Congress leader, Sachin Pilot, has accused the ruling BJP-led government of the Centre of allowing a situation of violence to fester in the state.
Pilot also accused the Chief Minister of the state of losing his moral and political legitimacy to rule the state. He also questioned why the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, did not convene a ‘genuine’ all-party meet on the matter.
Pilot expressed his frustration over the lack of accountability in a small state such as Manipur, which should have been managed with care, compassion, and empathy. He stated that the government has lost its moral authority to rule, and that no one in the state or the ruling party has responded to his questions, nor has anyone in Delhi.
In his actual words, the Congress leader, Pilot said,”A small state like Manipur which deserved to be handled with care, with empathy and compassion, there is no accountability, so many people have lost their lives. The government has lost the moral authority to govern, and no one is responsible, nobody in the state, nobody in the ruling party, nobody in Delhi is answering questions,”.
Insight of Pilot’s Interview
Further in an interview with PTI, Pilot added that Rahul Gandhi visited Manipur just to meet with people, but it wasn’t to score political points. He wanted to show that despite the religious and social divides, there are still people who want to help heal the wounds, ease the pain, and share their concerns.
Pilot accused the Centre of not taking any responsibility for the deaths that have taken place in Manipur over the past two months. He said that this has never happened in the history of the country and that the government is talking about “sab ka saath” and “sabka vikas”. He also said that Manipur is not part of India and that the people who are suffering are at fault. “I am worried that this situation has been left to fester and the Chief Minister N Biren Singh has lost his moral and political legitimacy to rule the state,” he said.
He said that the people of Manipur are suffering due to internal migration, killing and other forms of violence.
Pilot said, “Honourable Prime Minister, I have not heard a single word from you. You can keep talking about birthdays or festivals all day, but why don’t you have a real meeting of all parties? Why isn’t anyone taking the government to task? Why is no one being held
accountable for the atrocities being committed every day? This situation is beyond comprehension and I hope it will end soon.”
History of Pain, Terror and Chaos In Manipur
Manipur is currently divided into two distinct ethnic enclaves, with the Meitei inhabiting the lower hills and valleys and the Kuki inhabiting the upper hills. It has been described as a “death sentence” for those who venture into the territories of the opposing tribe.
Despite the state and central governments, which are both controlled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP, claiming that the situation is gradually improving, those living in the area have reported that curfews and restrictions are still in place in large areas of the state, and the internet has been repeatedly blocked.
Thousands of additional military and paramilitary forces have been deployed, and both sides have established their own armed vigilante groups. Eight additional people have died in clashes this week.
According to analysts, the government’s attempts to bring peace to the state have been largely unsuccessful and the situation could deteriorate further, threatening to destabilise other states of India’s north-eastern region, including Mizoram and Nagaland, as well as Assam. Manipur’s BJP-led state government is comprised of a large number of Meiteis, which has led to widespread mistrust among Kuki leaders. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Modi has remained silent on the issue. The only prominent BJP minister to visit Manipur has been the Home Minister, Amit Shah, and his visit has done little to defuse the ethnic tensions.
Stages of Terror In Manipur
The outbreak of violence was precipitated by a state court decision on March 27, 2022, which granted the ruling Meitei community “tribal status”, granting them the same economic advantages and quotas in government employment and education as the Kuki community, and allowing Meitei to acquire land in the hills where the majority of the Kuki population resided. The decision was subsequently stayed by the Supreme Court, which declared the ruling to be factually incorrect.
The case added fuel to the already simmering tensions in the state, which has seen its share of ethnic clashes and uprisings since independence. After a military coup in Myanmar in 2021, thousands of Kuki refugees fled across the state border to Mizoram and then to Manipur, prompting Meiteis to fear that their community could be wiped out.
On May 3, Kuki students staged a protest against the court ruling, but within hours, clashes erupted between the two communities. Within two days, houses, shops, and churches were destroyed, temples and shops were vandalised, and more than 60 people lost their lives.
Since then till now, the escalation of clashes and the burning of villages has continued. An estimated 4,000 firearms have been stolen from police armouries, and police officials have reported that they are frequently unable to contain the disorder that has spread to the streets. The Indian Deputy Foreign Minister, whose residence was one of those targeted by petrol bombs, has described the situation as a “total collapse of law and order”.