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Modi Claims Situation in Manipur Improving, Attacks Opposition for Politicising Violence

Modi Claims Situation in Manipur Improving, Attacks Opposition for Politicising Violence

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Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, July 3: For the first time since the ethnic trouble started in Manipur in May last year, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday made a detailed reference in the Rajya Sabha about the violence claiming that the situation in the north-eastern state was continuously improving and the efforts were being made to restore complete normalcy.

Replying to the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President for her address to the joint houses of Parliament, Mr Modi amid the Opposition’s allegation that he had “turned his back” to the violence-hit state, launched a scathing attack on the Opposition for “politicising” the sensitive issue, and said the Centre is committed to bringing normalcy in the state. Violence had been declining and schools have reopened in most parts of the state, he told the Rajya Sabha.

In a sharp rejoinder to the Congress, Mr Modi said the state had seen President’s rule 10 times in the past. “Those who are raking the issue had abandoned it. One day, Manipur will reject you,” he said. He added that efforts were being made to ensure a return to complete peace and added that the central and the state governments were interacting with all stakeholders in Manipur to restore peace.

Since May 3 last year, Manipur has witnessed clashes between the two communities Kukis and Meiteis, which has claimed at least 225 lives to date and uprooted around 50,000 people, many of whom are still residing in relief centres.

He said the government was “continuously working to normalise situation in Manipur. Whatever happened in the state…over 11,000 FIRs were filed in Manipur, more than 500 people were arrested. We will have to accept that the incidents of violence are on constant decline in Manipur. Schools, colleges and offices are open in most parts of Manipur today.”

Stating that the union home minister Amit Shah was taking full care of Manipur and stayed there for many weeks to personally oversee the peace operations there, the Prime Minister said, “The Central Government is extending all cooperation to Manipur to tackle the ongoing flood situation in the state. Today, two teams of NDRF have reached Manipur. I warn those who are trying to add the fuel to fire will be rejected by Manipur…Congress had imposed President’s rule in Manipur 10 times.”

Urging the opposition to rise above politics to cooperate to restore peace in Manipur, Mr Modi said, “Those who know the history of Manipur, they know there’s a long history of social conflict in Manipur. No one can deny that the root of this social conflict is very deep. Congress people should not forget, President’s rule had to be imposed 10 times in such a small state. There must have been a reason. It didn’t happen under our government,” PM Modi said, alluding to the long rule of the Congress in Manipur.

The Prime Minister’s remarks come a day after the Lok Sabha saw disruptions and protests by Opposition leaders during his address. The ostensible reason for the Opposition protests was that PM Modi’s speech came after an MP from Manipur was abruptly cut off.

When the PM started speaking, the MPs stepped it up with louder slogans and table thumping. Chants of “Manipur, Manipur” and “Justice for Manipur” rang out, drawing a reprimand from the Speaker. On Monday, the Congress’s Inner Manipur MP Bimol Akoijam had expressed his anguish over the absence of any reference to the ethnic violence-hit state in President Droupadi Murmu’s address.

The ethnic violence that began in May 2023 between the valley-dominant Meitei community and nearly two dozen tribes known as Kukis – a term given by the British in colonial times – who are dominant in some hill areas of Manipur, has killed over 220 people and internally displaced nearly 50,000.

The general category Meiteis want to be included under the Scheduled Tribes category, while the nearly two dozen tribes that share ethnic ties with people in neighbouring Myanmar’s Chin State and Mizoram want a separate administrative zone for them carved out of Manipur.

Speaking on other issues, Mr Modi said the 2024 general elections had shown that the people have rejected propaganda and voted for performance and claimed that the politics of misleading people has been defeated.

He said for his party the BJP, the Constitution was not just a compilation of articles but its spirit and words were very important too. It acts like a lighthouse for governments, he said adding the Constitution Day will disseminate the spirit of the Constitution in the country.

“I can recall that when I had said in the Lok Sabha that we will be celebrating November 26 as Constitution Day…I am amazed that the people who are now jumping with the copy of Constitution (Opposition) had then objected to it, saying what was the need to bring Constitution Day when January 26 was already there.”

Pointing out that for the first time in six decades a government had returned to power after 10 years in the office, Mr Modi said, the “People have blessed us. I am proud of the intelligence of the people because they have defeated the propaganda in these elections (Lok Sabha elections). People of the country have given preference to performance. People have rejected the politics of confusion and have put a stamp of victory on the politics of trust.”

“I used to tell people of the country during the elections that the work we have done in the last 10 years… it is just the appetiser as per our dreams and resolution, the main course has just started.” “They (opposition) have challenged the Indian Constitution. They have outraged spirit of Indian Constitution. They have disregarded the oath they have undertaken.”

He charged that the “(opposition) are not able to digest the mandate given by 140 crore countrymen. Yesterday, all their attempts failed, so today, they did not have the strength to fight that battle. This is why they have left the field (on Opposition’s walkout) and run away.”

“The opposition’s selective attitude over the issue of atrocity on women is very worrying. I want to tell the country through you (Rajya Sabha chairman), I am not speaking against any state or speaking to score any political points.” “A few days ago, I saw a video from Bengal on social media. A woman was being beaten on the road in full public view, no one came forward to help her, rather they were making video.

“And those who consider themselves progressive woman leaders have also remain mum only because they have relations with a particular party or a state… this has not only hurt the people of the country, but our mothers and sisters have been pained much more by this.”

Stating that the third term for the BJP-led NDA was for making India a developed and self-reliant nation, Mr Modi said, the verdict was to make India the world’s third largest economy from the current fifth. Taking a pot-shot at the Congress for its statement that the country was bound to grow irrespective of who was in power, he said “Those who ran the government on the auto-pilot mode can only make such statements.”

Meanwhile, responding to Mr Modi’s charges against the opposition and his way of interpreting the recent election verdict, the Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said 140 crore Indians conveyed the same message to him, as the phrase he used for the Congress, in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections.

Hitting back at “tumse na ho payega” [you are not up to it] jibe of Mr Modi at Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Rahul Gandhi, Mr Kharge said: “The way you mentioned ‘Tumse Na Ho Payega’ in your speech of two hours and twenty-four minutes, 140 crore Indians have said the same thing to your government in this election. The farmers who provide food to us voted against your false promises of ‘doubling their income’ and said ‘Tumse na ho payega’”.

Mr Kharge added that crores of youths who are still wandering pillar to post in search of jobs after Mr Modi’s promise of providing two crore jobs every year have also said tumse na ho payega as have the Dalits, tribals, backward classes, and minorities who voted against the BJP.

“Every victimised woman in the country, troubled by the constant violence, oppression and character assassination, while voting against the ‘Beti Bachao’ advertising slogan, said tumse na ho payega. Every member of every lower and middle class family in the country voted against your slogan of acche din [good days] and said tumse na ho payega,” Mr Kharge added.

Millions of harassed and devastated small traders voted against the BJP’s slogan of creating a $5 trillion economy, he said, while adding: “Modiji, you have insulted the mandate. Understand the sentiments of the people. Give up dictatorship!”

In another post, the Congress chief recalled that the Prime Minister, who has called the Congress a “parasite”, had used the same word in Parliament on February 8, 2021, to refer to farmers who feed the entire country. “You insulted the year-long struggle of the farmers for their rights. In front of that, your dictatorial government had to bow down and withdraw the three anti-farmer black laws. Today, you have used the same word for the Congress party. This is not an abuse for the Congress party. It is a matter of pride for us to sacrifice our lives for nation building along with the farmers,” the Congress president said.

“To save the values of democracy in this country, the Congress is ready to face every abuse from the BJP. The decency of our leaders and their respect for the Constitution and institutions should not be construed as our weakness. The lesson of truth and non-violence shown by Gandhiji runs in our veins,” he further said.



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