10 Questions: Will the PM clear the mist on Manipur, and answer these today?
Prime Minister Modi is expected to speak in Parliament on Manipur, which Home Minister Amit Shah agreed is caught in a dance of virulent hate ('hinsa ka tandav')
On Wednesday, 9 August, Union home minister Amit Shah in Parliament appealed to both Meiteis and Kukis ‘with folded hands’ to join a dialogue for peace in Manipur.
Shah appealed to the Lok Sabha to adopt a resolution for peace in Manipur and reiterated that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been so concerned and so hands-on with the situation in the state that he had woken up the home minister twice in the last three months, once at 4 am and once at 6 am.
Before meeting Parliament in the morning, the home minister met a delegation of the Indigenous Tribal Leaders' Forum of Manipur, which had flown to Delhi from Aizawl in Mizoram. The delegation also met the director of the Intelligence Bureau and a joint director in the IB. The home minister assured the delegation that the Manipur Police would venture into the hills only accompanied by Central forces and not on their own.
The prime minister has been conspicuously missing from the House during the debate on the no-confidence-motion over the last two days. Given the level of disengagement seen so far, there are slim chances of his revealing or stating anything new on Manipur in the Lok Sabha today too.
However, there are a number of questions that are going begging for an answer. Here are 10 of them:
2. Why has the government not fielded its MPs from Manipur and the North-East to speak on the situation in Manipur in the Lok Sabha? (Even Union minister R. Ranjan Singh, whose house in Imphal was set on fire by mobs, has not spoken yet in Parliament.)
3. Given the glaring failure of chief minister N. Biren Singh to maintain law and order even in the state capital, and the public allegations of complicity levelled against him, what has prevented the government from dismissing him and appointing another MLA as chief minister?
4. Has the Union government made use of Article 355 of the Constitution to take over the responsibilities of law and order in the state?
5. Why is the government, both state and Centre, missing from the relief camps and aid efforts in the hills and in Mizoram? (Delegations visiting the camps have been reporting that the camps are being run by churches, civil society organisations and the Mizoram government.)
6. How many Union ministers have visited Manipur in the last three months? Why has home minister Amit Shah failed to return to the state, despite his promise to do so within 15 days?
7. Is the government offering any compensation to those who have lost their kin and homes to communal violence?
8. What are the steps being taken to bring all sides to the table? Is the government talking to the different groups separately, and to what effect?
9. Has the government fixed responsibility for the ‘loot’ of arms and ammunition from the armouries in Imphal? Has any action been taken?
10. What action is the government contemplating against the hate speech and fake videos emanating from Manipur? Is the government going to allow members of the Meitei Leepun and Arambai Tenggol groups to speak the language of ‘annihilation’? Why has no action been taken against them so far?