In Manipur, Army’s leadership has experience and ability to do its job

Source: The post is based on the article “Syed Ata Hasnain writes: In Manipur, Army’s leadership has experience and ability to do its job” published in “The Indian Express ” on 6th July 2023.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Security challenges and their management in border areas

News: The Spear Corps of the Indian Army recently shared a video on social media that drew both praise and criticism. The video showed a group of activists, primarily women, blocking and surrounding Indian Army personnel during an operation. This incident highlights the challenges faced by the security forces in carrying out their duties amid local interferences.

Why is Manipur witnessing turmoil?

Manipur is witnessing turmoil due to rising tensions between two ethnic communities, the Meiteis and the Kukis.

Historical grievances have escalated, threatening the peaceful coexistence of these communities.

Additionally, segments of the local population, primarily women and children, are obstructing security forces in their attempts to maintain stability and order.

This method is causing significant concerns, as it hinders timely response during critical situations. The situation’s complexity requires careful handling to avoid it escalating into large-scale conflict.

What are the lessons from history?

The lessons learn from past conflicts in Rwanda, Jammu and Kashmir, and Sri Lanka are

  1. a) From Rwanda (1994), the ethnic conflict between Hutus and Tutsis illustrates how majorities can oppress minorities, leading to long-lasting discord,
  2. b) In Jammu and Kashmir (1989), the forced migration of Kashmiri Pandits warns us about the enduring wounds of ethnic cleansing,
  3. c) Sri Lanka’s Tamil-Sinhala conflict highlights how ignoring minority sentiments can lead to protracted strife.

All these historical instances underscore that military victories alone can’t resolve deep-rooted issues. Achieving peace requires people-to-people understanding and reconciliation, as demonstrated by South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

What should be done to overcome this issue?

Building bridges: It’s essential to encourage dialogue between the Meiteis and Kukis to understand and address their grievances. Communication is crucial to prevent misunderstandings from escalating into full-blown conflicts.

Promoting reconciliation: Inspired by South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, similar initiatives could be considered. These platforms can help foster understanding and promote healing between conflicting groups.

Supporting security forces: Finally, it’s vital to ensure that security forces can perform their duties effectively. This includes preventing obstruction from sections of the population and providing necessary resources. The Indian Army’s balanced approach, respecting local sensibilities while maintaining order, should be upheld. Trust in their experience and wisdom can guide the region towards stability.

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