Manipur is no Nanny State – but, it can be a heckuva dangerous Mommy State

A group of mothers…have been going around the state threatening couples and restaurant owners to “mend their ways” on what goes therein. Apart from sticks, the “imas” as they are known come armed with camerapersons — all the better to shame the youngsters with. Their parents are informed, sometimes the police called in, and in most cases, an agreement enforced to ensure there is a marriage as early as possible…

I wonder when the Kool Aid Party will get round to this?

The drive against “seedy restaurants” was launched on March 19. On the 26th, they “apprehended a couple red-handed” at an Imphal eatery. The Lup didn’t just object to the relationship, but that the woman was a Meitei (Manipuri Hindu) divorcee seeing a Mayang (non-Manipuri outsider), who was a personnel of the 33rd battalion of the Assam Rifles. Their photographs were given to the local press and the case given to the police for “investigation”…

Manipur DGP Ratnakar Baral said this form of social vigilance was fine as long as it remained within the law, and adds that his hands are tied. “This is the kind of moral policing which takes place in Manipur. We have received no complaints from anyone… so there is no question of us stopping this campaign. Of course, if we received a complaint, that would be different,” Baral told The Indian Express…

“We have found scores of young people at these seedy restaurants doing what they shouldn’t be doing. After we locate them, we first give them a warning and then call in their parents. We ensure that the families agree to the couple being married. Pre-marital sex is not acceptable,” Laishram Memma says.

Such is the clout of women’s groups in Manipur that, the Lup says, not a single family contacted by them has so far refused the marriage diktat.

In the case of extramarital affairs, the Lup extends no such “niceties” — going straight to the press and police. Memma calls “rising” extramarital affairs “a very dangerous trend” and attributes it to TV serials and movies, especially from South Korea. “Korean cinema and serials are foreign — it is not our culture. We cannot ban Korean TV but what we can monitor the behaviour of our children,” she says…

…Of course no one says anything to us on our faces. But if we find anybody speaking against the drive or against us too, we will go trash their places,” she says…

Next on Lup’s target list are the other cause for “rampant immorality” — mobile phones. “We will be announcing a second drive soon. We haven’t figured out how exactly to go about it,” says Memma.

The mentality of Holy Gangs hasn’t changed much since the days of Hitler’s Brown Shirts. Easy enough to laugh about them when they’re part of some other country’s culture – but, please don’t kid yourself into thinking they haven’t existed here in the past – or will not sometime in the near future.

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