Manipur Mann Ki Baat

Imphal, June 19: In a striking act of defiance, residents of Manipur took a stand on Sunday by boycotting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s monthly radio program, Mann Ki Baat, and emphatically stomping on transistor sets in marketplaces. This protest aimed to express their deep discontent with Modi’s silence regarding the ongoing violence and chaos unfolding in their state.

Since May 3, Manipur has been grappling with a relentless wave of violence, leading to the loss of at least 110 lives and displacing a staggering 60,000 individuals. However, the Prime Minister has not addressed this issue, fueling frustration and anguish among the affected population.

The radio protests occurred simultaneously at Singjamei market in Imphal West district and Kackching market in Kackching district, situated around 48 kilometers apart. It coincided with the broadcast of the 102nd episode of Mann Ki Baat, during which Modi discussed the Emergency period but deliberately avoided any mention of the Manipur crisis, which had already entered its 49th day.

At Singjamei, women lined both sides of NH2, brandishing posters denouncing Modi and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The posters bore powerful statements such as “I oppose Mann Ki Baat,” and “Shame Mr. Modi. Not a single word of Manipur at Mann Ki Baat,” “No to Mann Ki Baat, Yes to Manipur Ki Baat,” and “Mr. PM Modi, No More Drama at Mann Ki Baat.”

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The protesters made their discontent tangible as one man forcefully smashed a transistor set in the middle of the road, followed by a woman who replicated the act. Subsequently, two men and a woman further expressed their anger by stomping on the broken transistor sets, symbolizing their collective frustration with Modi and the ruling BJP.

Similar sentiments reverberated through the atmosphere at Kakching market, where a group of women protesters set fire to four to five transistor sets in the middle of the road while raising slogans against the Modi government and the BJP.

Binalakshmi Nepram, the convenor of the Northeast India Women Initiative for Peace and the founder of the Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network, sent a text message conveying her perspective on the matter. She remarked, “Mann Ki Baat has become Maun ki Baat as far as Manipur is concerned.”

Nepram, hailing from Manipur herself, said that the silence of the Prime Minister amid the loss of over a hundred lives and the destruction of thousands of homes has deeply wounded the people of Manipur and Northeast India.

She posed a crucial question to the nation: “Why is the PM, known for his proactive Northeast India policy, suddenly quiet?” Nepram emphasized that this concern should resonate with the entire country, extending beyond the boundaries of Manipur.

The protests in Manipur stand as a resounding statement, illustrating the grievances of a community grappling with immense suffering and demanding acknowledgment and action from the highest levels of leadership.