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Religious leaders must act as peacemakers: Ratan Thiyam

The theatre legend further appealed to the government at the centre to show their genuine commitment and empathy during this time of crisis in the state.

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Imphal: Eminent theatre personality Dr. Ratan Thiyam has appealed to the religious leaders of Manipur to take a pro-active role in restoring peace and stability in the state.

Speaking to DIPR, Dr. Thiyam said, “Considering the grave situation that Manipur is currently facing, all religious leaders from temples, Masjids, Churches, etc. should try to find out a means to restore peace. I urge them to help the government bring both parties to the conflict to the negotiating table.”

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The theatre legend further appealed to the government at the centre to show their genuine commitment and empathy during this time of crisis in the state. He said, “It is my earnest request to the Centre to continuously send different ministers one after another to study the situation and understand the ground reality.”

He further said that common people are facing different hardships, and they are immensely affected by the price rise and scarcity of essential commodities. At such a critical juncture, all the learned experts of the government should deliver their best to find a way out of the present crisis, he observed. 

Dr. Ratan Thiyam also appealed to all the ministers and MLAs to jointly visit the affected places and listen to the grievances of the people. He also observed that they should assure them that the state government is there to help them. 

Stating that the current situation arises from discord between two communities, the noted theatre personality appealed to both sides to calm down and come to the negotiating table. The possibility of such an arrangement should be seriously looked upon by the state government, added the theatre personality.

Dr. Ratan Thiyam also expressed his disappointment over the weakness of the state’s intelligence network. He said, “Had the intelligence been alerted about the violence in time, the present situation could have been avoided”. 

He further made his appeal to all the people of Manipur, who belong to the 34–35 plus communities and who have been living together as brethrens since the last hundreds and thousands of years, to please intervene in this critical scenario in Manipur’s history to find a solution to bring peace again. He added that the clash occurred due to misunderstandings between just two communities, and both sides will surely listen and act when the rest of the communities intervene.

Ratan Thiyam is an Indian playwright and theatre director, the winner of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1987, and one of the leading figures of the “theatre of roots” movement in Indian theatre, which started in the 1970s. He is known for writing and staging plays that use ancient Indian theatre traditions and forms in a contemporary context. A former painter, and proficient in direction, design, script, and music, Thiyam is often considered one of the leading contemporary theatre gurus. He worked as chairperson of the prestigious National School of Drama from 2013–2017.

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