New Delhi: Opposition MPs on Sunday, July 30, said the people of Manipur have lost confidence in Chief Minister N Biren Singh and asked why he has not been sacked till now, as their delegation returned here after a two-day visit to the violence-hit northeastern state.
The MPs of the opposition INDIA bloc asserted that if the ethnic conflict in the border state, which is lingering for around three months, is not resolved soon, it may create security problems for the country.
They alleged the Centre and the state were not taking any strong steps to deal with the “very serious” situation there.
“There is fear and uncertainty in the minds of the people of Manipur. The situation in Manipur is very serious,” Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury told reporters at the airport here.
“Everyone, be it Meitei or Kuki, registered their protest against the chief minister. No action has been taken against him. People have no confidence in the government,” she said.
TMC leader Sushmita Dev said, “I think there is a complete loss of faith in the Manipur chief minister (N Biren Singh). Common people and masses are no longer supporting the Manipur CM.” The members also flagged the “appalling” conditions in the relief camps and the widening gulf between the Meitei and Kuki communities, with Chowdhury saying: “It seems as if two countries have been formed”.
Earlier in the day, the delegation of 21 MPs of the Indian Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) called on Manipur governor Anusuiya Uikey at Raj Bhavan in Imphal and submitted a memorandum on their observations.
Union Minister Anurag Thakur expressed the hope that the opposition MPs who have visited the state will participate in a discussion on the Manipur issue on Monday.
“We have been ready for discussion from the first day but the opposition has been running away… Now after returning from Manipur, I again request them to participate in the discussion and share their experience,” he said.
“The opposition has a lot of experience in these situations. In the past when they were in power and Manipur would burn for months due to ethnic violence, there was no visit or statement in Parliament from the home minister or the prime minister,” Thakur said in a swipe at the opposition MPs.
The Manipur issue has rocked Parliament’s Monsoon session with the opposition alliance pressing for a statement from the prime minister before a debate.
While the opposition has now given notice for a no-confidence motion in Lok Sabha, the government has defended its handling of the Manipur situation, stressing that it has been more proactive than the governments of the past when ethnic violence had erupted in the state.
Sources said the MPs delegation will brief INDIA parties’ floor leaders in the Parliament building at 9:30 AM Monday.
“Uncertainty is looming large in Manipur. Thousands of people have been dislodged from their homes. They do not know when they will return to their homes. Farming has come to a halt,” Chowdhury said.
“I do not know how the division between the Kukis and Meiteis will be bridged. No strong steps are taken by the government, be it the central government or the state government,” he said.
Narrating the plight of the people of Manipur, Chowdhury said people do not have food and medicines in their homes, there is no facility for education in schools and college students are unable to continue their studies.
Hitting out at the Centre, he said no efforts are being made to end the conflict between the two communities there and said it is not just a law and order issue.
“The government has turned a blind eye to everything. I want to alert the government that if this is allowed to continue, the matter will completely go out of hand.
“There is no trust between the two communities and it seems as if the two countries have been formed, Kuki land and Meiteis’ land,” he said.
“We met the governor. She said the situation is bad and all parties must get together and find a solution but the government makes no effort,” Chowdhury said.
“The Manipur issue has turned into a community conflict. People have lost confidence in the chief minister but he is still sitting on the chair. Why has he not been sacked?” he said.
Asked about the Centre looking to bring in a bill to replace the Delhi services ordinance, Chowdhury alleged that the government is trying to do this to divert attention.
“The biggest problem in the country is in Manipur,” he said.
RJD MP Manoj Jha said there is a need to restore peace immediately.
“This is what we told the governor also. We have appealed for restoring the relationship between communities. The situation is grave and dangerous. The country has to say in one voice that this is not just personal but collective pain of the people,” he told reporters at the airport.
Congress deputy leader in Lok Sabha Gaurav Gogoi, who was also part of the delegation that went to Manipur, said the prime minister should have led the all-party delegation to Manipur but “he is missing”.
“The NDA is missing in Manipur, all their ministers are here in Delhi and giving statements instead of going there and seeing the situation on the ground.
“The situation on the ground is really sad and we have come back with a wounded heart,” Gogoi said.
The MPs expressed concern over the condition of relief camps.
There is no privacy for women about to give birth, Chowdhury said.
There are no medicines and ailing women are not getting medical aid in the relief camps, Congress’ K Suresh said.
“Government of the state has failed to ensure measures for those in relief camps,” he told reporters at the airport.
DMK’s Kanimozhi said the relief camps in Manipur are “appalling”.
“There is no peace, even the forced peace is not complete. There is violence continuing in many parts of the area. The people have completely lost faith in governments, they feel let down.
“The governor has also asked us to speak with the government so that something can be done so that the people can live in peace,” she said.
In the memorandum submitted to Manipur Governor Uikey, the opposition MPs who signed the document demanded urgent rehabilitation and resettlement of the affected people to bring peace and harmony to the state.
The opposition delegation said that the government machinery has completely failed to control the Manipur ethnic conflict and slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “silence”, accusing him of showing “brazen indifference” to the ongoing situation in the northeastern state.
More than 160 people lost their lives and several hundred were injured since ethnic clashes broke out in Manipur on May 3. Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley. Tribals — Nagas and Kukis — constitute little over 40 per cent and reside in the hill districts.
Besides Chowdhury, Suresh, Gogoi, Jha, Kanimozhi and Sushmita Dev, the delegation included Mahua Maji (JMM), P P Mohammed Faizal (NCP), Chaudhary Jayant Singh (RLD), N K Premachandran (RSP) and T Thirumavalavan (VCK).
JD(U) chief Rajiv Ranjan (Lalan) Singh and his party colleague Aneel Prasad Hegde, CPI’s Sandosh Kumar, CPM’s A A Rahim, SP’s Javed Ali Khan, IUML’s E T Mohammed Basheer, AAP’s Sushil Gupta, VCK’s D Ravikumar and Arvind Sawant (Shiv Sena-UBT), and Phulo Devi Netam( Congress) were also part of the delegation.