PM should call meeting of community leaders of Manipur to find solution to violence: Congress

Congress leader Ajoy Kumar said India is in "danger" if things are not set right in the northeastern state as it shares the international border with Myanmar

Representative image (Photo courtesy: PTI)
Representative image (Photo courtesy: PTI)
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PTI

The Congress on Wednesday demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi call a meeting of community leaders of Manipur in an effort to bring peace in the state hit by ethnic violence.

Congress leader Ajoy Kumar said India is in "danger" if things are not set right in the northeastern state as it shares the international border with Myanmar.

"The Congress party demands that the prime minister and Home Minister immediately start dialogue with leaders of both the communities in Manipur," he told reporters.

He said a peace initiative has to come from the central government, as he expressed concern over extremist sections in both communities controlling the narrative in Manipur.

He lamented that not even a single minister has visited Manipur even after they have an elected government, "which doesn't care".

Kumar alleged that the BJP has shown that they do not care about Manipur and are only interested in grabbing power there.

"When people are dying and houses are burning, there is no one in the government to wipe the tears of the affected people in the trouble-torn state," he said.

"We have a Prime Minister who can go abroad, who can do rallies and when his people of this country are dying, burning, starving, displaced, there is nobody in this government to wipe their tears and it is for all people, all of us, who are present in this part of the country, whether they are journalists, whether they are politicians, whether they are of any political belief. This is one of the biggest tragedies, this is like we are not in India, it's like a Sudan, or a Somalia situation," he said.


He said the party delegation will meet the Congress president and will hand over a report on the situation in Manipur and will seek further guidance.

The Congress leader also sought enhanced compensation of Rs 20 lakh to the next of kin of every dead and Rs 5 lakh to the seriously injured, besides Rs one lakh to all the injured. He also sought early rehabilitation of the affected people as a large number of people are affected and displaced.

Violent clashes broke out in Manipur after a 'Tribal Solidarity March' was organised in the 10 hill districts on May 3 to protest against the Meitei community's demand for the Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

The clashes were preceded by tension over the eviction of Kuki villagers from reserve forest land, which had led to a series of smaller agitations.

Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur's population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley. Tribals -- Nagas and Kukis -- constitute another 40 per cent of the population and reside in the hill districts.

Noting that Manipur is a border state where 7,000 tribals have taken shelter in Mizoram, Kumar said then it is not just a problem of Manipur but also of Mizoram, even as others like Burma and China are also involved.

The central government is urged to take immediate steps to restore peace in the border state as 54,000 people have displaced, 100 persons are dead and communities are not talking to each other, he said.

He also lamented that this is one of the "worst incidents" in the history of independent India where no FIR has been registered even after many people have lost their lives and property.


Kumar said certain agreements were done with the various militant groups in the hills. The Congress Party, he said, is always very clear that "the integrity and the borders of this country is paramount and any steps towards balkanisation is something that we will oppose." He asserted that dialogue between the communities should be initiated and immediate rehabilitation of the affected and confidence building measures be taken.

He also noted that the prime minister should have at least tweeted for bringing peace and normalcy and Home Minister should have visited.

"You should see how many times before elections they visited? Not a single minister has visited, have you seen a tweet on Manipur, by any minister? Have you seen a single tweet, if you have seen, please let me know because I was trying to find it, it's a best kept secret. The BJP central government's action on steps taken for saving Manipur, it is such a big secret," he noted.

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