December 8, 2023
**EDS: SCREENSHOT** Imphal: Charred vehicles which were set ablaze following tribal groups’ protests over court order on Scheduled Tribe status, in Imphal, Manipur, Friday, May 5, 2023. (PTI Photo) (PTI05_05_2023_000460B)

In the age of social media, a new tool has emerged – one that can twist the truth, turn lies into reality, weave a whole story around half-truths, and skillfully mix a little truth with a lot of lies to create chaos. It has the power to turn one person into a hero and another into a villain, to make the big seem small and the small seem big, and to create havoc worldwide by seizing the right moment and opportunity. This toolkit represents the amalgamation of human beings, organizations, and technology. Today, it is actively involved in the case of two vulnerable women from Manipur, who were exploited two months ago.

The toolkit’s identity and criteria, as listed above, are now under scrutiny due to the ongoing uproar over the tragic incident in Manipur. Let’s take a closer look at each aspect of the toolkit and its implications on the Manipur case…

In the age of social media, a video is being shared, showing a crowd of men dragging two vulnerable women. It is claimed that these women are from the Cookie community and the perpetrators are from the Meitei community. The authenticity of the video is unquestionable, but it is said to be from May. So, the question arises – why did this video suddenly surface on Twitter after nearly 40-45 days? Was it just a coincidence or a well-planned experiment? It is known that the monsoon session of Parliament commenced and the trading on Twitter about the tragic Manipur incident began on Wednesday. That is, one day before the start of the parliamentary session. So, the timing is worth noting. Could this be seen as a perfect example of raising an issue at the right time and moment? The answer is for you to ponder.

In Manipur, women are openly threatening soldiers and taking off their clothes. The Army itself shared a video to explain its compulsion. It is evident that the Cookie community, especially, has used nudity as a weapon against women. In such a situation, when a woman is stripped naked in one place, how can she maintain her dignity by voluntarily getting naked at another place? Stripping a woman is inhumane, and her voluntary nudity is equally repulsive. Since the toolkit’s job is also to manipulate information, it is essential to clarify that no form of exploitation or degradation of women can be justified or acceptable, regardless of the circumstances. And then, why only women? The dignity of any human being in any situation cannot be compromised or allowed. Hence, the incident involving two women in Manipur is utterly inhuman. But it cannot overshadow the truth about how the Meitei community had ruthlessly attacked the Maithei women, leaving a trail of rape, burning of settlements, and merciless killings. Yet, there was no uproar then.

However, it is essential to understand who the Cookie community is. Are they genuinely the victims of Manipur violence, or are they the original instigators? The Cookie community is intricately connected to Manipur’s history and culture, preserving the essence of Manipuri heritage. It is said that 90% of the land is under the control of this community, even though they represent only 35% of the population. They abandoned Hinduism and embraced Christianity, while also being involved in the opium trade. Mentioning the Cookie community is crucial because it brings to mind the contrasting situations of Hindus and others, thanks to the toolkit. In light of the Manipur violence, the spotlight has now shifted on the suffering of the Cookie community, while the reality of Maithei’s aggression remains buried.

The toolkit works like magic – within moments, a community that had been terrorizing the Maithei community is now pitied worldwide, while the real villain is the Maithei, portrayed as violent and aggressive. This is the power of propaganda, the rare art of distraction. In the country, thousands of riots have occurred, but everyone remembers the Gujarat riots. It’s rare for a day to pass without a Muslim girl being raped by someone or the other, but everyone remembers the Kathua rape case. While countless Hindus were killed by Muslims, everyone remembers the Akhlaq murder. It’s almost as if nobody remembers a day without an incident of rape or violence somewhere, but the ToolKit will forever be associated with the Manipur violence. This is the strength of propaganda – it highlights what they want, hiding the rest under the cloak of big events.

In conclusion, the Manipur case serves as a stark reminder of the impact and consequences of propaganda spread through social media using such ToolKits. While the authenticity of the video remains unquestionable, it is essential not to fall prey to misinformation and manipulation, and to evaluate the context and timing of such incidents critically. The dignity and human rights of any individual or community should not be compromised under any circumstances, and propagandistic tools like this should not be allowed to distort the truth and create chaos in society.

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