The BJP governments at the State and Centre will be able to resolve the ongoing conflict in Manipur through dialogue, said Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is the party’s key troubleshooter in the northeast.
“The Central government is being fiercely neutral while dealing with all the communities. With the kind of time, kind of energy (Home Minister) Amit Shah is spending in northeast, I am sure that positive result will emerge,” Mr. Sarma said. Mr. Shah is travelling to Manipur this week.
According to Mr. Sarma, the “unexpected” order of the Manipur High Court on April 20 to consider the request for Meitei community’s inclusion in the Scheduled Tribes list within four months derailed a plan for a comprehensive dialogue that the State was planning. “The inter-ethnic dialogue has to be in a more matured manner, leading to more authentic cooperation. In the last five years, we had created that situation and a dialogue was beginning. But unfortunately the High Court order changed the course of events,” Mr. Sarma told The Hindu in an exclusive, wide-ranging interview.
Assam has seen the best two years of harmony and progress, and communal relations in the State has never been better, Mr. Sarma said. He said his measures to curtail polygamy and child marriage were being welcomed by the Muslims of the State and the charge that they were driven by communal animus was baseless. “Hindus and Muslims are both facing action for child marriage... Our effort is to nudge social change,” said Mr. Sarma, who was in Delhi to attend the inauguration of the new Parliament building and other official events.
He said Muslims in Assam were beneficiaries of the expanding health and education services in the State, and did not face any discrimination in government employment or access to services.