In the wake of nearly nine months of violence in Manipur, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh finds himself facing scrutiny for his handling of the security situation. Singh, who also oversees the Home portfolio, recently criticized the Indian Army for their perceived inaction during attacks on KukiZo villages by the Arambai Tenggol, an organization affiliated with him.
While addressing a gathering on the 52nd statehood day, Singh urged central security forces to actively protect the state’s integrity and the lives of its people. However, during violent incidents where approximately 200 KukiZo civilians were brutally killed, Singh appeared oblivious to the atrocities, raising questions about the effectiveness of state security forces under his control.
Evidence suggests that Manipur Police, under Singh’s authority, remained inactive and, in some instances, was implicated in the burning of KukiZo houses. Shockingly, incidents such as the burning of two women in Kangpokpi district and the looting of arms and ammunition from police stations occurred without any significant intervention.
One of the most concerning aspects is the reported integration of state security forces with separatist Meitei militants and Arambai Tenggol, forming what Singh refers to as a unified command.
Given these circumstances, it is perplexing how Singh, allegedly misusing security forces, can advise the Indian Army on their role. Questions about Singh’s authority to invite central forces arise, and it is argued that central forces should be deployed by the center based on national considerations rather than at the discretion of state leaders.
Singh emphasizes the protection of innocent lives and properties, rightfully extending this responsibility to all communities, not just Meiteis. The expectation that the Indian Army should remain passive in the face of attacks on KukiZo villages is questioned, especially when private militias and separatist organizations are involved.
In response to challenges and differences of opinion, Singh has sought to consolidate control over security matters. The call for the resignation of security advisor Kuldeep Singh appears to be part of this strategy, revealing internal disagreements on security issues.
If Singh desires the Army to take action, reimposing AFSPA in the Valley of Manipur, removed in March last year, should be considered. However, simultaneously accusing the Army of inaction while limiting their power through such acts is deemed hypocritical.
The resolutions adopted by 37 MLAs, particularly the demand to suspend the truce between Kuki extremists and the center, highlight the complexity of the situation. Singh’s role in abrogating the decade-and-a-half-old tripartite agreement adds to the challenges faced.
The second resolution calling for the disarmament of illegal arms is commendable, but the delay raises questions about Singh’s influence and potential challenges from affiliated organizations like Arambai Tenggols.
In conclusion, Singh’s attempts to influence the Army’s role in Manipur warrant careful consideration and scrutiny, given the complex dynamics at play in the state’s security landscape.