Weak leadership can worsen the Manipur situation
The situation in Manipur is arguably one of the most challenging national security issues facing India today. In the absence of a coherent strategy from the Indian government, Manipur is getting caught in the swirl of local chauvinist politicians, drug smugglers and militant groups that are bent on exploiting the situation to gain political mileage. These are just the right ingredients for Manipur to become the latest state to be hit by terrorism and insurgency.
While his key ministers are making contractictory statements, Dr Manmohan Singh’s leadership is again conspicuous by its absence. One has yet to hear from the Prime Minister of India on the government’s strategy on handling the sensitive situation in Manipur. More than a decade ago, another weak government was unable to deal with an incipient security threat in Kashmir due to its weak leadership. While there has been considerable media attention given to the Army’s role in tackling the insurgency in Manipur, the more appropriate question – that of the Indian government’s lackadaisical handling of the situation – remains unasked.
The way I see it, Dr Manmohan Singh has been found wanting yet again.
If the POTA is wrong, how can the AFSPA be right? If the AFSPA is right, how can the POTA be wrong? If it is wrong to use special legal powers against the lawless elements in the rest of India, how can it be right to use them against the people in the Northeast? If it is right to use special legal powers against insurgent elements in the Northeast, how can it be wrong to use them against the terrorists in the rest of India?
By its unwise and ill-considered pronouncements and promised policies on the question of special powers, the present government finds itself caught in a web of contradictions and runs the risk of causing in the minds of the people of the Northeast perceptions of double standards towards them. [B Raman | Outlook]