PM Modi breaks his silence on the North-East, but not a word yet on Manipur
The internet ban continues in Manipur. The peace committee is a non-starter (both Kukis and Meiteis object to it). And some Kuki militants claim they helped the BJP win elections
Kukis, Meiteis, scholars and students from Manipur have been asking why the Prime Minister is still silent on Manipur. Posters and placards have come up on the ‘missing’ prime minister and asking why he is still silent.
The Indian National Congress yesterday pleaded with the prime minister to break his silence and appeal for peace in the state. The party also urged the prime minister to visit the state and take stock of the situation, call an all-party meeting and facilitate the visit of an all-party team to the beleaguered state.
“We have heard 100 episodes of the PM’s Mann Ki Baat. Let there be now at least one episode of 'Manipur Ki Baat',” said Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Jairam Ramesh.
Since then, officially over 100 people have lost their lives, 50,000 people have been displaced, and a bulk of the 4,000 weapons and huge quantities of ammunition looted from state armouries has not been recovered. Thousands of Kukis have fled from the state into neighbouring Mizoram, Meghalaya and Nagaland, and sporadic attacks continue. Some sections are demanding the withdrawal of Assam Rifles from the state. Neither Meiteis nor Kukis are happy with the composition of the peace committee; both are reluctant to talk.
Also Read: Why Manipur is Burning
The prime minister did break his silence today on 13 June, some 41 days after ethnic clashes began in the state. But the PM only spoke to pat his own back and laud his government’s initiatives in the north-eastern states.
“Our Northeast, with its unique cultures and dynamic people, is witnessing an unprecedented pace of progress. From infrastructural developments to enhanced connectivity, we are unlocking the immense potential of this region,” tweeted the PM.
Internet is suspended in Manipur since 3 May 2023 and there is no certainty that it will be restored on 16 June (the date of the last extension), given the tense situation still prevailing there. It is not clear how many in Manipur would have seen the tweet above, but people from Manipur living outside the state reacted with some anguish.
Why are civilians in Manipur still suffering for over 40 days? Are the lives of Manipuri civilians cheap, sir, or is everything so normal that the rest of India can ignore what is happening in Manipur, one of them asked under a cloak of anonymity on social media.
Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, however, claimed that "under the supervision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi", the Centre has "already sanctioned Rs 100 crore package for necessary and immediate relief along with 30,000 [metric tonnes of] rice to be distributed to the affected people…"