‘Manipur government has been in touch with the counterpart governments over the issue’
From our Special Correspondent
IMPHAL, Aug 17: The Manipur Home Minister G Gaikhangam has appealed to one and all not to be swayed by the rumours tendentiously spread thereby triggering a mass exodus of Manipuri students and employees from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. He said that the Manipur government has been in touch with the counterpart governments over the issue. The Manipur government has been assured of full protection to the Manipuris staying in these States. If needed some police personnel would be sent to these States.
Quoting the police officers of these States the Manipur government says that there is no basis in the rumour that the students from the Northeastern States are attacked. But then it was somewhat puzzling that the Manipur Home Minister was speaking in this manner without taking ground realities into consideration.
The return of a college student at Pune, Premchand Khomdram to Manipur after being beaten up at least three times has been overlooked. Khomdram was on the college campus in uniform when some other students asked him whether he is from Assam. But they stopped beating him when he explained that he was from Manipur. The same night he was accosted by some persons and using batons he was assaulted. He was shown video clippings of beatings and killings, probably taken in the carnage in Assam. Some persons rescued him and took him to the hospital in a motorbike. However, some others chased them and beat him up in the secluded place. The United Committee Manipur has taken a serious view of this assault. In a statement this organization said that it may amount to triggering a communal violence in Manipur.
On Thursday morning one Manipuri girl, Rojina Chirom, a student of dental college in Pune narrowly escaped when three motorbike borne youths swiped at her with a sword. Luckily she managed to dodge it. The terrified girl rushed into an alley yelling for help. The family members of the house where she took shelter informed the college authority. Police had urged her to lodge a complaint. However, fearing reprisals she decided not to file any complaint with the police. The college has arranged to buy ticket for her with the assurance that she would be escorted by police to the airport.
Despite these appalling developments the Manipur Home Minister is parroting the ministers and some police officials in these States. Meanwhile there is growing fear among the thinking sections that if the fanatics in Pune and elsewhere do not stop the indiscriminate attacks and intimidations to the students and employees from the NE region there may be retaliations for which the architects of the hate campaign will be responsible. In Assam it took several weeks to kill less than 100 persons. It should not be forgotten that in Manipur 102 persons were killed on a single day. The victims included a number of women and small children. It should be noted by the ministers and police officials in these southern States that the communal carnage in Manipur was triggered by rumour. It means that the tendentious rumour in these States may cause bloodshed also. In Manipur’s case members of a nascent underground organization had given money to a Mulsim gun runner. The gun runner however refused to supply the guns or return the money. When some members of the outfit went to his house to take back the money the gun runner had raised a ruckus saying that some persons had come to extort money. The local residents beat up the insurgents to pulp.
To settle scores with the people the members of the outfit spread rumour that Manipuri girls had been raped and murdered, innocent persons beaten up here and there. These had fueled a senseless violence claiming 102 lives. Once the mistake was known complete normalcy was restored from the next day. However, the bereaved families must still be nursing the wounds in their hearts. Many sections are angry that some organizations are instigating unprincipled youths in some southern States to attack and intimidate the people from the NE region in this indiscriminate way.