When I heard about killing of two boys alleged to be vehicle lifters not only shocked me but frightened with the cruelty of those people who lived just few meters away from my own home. Some of the culprits who were part of the mob used to be my neighbors, my friends and my elders. I was not only shaken by the incident of killing, burning of houses and my own family taking shelters in relative's place as a consequence of the clash between the two communities.
It was painful to think about the victims and moreover the parents of the boys who has to witness the brutality in the body of their own child for whatever crime they have committed. Also, it's painful to think about the fact that my own uncles, brothers and neighbors has turned to a group of merciless animal in such a short span of time? What are the factors which ignited so much of hatred among each other? This is not the first time there were clash between meiteis and muslims living in Mayang Imphal indulge such clash but we keep looking for opportunities by both sides?
I could still recall some of the incidents in the past which led to putting of more gates, barriers and clutches in the door to ensure our safty. I sure same threat and insecurity of their own friends, neighbours are felt by muslims living in my locality also. After this incident, meiteis could not even think of visiting their own fish farm in the muslim inhibited area, similarly muslim living across the road could not even sneak out of their home to even travel to other places of Manipur. People are left with such a hostility, threat to life and lost of trust among each others because of few culprits in one community but are we ready to punish the culprits? No, we are not! This intention of meitei community who protects the culprits and protest against the arrest of few of culprits has created more tension than it was before. I have come across the news of not giving a communal colour to the incident then why are we protesting against the arrest of murderers and why there is a big silence over the killing? No one in the meitei community has the courage to stop the killing and raised against those and become a witness so that justice is given to the boys and parents of the boys? We make so much noise about indiscriminate killing of our brothers and fathers by the armies but we are silent unquestionably when meitei kills a tribal or muslim or tribal or muslim kill a meitei? Is this so called peaceful co-existence we claimed from years?
Coming back to the claim of cultural chauvinism, we have to accept the truth though it is too late now. We should give an answer to the very rightful question asked by our muslim and tribal neighbors- what the meitei think of themselves? Yes, what we think of ourselves? Are we superior? richer? Are we still kings so rest are our slaves to obey our inhumanity, our untouchable cultures, stereotyping of muslims and tribals and at the same time calming to be guardian of rest of the community. Lets accept the fact that we as a community lack maturity, understanding and its a high time we should teach our children, brothers in the coming generation how to respect another human irrespective of their religion and community. Sadly my forefathers only taught us that muslims are untouchable so they can't cross our courtyard and can't enter in meitei functions. Similarly, for tribals also our forefathers only taught us that they are the one who came to stay in our land and they should obey to us. These teachings from our forefathers not only harm us morally today but become a reason to hate the whole meitei community by other community. If we are hate by a particular community then we still have scope of other community being wronged but when we are hate by all community then we need to cross check what could be wronged at our end. This is a fact from the peaceful coexistence of tribals with people from Bihar and UP in Ukhrul and many parts of hills but at the same time they feel threaten from meiteis. Meiteis in hills lived like a illegal immigrants but there is big celebration of chhat pooja in Ukhrul, celebration of Pongal in Moreh . This only shows the hatred and lack of trust between meitei and tribals/muslims.
These incidents, clash and killings are reminders to us that we need to stand for the right and wrong, not for meities or muslims. Protest by people from my locality against the arrest of culprits was not only shameful but illegal and cruel towards those parents. The Mr. Ex-gracia CM should stop distributing ex-gracia to cover up from solving a murder case. We pay tax to promote development but for not covering up the mindless killing by some thugs just because they belong to majority meitei community. Booking of an accused and punishing them will not only bring back the peaceful co-existence between two communities but will help in reducing the culture of mob lynching in Manipur.