BJP’s Manipur unit blames own government for failing to curb ethnic violence in state
Top eight office bearers of the party, including the state party chief A Sharda Devi shot off a letter to BJP national president J P Nadda on Friday raising their issues
The Manipur unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party has blamed its own government for failing to curb the ethnic violence in the state in a letter to the party’s national president JP Nadda and highlighted that “people’s anger and protest is turning the tide” against the administration.
The letter to Nadda was sent on Friday and signed by the top eight office bearers of the party, including the state party chief A Sharda Devi. The letter sought a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This letter comes after armed mobs tried to storm the family residence of chief minister N Biren Singh in Imphal East and a BJP MLA’s house in Imphal West.
“Public anger and protest are now slowly turning the tide, putting the sole onus of this prolonged disturbances solely into the failure of the government in dealing with the situation. We know that our government is also working unstopped day and night so as to bring back normalcy in the state,” stated the letter.
The letter calls for revocation of Article 355 and the restoration of the unified command to the CM to bring back confidence in the state government. Article 355 deals with the duty of the union government to protect states against external aggression and internal disturbance.
The letter has requested Nadda’s support in ensuring the immediate resettlement and rehabilitation of the 60,000-odd displaced people and compensation for lost homes, support for the injured and deceased, as promised by the government.
Manipur BJP Chief A Sharda Devi said she had also given a memorandum to the Prime Minister, in addition to Nadda. “We met our party national president and gave a memorandum to him as well. It seems that what the youngsters want is quick action and want us to communicate this to the government, but they feel that we have not done so. I have been working tirelessly since May 3, but in my 30 years of political experience, I have never seen this kind of aggression and hostility towards a party which is running the government,” said Devi. She said that her home had been targeting six times.
The day that her home was targeted on Wednesday, a mob also torched the BJP Khongjom Mandal office in Thoubal district. It was being claimed that the protestors were venting their fury over the alleged kidnapping and killing of two Meitei students in the state.
On Thursday night, September 28, an armed mob tried to attack the ancestral house of Manipur chief minister N. Biren Singh, in Luwangsangbam, within the Heingang assembly constituency of Imphal East. However, the police said the chief minister wasn’t in the house as he lives in his official residence. Later, the police tweeted that the news of the residence being “mobbed” is “false and misleading”.
Meanwhile, government extended the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act or AFSPA by another six months in Manipur barring 19 police stations falling under the Imphal valley and an area that shares its boundary with neighbouring Assam.
Homes of several elected BJP representatives have been targeted since the violence in Manipur started on May 3. These include the homes of Union Minister of State for External Affairs Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, state Cabinet minister Nemcha Kipgen, Manipur PWD Minister Govindas Konthoujam, Uripok MLA Raghumani Singh, Sugnoo MLA K Ranjit Singh, and Naoriya Pakhanglakpa MLA S Kebi Devi.
The ethnic clashes had broken out in Manipur on May 3 between the Meiteis (who are currently not recognised as a scheduled tribe) and mostly Kuki tribes people. It originated after a Tribal Solidarity March called by the All Tribal Students' Union, Manipur (ATSUM) in the Torbung area of Churachandpur district. The march was organised to protest against the recent Meitei demand for inclusion in the scheduled tribe (ST) category.
The demand for including the Meitei community in the ST category has been a matter of contention in Manipur for a while. Proponents argue that it would provide necessary safeguards and opportunities to the Meitei community, while critics—including ATSUM—express concerns about the potential dilution of reservation benefits for the existing tribal groups, including the use of land.