New Delhi: Members of the INDIA alliance on Wednesday (August 2) met President Draupadi Murmu and submitted a memorandum drawing her attention to the ongoing violence in Manipur and urged for her “intervention” in establishing peace in the state.
Manipur has been in the grip of ethnic violence since May 3, in which over 150 people have been killed and tens of thousands displaced from their homes.
The issue has also rocked parliament, with opposition parties demanding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement in the house. The government has only agreed to a short duration discussion.
“The situation in Manipur has reached a critical point in the last few weeks, witnessing complete breakdown of law and order,” said the MPs in the memorandum, a copy of which was posted on Twitter by Congress MP Jairam Ramesh.
The 21 INDIA MPs who were in Manipur on July 29th and 30th met the Hon’ble President of India this morning along with the floor leaders of INDIA parties. They also handed over a memorandum to the Hon’ble President urging her intervention to establish peace & harmony in Manipur. pic.twitter.com/3RSFpujXAf
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) August 2, 2023
Referring to the harrowing video that went viral on social media last month – showing two Kuki women being paraded naked in Kangpokpi on May 4 – the opposition MPs said that it is only one of several cases of atrocities against women in Manipur during the ongoing violence.
“The shocking viral video that surfaced online has left the nation in shell shock and it is evident that the state administration and police have failed to address the matter promptly. The delayed response of over two months to take cognizance and apprehend the accused has compounded the severity of the issue. Subsequently it has come to light that the said incident is only one of the several cases of atrocities against women,” the memorandum said.
The memorandum stated that the delegation of INDIA MPs visited the violence affected areas on July 29-30 and witnessed the “extreme devastation and hardships faced by the people, including women and children, and apprised the country of the grim and concerning situation in the state”.
It added that the violence has left over 200 people dead with over 500 injured and more than 5,000 houses burnt in arson-related incidents.
The MPs said that the three-month-long internet ban has “further escalated distrust between communities and allowed the spread of misinformation”.
The alliance said that the opposition had been trying to highlight these issues in parliament and has demanded Modi’s statement but their demands have not been met.
“The silencing of the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha who represents the voice of the people and is a source of reason and rationality in the house, and the intermittent switching off of his mic in parliament is a new low in our Parliamentary democracy,” it added.
Addressing reporters after submitting the memorandum, Congress chief and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said that the president had assured them that she will take their concerns into consideration.
“Our main demand is that the PM should visit Manipur and take steps towards restoring peace in the state,” said Kharge.
Kharge also said that the government’s move to have the discussion on the no-confidence motion on the last few days of the monsoon session shows that the Centre does not want to discuss Manipur.
The no-confidence motion was moved last week but a discussion has been scheduled on August 8-9 and Modi is expected to reply on August 10 – just a day before the monsoon session draws to a close.
“We wanted a discussion under Rule 267 and then gave the no-confidence motion so that the discussion could be held urgently after Modi’s statement and we could counter with all the facts we have gathered on visiting Manipur. But we won’t get that opportunity now.
“The government does not want to abide by democratic principles, that is why we are fighting together and will continue to do so,” he said.
He added that the opposition members had also mentioned the ongoing violence in Haryana and alleged that the Modi government was not bothered about the developments that are taking place “barely 100 km from the Prime Minister’s Office”.