New Delhi, Feb.18 (ANI): There is a growing feeling among the intellectuals in India that restoration of peace and normalcy in day-to-day life is the need of the hour in Manipur, which has been badly affected by militancy problem. Recently, a seminar was organized in the national capital on the subject.
The seminar "Peace is essential for development in Manipur" witnessed various academicians, thinkers and media representatives from Manipur eager to evolve ways to bring peace in the northeastern state, which is so much disrupted by militant problem.
It is pertinent to mention that Manipur has been facing problems of militancy for a long time now. Violence has affected normal life and hampered economic growth tremendously.
"The leaders of Manipur, including the ones agitating and insurgents, should seek to reason what they are going to achieve if there is insurgency in Manipur. In such condition, there will be no progress in development at all. It will ultimately harm the people of the state. The goal has to be economic emancipation of the people and that is only possible through peace and development," said Bhishm Narain Singh, Former Governor of Assam and former Chairman of North Eastern Counci (NEC).
Participants felt that this seminar should be viewed as the beginning of a process, which should be carried forward to the State in future.
"Eventually, the process will not stop here. One seminar in Delhi is not the solution but this process has to be carried to the ground-level and it has to involve the common Manipuris. For which, some of the ideas generated here can be reflected back to Manipur and the civil society, institutions and the public, and the leadership hold seminars and discussions at the local level so that the climate is created by which the real restoration becomes possible," said Prof. Imtiaz Ahmad, Former Professor JNU, New Delhi.
"Any peace decision, I think because peace by peace, we may say, if there is no conflict there is peace. But there may not necessarily be peace in the absence of conflict. There has to be some basic justice for all the parties involve," said C. Doungel, former minister of Manipur.
Peace is a pre-requisite for development and the civil society can play an important role in restoring it. Militants have indulged in extortion, kidnapping for ransom, and have caused disruption in Manipur. This has created an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty among the people.
Many speakers emphasized the fact that violence is not a solution and should be stopped immediately.
"Peace means: Stop the violence in the state, stop kidnapping, stop killing for no reason. Killing is not the solution. So we must stop killing, violence and Bandh. All these things should be stopped," said Dr. John Angam, Asst. Professor from Delhi University.
"There is need to have a little honesty to look within oneself and if we have that we will go a long way in solving the problems. It is difficult, as people say, but not impossible. But how do we begin this journey? I believe, knowledge and honesty will take us a long way," said Dr. Bimol Akoijam, Associate Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University.
"The problem is that we do not have an interface of actually coming together to talk about what actually people of Manipur actually think about," said K.B. Veio Pou, a Delhi University lecturer.
"It is certainly important that we have such discussions in Manipur as well. But it is equally important to have such conferences, seminars and workshop in Delhi and other places as well. In Delhi, particularly because, national policy-making is done in Delhi, so that's where the importance lies of such seminars. And we can somehow get across the problems to the policy-makers of the country and it is for them to evolve such policies which are in tune with the problems we are encountering (in Manipur)," said Amar Yumnam, Director, Centre for Manipur Studies, Manipur University.
The workshop provided an opportunity to the participants to understand different views expressed by different speakers on crucial and important issues.
The seminar witnessed subjects like how violence affected the education system, health facilities, trade and commerce, tourism and developmental work being discussed.
The participants had consensus that organization of such seminar held significance and must be held.
"Seminars and dialogues of this kind, I think, are very beneficial not just for peace building but for any kind of issues that we talk about. So I think it is very beneficial as it is not somebody's idea but a lot of people give their ideas and views and gives recommendations with suggestions," said Kaikho Ashuni, one participant.
"It's a good platform where not just the people of the northeast states like Manipur can share things about the ground realities of the state, but it is a platform where different people from different parts of the country can come together and share things with people from the northeast States, particularly with Manipur. And bring further development," said Paopithang Kilong, another participant.
The workshop was helpful in charting out a roadmap for establishing peace in the state. By Banda/Kaikho Paphro (ANI)