The Congress on Monday demanded that an all party delegation be sent to Manipur, which has been engulfed in ethnic violence for over a month, in order to assess the situation on the ground there and assure the people of the State. The party also questioned the silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue.
“Why has the Prime Minister not said anything whatsoever about Manipur since the 100th episode of Mann ki Baat? What happened to Manipur ki Baat?” Congress’ general secretary (communications), Jairam Ramesh, asked.
“Mr. Modi has to break his silence on Manipur and send a message of peace and assure people of the State that the government would do everything to restore peace, normalcy and harmony,” he said.
Mr. Ramesh, who was addressing a joint press conference with senior party leaders Mukul Wasnik and Bhakta Charan Das, said the Prime Minister should also visit Manipur at the earliest. “Just like he is reviewing the cyclone situation in Gujarat on Monday, he can spare a day for Manipur also to assure people there,” he said.
Mr. Ramesh pointed out that the PM has rightly visited the train accident site of Balasore in Odisha. “Then why has he not visited Manipur?” he asked.
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Mr. Wasnik said that if Mr. Modi was unable to visit the border State, President Droupadi Murmu should make efforts to help bring peace and normalcy there.
The Congress also demanded that an all party delegation be deputed to visit all the affected areas in the strife-torn State and meet stakeholders.
“It is not a problem of the BJP or the Congress but the entire nation and an all-party delegation should be sent there,” the three leaders said.
Mr. Wasnik, who was part of a Congress delegation which visited Manipur on May 18-19, said the situation in the State was agonising. “Many bodies are still lying in mortuaries and we expect the Prime Minister to speak and make an appeal to the people of the State to help restore peace,” he said.
“The number of displaced people is more than one lakh, with at least 50,000 people in 349 relief camps. The official death toll is 119. Many people are still missing and their whereabouts are not known.
“A number of deceased are still in the mortuary of the Government Hospital and their bodies have not been handed over to their families. The Internet ban has been extended. None of the actions taken by the State Government or the Union Government have inspired confidence in the people of Manipur,” Mr. Wasnik said.
Mr. Bhakta Charan Das, who is also the All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge for Manipur, accused the BJP Government in the State of not being honest in its efforts, and said its approach was not democratic.
“Their efforts are not sincere. At this juncture, the Prime Minister’s visit will help. They are not adopting the method of a democratic appeal. They have resorted to violent approach,” Mr. Das said.
He said a team of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs or an all-party delegation should be sent to Manipur, and a democratic initiative taken to help restore peace and normalcy there.