New Delhi: An eight-member team of Congress led by party chief Mallikarjun Kharge on Tuesday met President Droupadi Murmu appraising her of the situation in Manipur where violence erupted on May 3 and demanded a probe by a high-level inquiry committee headed a serving or retired Supreme Court Judge.
Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters here after submitting the memorandum with the President, Congress General secretary Jairam Ramesh said, “Our delegation went to meet President Murmu over the Manipur issue. The delegation was led by Congress chief Kharge and a four-page memorandum was submitted and demanded what action should be taken.”
He also said that 22 years ago, in June 2001 Manipur was burning and even high court, state Assembly was burnt in the state.
“Then it was BJP’s Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee amd today it is yet again BJP’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The divisive and polarised politics of BJP is responsible for the same,” Ramesh alleged.
Slamming the Prime Minister, Ramesh said, “Modi was busy in Karnataka elections when Manipur was burning since May 3. We have been demanding since then that the Centre should take strict action.”
Ramesh further said that it has given 12 points in its memorandum.
Manipur’s former Chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh, who is also the CLP leader in Manipur said, “It has never happened in the history of Manipur. What is happening in India is unfortunate. This unfortunate incident began on May 3 and many people have died.”
Targeting the government over the violent incidents in Manipur between Maitei and Kuki communities, Singh said, “We don’t know what is the agenda of Centre and state governments. Still firing is reported and today morning it was reported that two more people died. Still most of the dead bodies are kept at hospital mortuary and they are not trying to identify them. People know that this has never happened before.”
The CLP leader said that Modi was busy in Karnataka till May 10 and “we thought that he will look after Manipur after elections were over there but it was only yesterday that Union Home Minister Amit Shah came to Manipur”.
“Don’t know what the hidden agenda of the government is. We want to save the people of Manipur,” he said.
Referring to the 2001 unfortunate incident that took place when Vajpayee was PM and L.K. Advani was his deputy, he said, “After the amendment of the ground rule, people of Manipur felt the integrity of Manipur was broken and that was the reason for the unfortunate incident then. Now again, this (violence) in May this year, such incidents happened again. If we check correctly more than 100 people are missing. Around 2,000 houses have been burnt and gutted. Those staying in their house are taking shelter in relief camps without any supply of essential items.”
“We submitted a memorandum to India’s President to save Manipur. And on Wednesday we will be meeting the Home Minister there in Imphal,” Singh said.
In the four page memorandum, the party highlighted the extraordinary situation confronting Manipur that can be redressed at the earliest and normalcy can be brought in urgently.
The memorandum of the Congress highlighted the details of violence and arson in the state.
The memorandum said, “Every passing day there are reports of firing and villagers have been forced to form self-defence committees with licensed guns to ward off attacks. There are allegations that the large-scale arson is an attempt at ethnic cleansing and there have also been sinister attempts to turn the ethnic conflict into a communal clash with the selected targeting of churches and few temples. But the people of Manipur have largely resisted these designs so far.”
“At this critical juncture, without resorting to blame games, there is a serious deficit in the efforts of the state government to contain the arson and violence. If firm action were taken on May 3 evening to prevent the arson in the hill districts, the situation would not have deteriorated this badly,” it read.
It also said that the central government provided a large number of security personnel to maintain law and order in the state, but the situation is still tense with violence continuing to erupt in few pockets and the entire state has turned into a tinderbox.
“Despite personnel changes in the administration, the people have demonstrated severe trust deficit both in the administration and the law enforcement agencies, which needs immediate redressal. Without fixing this, it would be extremely difficult to bring back normalcy to the state,” it said, adding that the gravity of the situation may be evaluated from the fact that gun fights between the two warring communities and arson of hundreds of houses continued, resulting in the deaths of nearly ten persons, including security personnel, while the Army Chief, General Manoj Pande and Union MoS (Home) Nityananda Rai were present in Manipur.
The memorandum also said that the people of Manipur are feeling a deep sense of hurt that they have been treated as second-class citizens as there were no visits till the May 24 from the Union government, and there has been total and complete silence on the crisis.
The party demanded the letter and spirit of the existing Constitutional provisions related to Manipur must be protected, and the trust between communities should be restored through reconciliation and dialogue and a high-level inquiry commission should be constituted headed by a serving or retired Supreme Court Judge.
The party also demanded firm and sustained efforts must be made to control violence in every part of the state for the immediate restoration of peace, harmony, and normalcy. The Union government must immediately take all possible measures to control and confine all militant groups and ensure that all armed civilian groups be stopped forthwith by taking appropriate action.
The party also demanded that villages near the foothills of both communities must be covered with adequate security so that armed militants do not intrude and disturb peace. The central government should take steps for the rehabilitation of all displaced persons at their original place or in safer areas with suitable security arrangements. Payment of dignified and reasonable compensation for loss of life, property, and all other things concerned to all the victims and affected persons, it demanded.
The party further demanded that there is a need for immediate identification of those who have died and handing their bodies over to the bereaved families for the last rites and a special drive must be carried out to trace many numbers of missing people.