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A few days ago, Major General (Retd.) GD Bakshi broke down on a news show discussing the criticism of the government’s diktat to universities on hoisting the national flag. He was so moved after the debate that he wrote a Facebook post about how he felt.

Now a man from Manipur, Chinglen Kshetrimayum, has written an open letter to the general, expressing how he feels. He has some arguments to make about what it is to be an Indian and the much debated Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

Hello Sir,

My name is Chinglen Kshetrimayum. I am from Manipur and I am not a threat to anyone. I studied in Sainik School, Imphal for five years and I have hoisted the Indian flag. I used to proudly sing our national anthem (even though there is nothing about Manipur or the Northeast.)

Once when we were in class 9, during the morning assembly, it was announced that our Diwali vacation would begin soon after the assembly concluded. So we were happy and at the end, when we sang the national anthem; we sang very loudly.

My father, waiting outside the school gate, was surprised to hear students singing so loudly and beautifully. He asked me if there was some good news. I said we could go home now itself. Like me, he too was happy.

When I was in Manipur, I thought I was an Indian. After coming to other parts of India, I realised I am less. Suddenly, my very existence became a threat to others. They were ready to wipe me out.

But the thing is, I happen to have been born in a place that lies on the political map of India. So, obviously, I thought of myself as a citizen of this country.

That’s when I slowly started realising that most people don’t like diversity. They think whoever is different from them, whether it is their food habits, dressing sense, hair style, or looks, is a threat. They want only certain types of things to be followed. They think that only their identity should be accepted.

General Bakshi, at Manipur University, there is something more than your national flag. There is an Assam Rifles camp inside the university campus. So don’t worry, you are winning. There are also two Assam Rifles camps on both sides of my town. So I am pretty much under your control.

Well, let me tell you something: You all are animals. Animals who live in jungle – where the only rule is “might is right”. The only reason you are putting laws like AFSPA in the Northeast or Kashmir is because you are strong.

Tell me Sir, if you say that the situation is not right to remove AFSPA, then when will the right situation come? Today, tomorrow, or after 100 years? I don’t think you have the answer. What according to you is “the right situation”? Is it killing all the men so that you can rape every woman?

You cried during the debate and Smriti Irani felt sad and called you. What about a woman who has been fasting for more than 15 years simply asking for the AFSPA to be removed – an Act that gives the armed forces the right to kill anyone on mere suspicion and doesn’t even give the people right to go to court.

The reason why people are against the Indian flag here is that you can identify with the Indian flag and feel proud about being Indian, whereas when we identify ourselves as Indians, we only get racist comments. So, naturally, we feel bad and you also know that. That’s why, to control us, you allow draconian laws like AFSPA.

Sir, if you are against the British for passing laws like Armed Forces Special Power Ordinance, then why are you upholding a more dangerous law to be used against yourself, against us? And, you expect us to keep quiet.

Any human being would react against this. And when we react against you, you brand us as a terrorist. That’s why I say you all are animals. Nothing less; animals who use only physical power to keep people under control.

If you say that raising one’s voice against the Indian Army or the national flag is anti-india, then I think the whole of Manipur and Kashmir is anti-India. If so, what the hell is Indian Army doing in the land of Manipuris and Kashmiris, and what are Manipur and Kashmir doing on the political map of India?

Also, Arnab Goswami, you host a debate and ask a “yes” or “no” question and you want them to say only “yes”. If you want them to answer whatever you want to hear, what is the point of hosting a debate in the first place?

I don’t believe in making long speeches or forcing people listen only to me. So I will wait for your reply.

From,

A human being

#Northeast, #Kashmir, #AFSPA, #GD Bakshi

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