NEW DELHI, JUNE 1: Senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily on Thursday termed the situation in violence-hit Manipur “explosive” and held the BJP-led State Government as well as the Union Home Ministry responsible for the “mayhem” there.
The former Union Minister attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for being busy campaigning in Karnataka rather than trying to resolve the conflict which was primarily ethnic in nature.
The Prime Minister was then busy inaugurating the new Parliament building instead of immediately intervening into the crisis, he said in a statement.
“The explosive situation in Manipur is threatening the unity of the State and the country. This also reflects serious trust deficit not only in the State administration led by BJP but also the laxity on the part of the Union Home Ministry”, Moily said.
The Home Minister should take a cue from the statement of Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan that the turmoil was due to “ethnic clashes” and not an anti-insurgency issue, and proceed to deal the situation for reconciliation.
“The Home Minister’s visit to Imphal has totally failed to understand the ground realities and reflects the failure to understand the situation in a proper perspective. The authorities need to respond to the undeniably complex situation by addressing the concerns of local communities impartially and with maximum restraint from the security forces”, Moily said.
The State Government and the Union Home Ministry are squarely responsible for the present “mayhem” in Manipur, he alleged.
Ethnic clashes, which have claimed over 75 lives, first broke out in Manipur after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts on May 3 to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
The violence was 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% of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley. Tribals Nagas and Kukis constitute another 40% of the population and reside in the hill districts.
Around 140 columns of the Indian Army and Assam Rifles, comprising over 10,000 personnel, besides those from other paramilitary forces had to be deployed to bring back normalcy in the Northeastern State.