The INDIA delegation of 21 MPs belonging to parties allied with INDIA encountered distressing situations during their visit to Manipur.
This is what the INDIA team did in Manipur:
- They met with two women who had been disrobed, paraded, and sexually assaulted.
- They engaged with students facing an uncertain future.
- They encountered many individuals whose homes had been destroyed and who were now seeking refuge in relief camps.
- They also met people who pleaded with them to champion their cause and bring national attention to their plight.
The delegation’s composition included 21 MPs belonging to parties allied with INDIA. They expressed disappointment in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s continued support for Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh instead of demanding accountability and his resignation. The delegation directly witnessed the suffering of those displaced by the conflict in the northeastern state.
Jairam Ramesh @Jairam_Ramesh tweeted: INDA Union Ministers used to visit Manipur every week and at times every other day in the run-up to the 2022 Assembly elections in the state.
Since the outbreak of ethnic violence, only the Union Home Minister has visited once, that too after a delay of more than a month… with no tangible impact to show.
Meanwhile, first it was @RahulGandhi and now the delegation of 20 MPs from Team INDIA, who are there in Manipur — listening to the pain, anguish and horror of both the communities, appealing for peace, taking stock of the condition of the relief camps across Manipur, and trying to build bridges.”
Gaurav Gogoi, the Congress MP from Assam, provided insights from the delegation’s interaction with people in different relief camps. The state government and the chief minister were criticized for their roles in the escalation of violence and destruction in various villages and homes.
Students carry out a silent protest demanding their right to education, during a visit of opposition MPs of INDIA to a relief camp at Don Bosco School in Manipur’s Churachandpur district. Their future is at stake. Bringing normalcy to the region is the only way forward!
Students carry out a silent protest demanding their right to education, during a visit of opposition MPs of INDIA to a relief camp at Don Bosco School in Manipur's Churachandpur district.
Their future is at stake. Bringing normalcy to the region is the only way forward! pic.twitter.com/aeljAkbWRP
— Congress (@INCIndia) July 29, 2023
The visit marked the first joint initiative by INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) in a state since its launch on July 18 in Bangalore. Both the Central and Manipur governments were led by the BJP.
One significant encounter involved three women MPs from the INDIA delegation meeting the two women who had been subjected to the heinous acts on May 4. The victims questioned the chief minister’s sincerity in resolving the issue, given the lack of action against the perpetrators.
The delegation’s presence was timely, as it occurred after more than 75 days of silence from Prime Minister Modi on the Manipur violence. The delegation’s members expressed that people were fearful of returning to their homes due to safety concerns and families had been separated.
In addition to the meeting with affected individuals, the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF) submitted a representation, urging the delegation to raise awareness about their situation. The ITLF sought support for a separate administration for their tribes, expressing fear of being marginalized due to the majority community’s control over the state government and police.
The ITLF alleged that state armouries’ looted weapons were being used in ethnic cleansing campaigns by the majority community. State police commandos were accused of openly joining armed Meitei gunmen to attack tribal villages, while Meitei organizations accused Kuki-Chin “narco-terrorists” of fueling the unrest.
Overall, the visit shed light on the dire circumstances faced by people in Manipur and highlighted the need for urgent action and attention to their plight.
Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi says “We have visited a total of 4 relief camps, 2 in Churachandpur, 1 in Imphal, and 1 in Moirang. Everyone wants peace and everyone wants to build their lives. We will meet with our second team and share our experiences and tomorrow we will be meeting the Governor. We have come to Manipur to understand the expectations of the people and we will reflect that in Parliament.”
NDA Union Ministers used to visit Manipur every week and at times every other day in the run up to the 2022 Assembly elections in the state.
Since the outbreak of ethnic violence, only the Union Home Minister has visited once, that too after a delay of more than a month… with… https://t.co/nzDAFCfeCa
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) July 29, 2023