Congress Legislature Party leader Okram Ibobi on Thursday expressed concerns around the protracted clashes in Manipur. Calling for an all-party meeting to find solutions for a durable peace in the State, Mr. Ibobi called out the Bharatiya Janata Party–led coalition’s inability to restore normality so far.
In an exclusive interview with The Hindu, the former Chief Minister of Manipur said: “Both Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are keen to come to Manipur to look into the impasse. However, the security adviser to the State government Kuldeip Singh has informed us that adequate security cover is not possible for these Congress leaders since all available personnel are deployed to maintain law and order. So we have decided to call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Home Minister Amit Shah and submit memoranda to them”.
The Home Minister had on May 25 indicated his plans to visit the strife-torn State and hold talks for restoring peace.
A three-member fact-finding team had visited Manipur. He said that while the government held that about 70 persons had died in the clashes and over 300 others wounded, people feared that the actual number of dead persons could be higher, in addition to several missing persons. Mr. Ibobi wondered whether there was a hidden agenda at play given that the violence had not been contained and no central leader had thus far visited the State seeking to stem the rot.
Several persons find themselves reluctantly lodged in relief camps. One youth who was staying in a relief camp at Moirang was shot dead on Thursday (May 25) in Bishnupur district. Mr. Ibobi also said that all-political party meetings should be convened for achieving durable peace.
Asserting that the Congress supported all attempts to discover solutions to the crisis, he added that these efforts should never be linked to the integrity of Manipur. Maintaining that “there shall be no Manipur without the three major communities — the Meiteis, the Kukis and the Nagas”, he said Congress MLAs would be ready to tender their resignation and go much further if the situation demanded it.
All five Congress MLAs in the State would be part of the party’s team headed to Delhi to meet with the Central leadership.