European Parliament Condemns Violence in Manipur, Demands Withdrawal Of AFSPA

Bhuvan Krishna

Jul 13, 2023, 05:03 PM | Updated 05:21 PM IST

Violence-hit Manipur. (Representative Image)
Violence-hit Manipur. (Representative Image)

During Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ongoing visit to France, the European Parliament has passed a motion, regarding the violence occurring in Manipur, India.

The motion strongly condemns the nationalistic rhetoric used by prominent members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In response, the Indian government stated that this issue is solely an internal matter.

The ongoing plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France included a debate on the ethnic clashes in Manipur.

The discussion focused on cases of human rights violations, threats to democracy, and disregard for the rule of law.

A motion titled "Situation in Manipur: Resolution on India" has urged the European Union (EU) to prioritise human rights and democratic values in its engagement with India.

The resolution passed by the EU Parliament expressed condemnation for the violence, loss of life, and property destruction in Manipur.

While the Indian government maintained that the Manipur issue is an internal matter, the EU Parliament provided a scathing critique of the situation in the country.

The resolution highlighted the harassment faced by minorities, civil society, human rights defenders, and journalists. It also emphasised the severe challenges and rights violations experienced by women, often linked to their tribal and religious backgrounds, including sexual violence and harassment.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights appealed to India in October 2020 to protect the rights of human rights defenders.

The resolution acknowledges concerns raised by human rights organisations about the BJP's "divisive ethno-nationalistic policies" and the shrinking space for civil society.

Violence has erupted in India's Manipur state along ethnic and religious lines, pitting the mainly Hindu Meitei community against the Christian Kuki tribe.

This has resulted in a cycle of violence, with over 100 fatalities, more than 40,000 people displaced, and the destruction of property and places of worship. Manipur has previously experienced secessionist insurgencies, which involved serious human rights abuses.

Human rights groups have accused the BJP-led government in Manipur and nationally of implementing divisive ethno-nationalistic policies that particularly oppress religious minorities.

The EU Parliament has called on India and local authorities to allow unhindered humanitarian aid to those affected by the violence. They also urge independent monitors to conduct investigations.

Additionally, political leaders are urged to refrain from making inflammatory statements, in order to rebuild trust and play an impartial role in mediating tensions.

The resolution emphasises the need for mediation efforts by both the central and state governments.

The Parliament further demanded the withdrawal of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from the region. They also called for the restoration of internet services in Manipur.

The parliament further suggested that the EU and India collaborate on creating a strategy to tackle human rights concerns, specifically related to ethnic and religious minorities, as well as freedom of religion and belief.

They also proposed establishing a regular EU-India human rights dialogue at a high level, with clear criteria and benchmarks for measuring progress.

Bhuvan Krishna is Staff Writer at Swarajya.

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