During the no-confidence motion debate in Lok Sabha yesterday (10 August), Union Home Minister Amit Shah made a heartfelt appeal to the Kukis and Meiteis, urging them to engage in peaceful talks.
He has also clarified that there were no plans to change the leadership in the state.
Following the debate, the House adopted a resolution appealing for peace in Manipur.
Shah attributed the violence in Manipur to the actions of the Manipur High Court while commending Chief Minister N Biren Singh for his cooperation with the central government.
In a comprehensive two-hour-long intervention, Shah traced the roots of the ongoing ethnic violence to the influx of Kuki refugees from Myanmar after a regime change in 2021.
He explained that a movement initiated by the Kuki Democratic Front faced a crackdown by the military rulers of Myanmar.
Due to the absence of border fencing, a significant number of Kuki refugees sought shelter in Manipur and Mizoram.
This settlement in the forests of Manipur valley raised concerns about a potential demographic shift.
A delegation from the Kuki-Zo community met with Amit Shah, where they presented a list of demands.
Shah criticised the High Court for exacerbating the situation by issuing an order without following proper legal procedures.
The order requested the state government to recommend granting Scheduled Tribe status to the Meitei community.
Shah expressed concern that the order was passed without considering important affidavits from relevant authorities.
In the aftermath of the violence that started on 3 May, there have been 152 fatalities, 14,898 arrests, and 1,106 registered FIRs across the state, as reported by Shah.
Shah made an earnest appeal to both communities in Manipur, urging them to renounce violence and engage in dialogue with the Government of India.
He emphasised the importance of finding a peaceful solution and assured that the government has no intention of altering the demographic makeup of Manipur.
The government faced questions from the Opposition about why the Chief Minister had not been replaced.
In response, Shah clarified that they had already replaced the Chief Secretary and the DGP on 4 May but the CM was still in place because he was cooperating.
Shah acknowledged that violence had been prevalent in the area, and he agreed with the Opposition on this point.
However, he criticised the politicisation of the issue, stating that it was shameful to do so.
Shah also raised concerns about the timing of the release of a video clip showing women being stripped and paraded in Manipur.
He questioned why the video, which was from 4 May, was released just a day before the start of the Parliament session. Shah also wondered why the video was not shared with the police earlier if it had been available.
In response to criticism from Opposition leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, Home Minister Amit Shah defended his government.
He pointed out that during Congress rule, there were numerous incidents of violence in Manipur, but no home minister visited the state. Shah himself stayed in Manipur for three days, while Minister of State Shri Nityanand Rai stayed there continuously for 23 days.
Shah addressed the misconception that the government was unwilling to discuss Manipur, stating that he had written a letter expressing readiness for a discussion even when there was no chaos in the House.
However, he claimed that the opposition did not want a discussion, but rather sought chaos.
During the time when Narasimha Rao served as the Prime Minister, there was a conflict between the Naga and Kuki communities that resulted in the death of 750 people. It was noted that only a Minister of State was sent to make a statement in the House, while the Home Minister remained silent. "In contrast, I assure you that I will personally issue a statement regarding such matters", said Shah.
The Prime Minister expressed concern and urgency when the violence occurred. "He contacted me at 4 am and 6 am for three consecutive days. We held 16 video conferences, sent the security advisor, deployed 36,000 security personnel, and made changes in key positions such as the chief secretary and the DGP".
Rahul Gandhi and other Opposition leaders were accused of exacerbating the situation. For instance, Rahul Gandhi insisted on traveling by road to Churachandpur despite arrangements being made for him to go by helicopter. This stubbornness only added to the tensions.
Shah stated that the BJP rule has almost brought militancy to an end in the state. He said, “There wasn’t a single day of curfew, no strike, no blockade, and militancy has more or less ended”.
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