Opposition parties accuse PM Modi of ignoring feelings of people of Manipur | India News

NEW DELHI: Leaders of 10 opposition parties accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday of ignoring the feelings of the people of Manipur by not according an audience to them and wondered if the BJP governments at the Centre and in the northeastern state had any hidden agenda in not showing the resolve to restore peace in the violence-hit state.
Former Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh, who held the post for 15 years, told a press conference that the leaders from the 10 parties camping in Delhi are not begging for anything, but seeking restoration of peace for which they have sought an audience with the prime minister.
Addressing a joint press conference at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters here, the leaders, led by Congress’s Ajoy Kumar, Singh and those from the JD(U), CPI(M) and other parties, said they were disappointed as Modi “ignored” them and not even spared even 10 minutes for them before leaving for the United States.
The leaders wanted to meet Modi, but had to hand over a memorandum to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) as they failed to meet the prime minister before he left for the US on a state visit.
Singh said it was the failure of Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh as he himself has admitted that “it was an intelligence and administrative failure”.
“If the state and central governments want, the situation can be normalised within two-three days or at the most, a week,” he said, adding that while Union Home Minister Amit Shah visited Manipur 26 days after ethnic clashes were reported from the state and stayed there for three days, it did not help restore peace.
Singh said they are not concerned about who visits the state but are only bothered about restoration of peace in Manipur, which has been burning for the last month and a half.
“Is there any hidden agenda or secret agenda of the BJP government at the Centre or in the state?” the former chief minister asked, wondering if the governments can implement the policy of disarming militants to initiate a process of peace and dialogue.
“Why are they neglecting Manipur? Is there any hidden agenda? Why is Manipur still burning?” he asked.
The leaders also released copies of the memorandum addressed to the prime minister.
The memorandum said more than 150 innocent lives were lost, over 1,000 people injured, more than 5,000 houses burnt down and more than 60,000 people displaced in Manipur. Hundreds of churches and temples have also been burnt down.
Alleging that it was the “BJP’s politics of divide and rule” that had led to the present crisis, the memorandum referred to a demand of 10 MLAs, including two state ministers, belonging to the Kuki tribe for a “separate administration” for Kukis.
The memorandum warned against any such move to divide Manipur.
“Both the BJP governments at the Centre and in the state are to be held responsible for having failed to contain the ongoing violence in the state. The Union government and the state government are ambiguous about invoking Article 355 of the Constitution in Manipur,” the memorandum said.
“Stoic silence of the prime minister over the ethnic violence, which has claimed many lives and created havoc for thousands of citizens in Manipur, sends a clear message of indifference to the people of Manipur,” it added.
Holding the chief minister responsible for the violence, the memorandum alleged that he was “the architect of the present ethnic violence because of his arbitrary actions”.
Had he taken preventive and prompt actions, the ethnic clashes could have been averted, the 10 opposition parties said while pointing out that the chief minister had himself admitted publicly that there were security lapses and intelligence failure on the part of his government.
“He should be held solely responsible for the present crisis,” the memorandum demanded.
The signatories to the memorandum included leaders from the Congress, JD(U), CPI, CPI(M), TMC, AAP, Forward Bloc, Nationalist Congress Party, Shiv Sena and RSP.
Janata Dal (United) leader Nimai Chand Luwang said the chief minister must resign or be removed due to his utter failure to handle the situation in Manipur and peace will be restored within days.
“Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to Manipur delivered no result. There is no end to violence and chaos. Listen to the leaders of opposition parties in Manipur shed light on the worsening law-and-order situation in the state,” he said.
Congress leaders, led by Singh, also met Congress Legislature Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi at her residence here in the afternoon.
Kumar said it was strange that someone like Manoj Muntashir Shukla, known for writing “dirty dialogues” for Bollywood film “Adipursh”, could meet the prime minister without any appointment for 45 minutes, but leaders from the violence-hit state, including even those from the BJP, were not able to get an audience with him.
The opposition leaders, who have been camping here for the last 10 days with the hope of meeting Modi, said they and the people of Manipur have been deeply disappointed as the prime minister had no time for them.
There is a need to build confidence among the communities. Restoration of peace and harmony is the most urgent requirement in the state, they said.
“We came here to meet the honourable prime minister, but he declined the meeting. We are very very disappointed,” Manipur Congress chief Keisham Meghachandra Singh said.
The parties urged the prime minister to immediately intervene and resolve the ethnic crisis in the northeastern state and said Manipur being an extraordinarily diverse society, peace, harmony and reconciliation among all communities is the need of the hour.
They also called upon Modi to address the grievances of every community in the state with sensitivity. All armed groups must be disarmed immediately, they said, adding that there should be immediate cessation of firing and adequate security measures should be put in place.

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