Opposition Delegation Visits Manipur Amidst Ethnic Violence, Demands Inquiry and Government Accountability
29 July, 2023 | Don Tomslee
Opposition parties have held the Bharatiya Janata Party governments in Manipur and at the Centre responsible for failing to contain the violence
A 21-member delegation comprising opposition leaders from both Houses of Parliament embarked on a visit to Manipur to assess the situation in the state, which has been witnessing ethnic violence. The delegation left for Manipur on a commercial flight from Delhi on Saturday, splitting into two teams to visit the epicenter of the violence in Churachandpur.
The delegation includes prominent leaders such as Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Gaurav Gogoi, K Suresh, and Phulo Devi Netam from the Congress; Rajiv Ranjan Lalan Singh from JDU; Sushmita Dev from Trinamool Congress; Kanimozhi from DMK; Sandosh Kumar from CPI; AA Rahim from CPI(M); Manoj Kumar Jha from RJD; Javed Ali Khan from SP; Mahua Maji from JMM; PP Mohammed Faizal from NCP; Aneel Prasad Hegde from JDU; ET Mohammed Basheer from IUML; NK Premachandran from RSP; Sushil Gupta from AAP; Arvind Sawant from Shiv Sena (UBT); D Ravikumar and Thiru Thol Thirumavalavan from VCK; and Jayant Singh from the RLD.
The primary objective of the delegation’s visit is to visit relief camps and interact with affected individuals to gain first-hand knowledge of the ground situation. The leaders seek to make an assessment of the prevailing conditions and urge the state government not to obstruct their visit.
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary emphasized that their endeavor is to restore normalcy and peace in Manipur, ensuring relief to the suffering people. He underscored the importance of addressing the issue of ethnic clashes in the state, dismissing the government’s attempt to categorize it as merely a law-and-order problem.
Prior to their visit, the opposition leaders had written to Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh, seeking permission to use helicopters during their stay. If granted, the delegation plans to visit remote areas, including Churachandpur, where fresh violence has recently occurred.
The opposition’s visit comes amid demands for a parliamentary discussion on the situation in Manipur and a statement from the Prime Minister regarding the ongoing violence. Congress’s deputy leader in the Lok Sabha, Gaurav Gogoi, has called for an inquiry led by a retired Supreme Court judge into the violence to ensure accountability and justice.
However, Union Minister and BJP leader Anurag Thakur criticized the opposition for being silent and inactive towards violence reported in West Bengal and Rajasthan. He questioned whether the delegation would also investigate the atrocities against women in those states.
As the delegation carries out its visit, their insights and experiences are expected to be shared with Governor Anusuiya Uikey, highlighting the gravity of the situation in Manipur. The opposition seeks to bring the issue to the forefront and demand government accountability and prompt actions to restore peace and normalcy in the violence-affected regions.
Despite challenges and hindrances, the delegation remains resolute in their pursuit of understanding the ground realities and advocating for the welfare of the affected people. Their visit is being closely watched by people both within and outside the country, and its impact on addressing the situation in Manipur is anticipated with keen interest.