Terra Nullius | India’s Manipur?

Death of 9 Indians in a blast in Manipur gets no media coverage.

Some significant events made news across India yesterday. Four brutal rapists got death sentences each. You-Know-Who became a Prime Ministerial candidate. These news items were endlessly pummelled till there was nothing more left to say except tautological retellings in the evening and the night.

However, something else also happened last evening at 7.45 PM. Something that should have made it to the morning headlines. Nine people—migrant labourers from different parts of India—were killed and many others injured in a bomb blast in Manipur’s Imphal West district. If this blast had taken place in, say Bangalore, Delhi or even Chennai, the media would have milked the situation. Security and defence analysts would have racked their brains for every possibility and politicians would have politicised, condemned, condoned or atleast acknowledged the attack. The government would have risen to offer compensation and the opinion pages would be filled with articles on the matter. But since it was in Manipur, the dreamy northeastern contour of India, one can imagine that the news only made it into a few paragraphs in the morning paper and a few minutes on the television screen.

On the day, when news across the screens is of “national importance”, why is it that we forget about savage blasts in the northeastern parts of our country? On Independence Day too, Manipur saw a bomb blast. It failed to garner much news. In the last few years, northeast India has seen multiple blasts and thousands of cases of rape and  violence. News from that part of India, almost always fails to make it into national headlines. It makes one wonder, why are we so apathetic towards our northeastern states? Neither our union government, mainstream media nor public commentators ever have anything tangible to say or to do about the north east. In a country as diverse as ours, ideally it should be the opposite– we should not struggle to acknowledge, accept and protect certain populations. We should instead allow such stories into the mainstream. But somehow, we have selective passions and choose to apathy over empathy over certain locations and issues in the country. The Manipur blasts unreasonably killed 9 Indians, on a Friday evening. It should have made it into the national headlines this morning.