Tuesday, February 20, 2024

PM’s silence on Manipur

June 23, 2023 will mark 50 days of unceasing violence and arson in Manipur that has so far left 98 dead around 300 injured officially, though unofficially, the number is reportedly double. That Manipur continues to reverberate with gunfire revealing sporadic acts of violence between armed elements of both Kukis and Meiteis is unthinkable. It seems as if two nations are at war but that is not so. It is an ethnic war that has is also being joined by anti-Christian extreme right-wing elements with the intention of spreading fear among adherents of the faith especially converts from the majority community. The Central government under prime minister Narendra Modi for some strange reasons, is allowing the situation to boil as it has allowed the disgraced and controversial Biren Singh government to continue in office much against overwhelming public sentiment. As has been stated by media across the nation, the prime minister has yet to utter even a word about Manipur while he could express his sentiments at the tragic train accident at Balasore in Odisha on June 4 and later on June 16, calling Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel to seek details about the aftermath of cyclone Biparjoy and also expressed deep concern for the safety of the wild life in the state. On May 28, Modi was busy with the inauguration of the new Parliament building in Delhi and later on May 29, he inaugurated the north east’s first Vande Bharat Express train. In the weeks during May, Modi went on a foreign trip to Japan, Papua New Guinea and Australia. However, for whatever reasons, Modi had not uttered a single word about the bloody ethnic violence that has devastated Manipur since May 3 and which continues till date. Not only opposition leaders but even ruling BJP MLAs from the Meitei community have expressed deep grief and concern about the continuance of spiraling violence in the hyper sensitive border state. As stated on numerous occasions, the chief minister Biren Singh should have been asked to step down in order to restore confidence in the government but again, the Centre did not do so. Had Manipur been ruled by an opposition party, then the centre would have wasted no time in showcasing its decisiveness and boldness in placing the state under President’s rule in the interest of national security and to prevent anti-national elements from inciting riots and violence which directly challenge the authority of the constitution. People in Manipur have rightly protested against the monthly Man Ki Baat radio talk of the prime minister because since May 3 he has maintained muan varat, while he did express grief at the triple train mishap at Balasore, spoke at length at the inaugural ceremony of the new Parliament building televised nationwide, or expressed deep concern about the safety of wildlife in Gujarat after Biparjoy cyclone; he has ignored Manipur. If he truly believed what he has said often, that the north east India was at the heart of India, it was strange that by his silence, the prime minister seemed to reveal that the heart did not feel the pain over Manipur.

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