It is almost 181 days, or roughly six months since the violence has grappled the border state of Manipur. Having less chance of immediate cessation of hostilities, the DG Assam Rifles seems optimistic about the gradual and successful return to normalcy. Along with this, he also raised red flags regarding the selectively leaked videos and heavily weaponised Manipur.
Selectively leaked video incite communities
DG Assam Rifles P.C. Nair, while talking to a news channel said, “I think it will take some time for it to revert to what it was earlier. During such periods, selectively leaked videos or motivated narratives tend to go viral, with individuals manipulating them for personal gain. These represent vested interests from which people must be safeguarded.”
According to him, these selectively leaked videos incite a community towards the other and vice versa. While saying this, he also mentioned the accusations of bias that have been put on Assam Rifles by both the communities Kuki and Meiteis from time-to-time. He opined, “There were instances when people of a community were going en masse to attack the other after being fed with a certain narrative. And here, we stopped them. So obviously, when emotions are running high and they are prevented from doing what they want to, stories get cooked up,” Lt Gen Nair added.”
Apparently, his statements indicates that, for some vested interests, the communities are often fed with half-baked information leading them incited to violence. This has further worsened the situation and the security forces that stop them were labelled as biased out of emotions.
Heavy weaponisation of communities, one of the biggest challenge
Additionally, he pointed out the mindset of the people and heavy weaponisation as one of the most significant problems. According to him, both the communities are heavily weaponised.
Considerably, this is not the first time that he has openly talked about the communities being heavily weaponised. On August 29, when the conflict once again escalated, 8 people including 2 security personnel lost their lives in merely 72 hours. At that time also DG Nair had emphasised that one of the biggest challenges was the “large number of weapons” within both the communities. He had said, “The society has become weaponised. Unless these weapons come back in whatever way they can, this challenge will be the biggest. Today, there’s so much against each other, it’s so corrupted. This needs to be stalled.” Also, he referred to the clashes in Manipur as unprecedented. He highlighted that the situation is new not only to the forces but also to Manipur.
Missing weapons coming back
Nonetheless, in his recent interview with a media channel, DG Assam Rifles also talked about the missing weapons. He said, “The number of weapons that went missing from various police stations are close to 5,000, of which about 1,600 weapons are back today — a positive development, though it will take time before we get all the missing weapons back.”
In response to inquiries regarding the “assurance from the state government” concerning the relocation of Assam Rifles from buffer areas and their substitution with paramilitary forces, Lt Gen Nair stated, “Why would there be a need for such strategies? We maintain a presence in a wide range of areas, including the plains, hills, and the intermediary buffer zones. Our dedicated officers and personnel diligently perform their duties with the utmost professionalism. Our foremost objective is to restore normalcy, and we are steadfast in our commitment to achieving that goal.”