Manipur: How will Manipur cope up with Internet ban in the wake of ‘Cashless Economy’?


Manipur, once known as the Jewel of India has now turned into a battlefield where no one wins but only the common masses lose. Mobile internet services were temporarily banned in West Imphal on December 18 in Manipur after weeks of unrest in the state post attack on a church, series of bomb blasts and attack on police post between Friday and Saturday.

On Saturday, a group of around 70 members from the banned NSCN-IM surrounded a police post in Nungkao in the Tamenglong district, around 160 km from Imphal, from all sides at around 11:30 am.

They stole nine automatic weapons and injured two policemen. A heavy gunbattle had ensued with security forces; however the terrorists being greater in number overpowered the security forces.

Also on Saturday, the biggest and oldest church The Manipur Baptist Convention (MBC) Centre Church was attacked by a Meitei mob allegedly. At least 100 people tried to enter the church and pelted stones at it. Before they could break open the gate police intervened. There was a brief confrontation between the two groups. They allegedly threatened to attack the MBC and the Tangkhul Babtist Church if they hold Sunday services and Christmas celebrations.

On Friday, three IED explosions took place in Imphal within an hour. The first one was at the residence of a special contractor, Shangreihan Muivah, in the highly congested Fairyland area of Nagaram. Local media said that Muivah was the elder brother of NSCN (IM) supremo Thuingaleng Muivah. Another two IED explosions took place at residences. All three are believed to be Naga leaders.

There have also been incidents of arson and mob attacks against vehicles owned by Nagas in the state. It is reportedly a counter protest against the economic blockade by the United Naga Council (UNC), who demand the release of their president Gaidon Kamei. The UNC condemned the church attack on Sunday.

On Thursday, there were two ambushes at Lokchao and Bungyang area in the newly created Tengnoupal district. There was also an attack on Manipur Police personnel at Noney on Thursday last which left three Manipur Police personnel dead and injuring 14 police personnel.

Tensions rose in Manipur after a blockade by Naga tribal groups has stopped the supply of daily essentials, including medicine. The groups claim that the new districts encroach on ancestral lands of the Naga.

All this took place in just a span of less than a month's time. Can we imagine what the people of the state must have been going through right now? With no respite from the concerned authorities and on that, thanks to the so called 'Cashless Economy' renaissance, Manipur is now in a situation where on one side there lies a cliff and on the other a deep well. There is no middle path and the only thing to do is to be an audience to the ongoing 'Tamasha' that has no end.

No cash, No proper supply of goods and services, ongoing insurgent attack and no security and peace, As 2016 draws to a close, the fate of Manipur is bleak and hope for a better future seems far from reality.

-Compiled by Shweta Raj Kanwar with inputs from International Business Times

Image: Representational image used from internet sources

All opinions expressed in the article are the writer's own and TNT-The Northeast Today may not subscribe to the same views