Yet the Manipur government could be passing up an important moment to lay claim to the political voice of the state. The insurgencies of Manipur have always represented competing claims to land, with the Nagas, the Kukis and the Meiteis, among others, constructing different versions of the state. Now, with major Kuki groups having agreed to a suspension of operations and Naga groups like the NSCN(I-M) under a ceasefire, the main surviving strand of the insurgency consists of the Valley-based Meitei groups. The groups that remain seem to have frittered away their ideological capital, functioning more like gangs than political outfits, engaged in petty criminal activities and engrossed in fighting among themselves. In the process, they have lost popular support, a key factor in their survival.
This could be the insurgency’s last gasp, if only the state government would rise to the situation. The court has finally woken up to concerns about alleged extrajudicial killings in Manipur; to establish itself as a responsive political actor, the government should do so as well.