As the second phase of indefinite total bandh called by the Joint Co-ordination Committee (JCC) entered day 4, denizens of Dimapur anticipate an early solution to the current impasse between tribal hohos and the state government for normalcy to return in the city.
Life in the city has come to a standstill except for few hours of respite in the morning and evening during which the city emerges jostling with hurried activities. During bandh hours, families spend the languorous days indoors while the children engage themselves with games and other forms of entertainment. However, beneath the uneasy calm that had engulfed the city, Dimapurians seem to be running out of patience as uncertainty looms large over the outcome of the present imbroglio.
The constant shifting of political undercurrents in the government has also added more confusion among the public. Popular opinion among Dimapurians meanwhile continues to change each passing day and many have started questioning the ‘purpose’ of the bandh.
As normalcy become more and more elusive due to the bandh and essential commodities become scarce despite several relaxations in the bandh, the initial resentment towards the government seem to be slowly fading and a new ‘anti-bandh’ voice seem to be gaining currency in the city.
“My daughter who is appearing HSSLC exams is having a harrowing time due to the bandh. This is definitely not a conducive environment for examinations. Harassment and eve teasing by volunteers while appearing exams is also another grave concern,” said a worried mother.
“The leaders behind the bandh must now explore other options for the movement. We cannot continue to suffer like this,” she added.
Government offices have been rendered non-functional since the bandh commenced and as a consequence, many haven’t received their salaries. The circulation of money in the city’s economy has also decreased substantially as banks remain closed.
Public anger that was ab initio directed towards the government now seems to have become multi directional. Though wary to point finger at the bandh enforcers, a resident of Duncan Basti said, “Zeliang is to be blamed for his adamant stand. Having said that, it is important to understand that the bandh has gone on for quite some time now and our plight keeps increasing.”
A government servant who was yet to receive his salary opined that the leaders behind the bandh should now adopt ‘fast unto death’ protest Mahatma Gandhi or Anna Hazare.
With reports of volunteers’ highhandedness surfacing in the media and some videos of volunteers’ beating up a pedestrian doing rounds on social media, citizens have expressed fear that the city was plunging into lawlessness. With movement of state security forces being restricted during bandh hours, safety and security has become an issue of grave concern among the Dimapurians.
Also, collection of money by bandh enforcers through respective tribes to augment the movement has received mixed response from the public. Many maintained it was necessary and for a greater cause while some expressed that it will just add more woes to their sufferings.
“I haven’t received my salary. I am yet to pay my bills and my ration has exhausted. Though the markets open for some hours, with no cash I cannot even buy essentials for my family leave alone donate for the bandh!” informed one distressed father adding that he even had to cut down the supplement food of his infant due to the financial crisis.
As uncertainty looms large over the current impasse, the plight of the public continue to increase and Dimapurians wait with the hope that a logical conclusion will be arrived at and normalcy will once again return in the city.