Manipur violence: Oppn parties upset over PM Modi's silence, submit memorandum to PMO

New Delhi: Congress leader from Manipur Okram Ibobi Singh with party leader Ajoy Kumar and other leaders of like-minded parties during a press conference, at party HQ in New Delhi, Tuesday, June 20, 2023. (Photo: Qamar Sibtain/IANS)

New Delhi: Congress leader from Manipur Okram Ibobi Singh with party leader Ajoy Kumar and other leaders of like-minded parties during a press conference, at party HQ in New Delhi, Tuesday, June 20, 2023. (Photo: Qamar Sibtain/IANS)

New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) Leaders of ten opposition parties from violence hit Manipur, led by Congress, on Tuesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of ignoring the people of the north eastern state and not meeting the opposition leaders before leaving for his US visit.

The Congress criticised Prime Minister for meeting the film writer Manoj Muntashir, who wrote obscene dialogues for the movie Adipursh, but has no time to meet senior leaders of the country.

Congress leader Ajoy Kumar claimed that the writer Muntashir met Modi without any appointment for 45 minutes while the leaders from the violence ridden state, including even those from the BJP, were not able to get audience with him (PM Modi).

Addressing a joint press conference at the party headquarters, Congress leader Ajoy Kumar said: "Since June 10, several senior leaders of Manipur, including political leaders, civil society people are waiting here to meet Prime Minister Modi. Even Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh, and the Assembly speaker are waiting for the appointment."

He said that senior leader Ibobi Singh, who was the Manipur Chief Minister for 15 years and many other top leaders of Manipur are not able to meet PM whereas a script writer can meet Prime Minister without appointment.

He said that a memorandum was also submitted by the delegation of 10 parties to the Prime Minister's Office.

Kumar was joined by former Chief Minister of Manipur Okram Ibobi Singh, including the leaders of the opposition parties, Manipur PCC President Keisham Meghachandra Singh and others who said that they were disappointed as the Prime Minister had not spared even ten minutes for them before leaving for his US visit.

Kumar said that the opposition leaders have been camping here for the last ten days in the hope of meeting the Prime Minister. "Not only these leaders, but the people of Manipur felt deeply disappointed that the Prime Minister had no time for them," he said.

Meanwhile, former Chief Minister of Manipur Ibobi Singh said it was the failure of the Chief Minister Biren Singh as he had himself admitted that it was an intelligence and administrative failure.

"As citizens of this country, we were waiting here to meet Modiji. We have not come here to beg something from the Prime Minister but what has happened in Manipur should be considered a national issue. Handling of violence in Manipur is a failure of double engine government," the former chief minister said.

He said while the Union Home Minister Amit Shah visited Manipur after 26 days and stayed there for three days, even that did not help in restoration of peace.

Opposition's memorandum

The memorandum submitted by the Opposition leaders highlighted that more than 150 people have died while over 1,000 people were injured. More than 5,000 houses have been burned down and more than 60,000 people are displaced. Hundreds of churches and temples have also been burnt down.

The memorandum also alleged that it was the "BJP's politics of divide and rule" that had led to the present crisis.

The memorandum referred to the demand of 10 MLAs, including two Ministers in the government, belonging to Kuki tribe, demanding a "Separate Administration" for Kukis. It warned against any move to divide the Manipur state.

It said that stoic silence of Prime Minister over the ethnic violence which has claimed many lives and created havoc for thousands of citizens sends a clear message of indifference to the people of Manipur.

It also held Chief Minister Biren Singh responsible for the violence and said that he was the architect of present ethnic violence because of his arbitrary actions. "Had he taken preventive and prompt actions, the ethnic clashes could have been averted."

The signatories of the memorandum include leaders from the Congress, JDU, CPI, CPM-M, TMC, AAP, Forward Bloc, Nationalist Congress Party, Shiv Sena and RSP.

The Congress has been critiical of the Prime Minister's silence on the Manipur violence.

The Congress on Tuesday also reminded the Prime Minister to follow 'Rajdharma' instead of indulging in "publicity to improve his image".