violence until he broke the silence for 36 seconds.

Conclusion: A Society in Crisis and the Path Forward

The Manipur incident has exposed a society grappling with violence, inequality, and a lack of empathy. It serves as a stark reminder that we must reflect deeply and take transformative action to build a just and humane society. By addressing the underlying issues, changing attitudes, and protecting the rights of every individual, we can pave the way for a brighter and more equitable future. Collective efforts are required to ensure a society where compassion, tolerance, and respect for all prevail, transcending barriers of gender, caste, and community.  We do hope the government will work towards building a safe society for all.

On the heartening side, throngs across states in India are marching for Peace for Manipur, and here is a video covering video footage of thousands in Mizoram, the neighboring state of Manipur, marching for peace in solidarity for the Kukis who were targeted during this rampage.  Humanity speaks when politicians sleep.

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