'I.N.D.I.A. for Manipur': all-night protest vigil outside parliament over the crisis
Clustering around the statue of Mahatma Gandhi, members of the Opposition parties sat in solidarity over the suspension of AAP's Sanjay Singh from the Rajya Sabha too
Leaders of Opposition parties banded together as INDIA (Indian Nationalist Developmental Inclusive Alliance) continued their protest against the Parliament's silence on Manipur on the premises of the parliament overnight from July 24 to the early hours of July 25.
They were also there to express solidarity with and protest the suspension of AAP leader Sanjay Singh, as well as continue their demand that Prime Minister Narendra Modi make his statement and open a longer discussion on Manipur in both Houses of Parliament.
Senior leaders expect the protest, with the members sitting in vigil by the Gandhi statue, will continue on Tuesday as well.
This protesting leaders held black placards saying 'INDIA for Manipur', as they sat in discussion. sharing poetry rueing the horrific state of affairs. Indian National Congress MP Imran Pratapgarhi recited a nazm of his own composition for Manipur.
The last time an all-night protest was organised by Opposition leaders was in July last year, when 20 suspended Rajya Sabha members started a 50-hour relay protest inside the Parliament complex.
AAP MP Sanjay Singh, who was suspended from the Rajya Sabha for the remainder of the monsoon session, was also present—in fact, he never really left the parliament building; his wife brought him his overnight essentials to allow him to continue at the site.
"While the move is to protest Singh's suspension," a senior leader said, "it is also a protest demanding the PM speak on Manipur, whether in Rajya Sabha or Lok Sabha."
Leaders of the INDIA combine have been adamant on their demand that Modi open discussion on the violence in Manipur under Rule 267 and refused to be rebuffed by the BJP-led government's efforts to placate them with promise of a shorter session on Manipur under Rule 176.
Sources said that defence minister and deputy leader of the Lok Sabha Rajnath Singh had called up Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, DMK leader T.R. Balu and TMC leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay.
The INDIA leaders had put out their demand for the prime minister's statement on the violence in Manipur as early as July 16, well ahead of the start of the monsoon session.
With inputs from PTI