A 10-party Opposition delegation in Manipur met governor Anusuiya Uikey on Friday and requested her to “arrange” a meeting of all political parties with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the earliest to “find a solution” to the ongoing conflict because they consider him to be the “only hope” for establishing peace.
The tone and tenor of the memorandum borders on abject helplessness. There is no mention of the state government, which is headed by the BJP. The 10 parties instead reposed faith in Modi, who is yet to visit Manipur since the conflict erupted between the Kuki-Zo and Meitei communities on May 3, leaving at least 181 dead and over 67,000 displaced.
The memorandum, while drawing attention to the plight of the people of the state and how the peace committee constituted by the Union government “has not done any visible work” to restore peace and harmony in Manipur, said “only” the Centre can offer a “viable solution” to end the conflict, “considering the complexities" involved.
“We consider that the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India is the only hope for bringing peace in the state. Leaders of the ten political parties mentioned herein (memorandum) have resolved to approach you (governor) to facilitate a meeting of all political parties in Manipur with Hon’ble Prime Minister to find a solution to the conflict under his leadership and guidance,” the memorandum said.
The memorandum concluded by requesting the governor to use her “good office” to organise a meeting of all political parties with Modi “at the earliest to chart out a plan for resolving the present conflict in the best interest of all people of Manipur”.
The Raj Bhavan issued a statement saying governor Uikey has assured the delegation that “every possible step for initiating dialogue process will be taken up and she will pursue the Prime Minister for initiating talks with all political parties in the state”.
Uikey told the delegation that she “is in touch" with central leaders and had submitted reports about the unrest while seeking "steps to end it".
The meeting at the Raj Bhavan in Imphal lasted about 45 minutes, following which the parties submitted the two-page memorandum to the governor, Manipur Congress president K. Meghachandra told The Telegraph.
The 10 parties include the Congress, JDU, CPM, CPI, Shiv Sena (UBT), RSP, NCP, Trinamul Congress and the AIFB. There were 14 signatories to the memorandum, including Meghachandra, former chief minister O. Ibobi Singh (Congress), K. Santa Singh (CPM), K. Loken Singh (JDU), L. Sontinkumar Singh (CPI), S. Iboyaima Singh (NCP) and T. Inaocha Singh (Trinamul).
The conflict has “uprooted” the social and economic lives of all sections of the society and there is a “lot of mistrust among” the people, the memorandum said.
The Opposition parties said the more-than-six-month-old conflict had caused “huge” loss of lives and properties and the displacement of more than 60,000 people belonging to both communities. They said the “living condition of the internally displaced people” in relief camps “is inhuman and far from satisfactory”.
The “sporadic” killings, firing and kidnappings, including of students, have left the people tense and caused uncertainty and untold hardships, especially for those living on the periphery/ borders between the hills and the valley, the memorandum said.
The Union government has deployed over 35,000 central armed forces but sporadic incidents and protests continue to hamper peace efforts.