Former Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh was the only leader from Manipur at the all-party meeting convened by Home Minister Amit Shah but he did not get adequate time to speak on the current situation in the State, the Congress alleged on Saturday.
Addressing a joint press conference at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters with Mr. Singh, party’s communication chief Jairam Ramesh said it wasn’t just an insult to the former Chief Minister but also to the people of Manipur.
“Ibobi Singh ji had been Chief Minister for 15 years and was the only person from Manipur. But he barely got seven-eight minutes. That is an insult not just to Ibobi Singh and the Congress party but also the people of the State. Their representative was not allowed to present his points, representing their pain and anguish,” Mr. Ramesh said.
Mr. Singh said when he wanted to make an intervention towards the end of the three-hour long meeting, Mr. Shah said he can have a meeting with him [Ibobi Singh] separately for one or two hours.
“What can you say to that?” asked the former Chief Minister as he shared the eight points that he made at the all-party meeting.
Along with Trinamool leader in Rajya Sabha, Derek O’Brien, the Congress leader also suggested that an all-party delegation should visit the violence-affected State for a ground assessment but there was no assurance from the Home Minister.
“I started by suggesting that all armed groups should be disarmed. India is the fourth largest military power and if the government is determined, they can control the violence. If the armed groups do not listen, then stringent action should be taken,” Mr. Singh told reporters.
Other key demand included the demand for the sacking of the incumbent Chief Minister, N. Biren Singh, who not only failed to handle the crisis but had unilaterally withdrawn the State government’s commitment to the tripartite agreement on Suspension of Operations (SoO) with Kuki militant groups on March 11 this year. Though, this move was later rejected by the Union Home Ministry, the damage had been done.
“The unity and territorial integrity of Manipur should not be compromised. Grievances of each and every community must be heard and addressed sensitively,” Mr. Singh told the all party meeting.
The Congress also asked the Centre to ensure availability of essential commodities by keeping the two national highways open and secure at all times and come up with a package of relief, rehabilitation and resettlement. It termed the current package as “grossly inadequate”.
Meanwhile, Communist Party of India (CPI), that was a coalition partner in the Ibobi Singh government earlier, slammed the Home Minister for not inviting the party to the meeting.
“Exclusion of CPI from the all-party meeting on Manipur exposes the callous attitude of Home Minister @AmitShah towards the burning problems of the State. The CPI is a recognised party in Manipur and is contributing significantly to peace building and harmony in the State,” tweeted CPI general secretary D. Raja.