In a strong criticism of the Union government’s handling of the Manipur crisis and, in particular, the lack of effective response from the prime minister, the chairman of the World Meitei Council, one of the leading Meitei civil society organisations, says “the prime minister has failed in Manipur”. Heigrujam Nabashyam says the prime minister, if he wants, can restore order and peace in 24 hours but has failed to do so. Nabashyam called this “irresponsible” on Modi’s part.
In an interview to Karan Thapar for The Wire, which is often argumentative and quarrelsome, Nabashyam began by saying chief minister N. Biren Singh could have nipped the problem in the bud in the first 24 hours but failed to act. He said during the critical first dew days in May the state government was not just ineffective but non-existent. However, Nabashyam said he cannot say why Biren Singh failed to act and, despite repeated questioning, refused to accept this failure to act is incompetence. He also refused to accept the chief minister should be replaced.
The thrust of Nabashyam’s argument was not to blame Biren Singh, who he considers “a proxy”, but the Union government, both the home minister and, in particular, the prime minister.
At the same time Nabashyam did not accept criticisms of the home minister’s Lok Sabha speech made by several Kuki organisations as well as seven BJP Kuki MLAs.
Whilst Nabashyam sympathised with the plight of the Meitei Pangal community, who feel “completely shattered” and “very insecure”, he did not accept that recent statements by the United Naga Council, which appear to tilt towards the Meitei community, have the potential to make the situation worse.