The extraordinary silence of the Prime Minister on the horrifying situation in Manipur has been broken by an extraordinary statement on a viral video of rape of one woman and forced naked parade of three hapless Kuki women by a Meitei mob.Extraordinary?Yes.While the Prime Minister says his blood boils in agony and rage at this brazen cruelty he carefully refrains from discussing it against the present backdrop of insane violence that has been raging there since May the 3rd.
This silence is strategic and significant.Some deep design of policy seems to be involved. For without doubt the silence is deliberate and eloquent.The riots are designed to deliver a resounding message and cause some political consequence.That there is present danger for hearth and home from foreigners, ‘ghuspetiyas’.And for constitutional constraints the state cannot directly address it and ‘the people’ are best placed to take care of it.As they did in Gujarat in 2002.
On the eve of general election what further lesson is to be drawn from it by ‘the people’, ‘the guardians of democracy’ as fascists would put it?
That every action has a reaction.And since foreigners have infiltrated into the land and started plotting against the nation,all norms of human decency and civility,all normal feelings of humanity and charity could be thrown to the winds in reacting against the threat.Who knows what lessons are being whispered about within four walls by agents of ‘national prestige and dignity’?For there is a parallel underground media working in ways that are not under the scanner.
Are we still a democracy?Or are we in a twilight zone before a violent dawn breaks over our heads?
This is not mere rhetoric.For there are plenty of signs that we are indeed in a twilight zone.
Consider the state of Parliament.Day after day the opposition parties unrelentingly demanding that the Prime Minister issue a statement on the floor of the Parliament on the situation in Manipur.The Prime Minister does not respond.The honourable Speaker does not intervene to rule that he does so.In stead he goes on adjourning and closing business of Parliament day after day.
Whereas the Constitution demands and all established norms of functioning of the house,in all genuine democratic countries,that the leader of the house and government make such a statement on the floor of the house.Unprecedented in fact.
A situation where the Prime Minister MAY NOT maintain silence.He may keep under wraps certain sensitive facts,but is duty-bound to inform people’s representatives of the government’s understanding of the matter,and the steps it is taking to control it.Yet no such thing occurs.
We are certainly in a twilight zone.Extraordinary.
Hiren Gohain is a political commentator