The Opposition INDIA coalition has cited in a joint memorandum to Manipur governor Anusuiya Uikey the widespread deaths and destruction in the northeastern state to highlight the “failure” of both the central and state governments in controlling the situation.
The two-page memorandum described the “silence” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the conflict as his “brazen indifference to the violence in Manipur”.
“The failure of both the central and state governments to protect the lives and properties of people of both communities is apparent from the figures of more than 140 deaths, more than 500 injuries, burning of more than 5,000 houses and internal displacement of more than 60,000 people."
“From the reports of incessant firing and arson of houses in the last few days, it is established beyond doubt that the state machineries have completely failed to control the situation for the last almost three months. The condition in the relief camps is pathetic, to say the least,” the memorandum added. Both the Centre and Manipur have BJP-led governments.
The 21-member INDIA delegation submitted the memorandum to the governor a day after their stock-taking visit to four relief camps in Churachandpur, Bishnupur and Imphal where they heard the “shocking stories of anxieties, uncertainties, pains and sorrows” of the victims of the “unprecedented violence by both sides”.
“There is anger and a sense of alienation amongst all communities, which has to be addressed without delay,” the memorandum said.
The clash between the majority Meiteis, living mostly in the six valley districts, and the Kukis, residing predominantly in the hill districts, erupted on May 3 following a solidarity rally in the hills opposing the Meiteis’ demand for Scheduled Tribe status. The situation remains volatile to this day despite the heavy deployment of central security forces.
Laying stress on the need to take care of affected children and students, the INDIA memorandum also pointed out how the “continued” Internet ban was “adding to existing mistrust”. The memorandum requested the governor to “apprise” the Centre of the “complete breakdown of law and order in Manipur so as to enable them to intervene in the precarious situation... to restore peace and normalcy”.
Gaurav Gogoi of the Congress and Sushmita Dev of Trinamul, part of the INDIA delegation, told The Telegraph in separate interactions that the 45-minute meeting with governor Uikey was “very positive” and that they had advocated a visit by an all-party delegation to the state.
“Even now if there is an all-party delegation, we will be happy to contribute to an effective peace process. We told her the situation is still grave, there is a huge amount of distrust among the two communities,” Gogoi said.
“There was a consensus on that. The governor also said there was a need for an all-party delegation (to visit Manipur),” Gogoi added.
The governor “appreciated the role” of the INDIA delegation and that of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi who had visited the state earlier, he said.
The joint visit to Manipur is the first such initiative to any state by the INDIA coalition since it was launched on July 18 in Bangalore to take on the BJP-led alliance in the 2024 general election.
According to Dev, the governor said “the only way” to solve the problem was to “work across party lines because it is a humanitarian crisis”.
“She said this was one situation in the country where people must forget parties and come together. We said we had requested the home minister of India to send an all-party delegation but they did not agree and so we came,” Dev said.
“The governor also said we should at our level try and talk to the CSOs (civil society organisations) to restore peace, adding it is time to give a message to the people of Manipur that we all are with them,” Dev said.
Dev added: “She said we have to rise above politics. We said we agree but you should also advise (home minister) Amit Shahji to rise above politics and bring all the parties to have a talk.”
A Raj Bhawan statement on Sunday said the governor was fully aware of the problems faced by the people and that both the central and state governments were making relentless efforts to restore normality at the earliest.
During her second stock-taking visit to Churachandpur relief camps on Saturday, governor Uikey had met the two women who had been paraded naked and sexually assaulted on May 4 and “handed over a cheque of Rs 10 lakh each to their families”.
Three women MPs in the INDIA delegation, too, had on Saturday met the two women.