Opposition MPs to probe violence-ridden Manipur amidst tensions

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In a bid to bring some semblance of peace to the ethnic violence-stricken northeastern state of Manipur, a delegation of 20 Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA bloc) MPs plan to visit the region this weekend. The visit’s intent is to analyse the ongoing situation and provide feasible solutions to the government and Parliament.
The delegation includes prominent figures from multiple parties, with Congress’ Gaurav Gogoi and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, TMC’s Sushmita Dev, and others. Their primary goal is to reveal the truth about the situation and submit a comprehensive report before Parliament. They also hope to interact with the locals to get first-hand information and assess the damage caused by the ongoing ethnic clashes.
Opposition MPs have been insistent on conducting this visit despite not receiving permission earlier due to the volatility of the region. The current violence, which has seen more than 160 lives lost since May 3rd, has prompted calls for the prime minister’s statement on the matter in Parliament and a full-fledged discussion.
The BJP, however, expressed concerns about the opposition visit, accusing the MPs of potentially escalating the situation and disrupting the proceedings in Parliament. BJP MP Ram Kripal Yadav labelled the visit a “drama,” accusing the opposition of evading a parliamentary debate on the issue.
The conflict in Manipur, primarily between the Kuki and Meitei communities, arose after the Meitei community demanded Scheduled Tribe (ST) status, prompting a ‘Tribal Solidarity March.’ This conflict was further compounded by incidents of sexual assault on women and the injuries sustained by security personnel during confrontations with militants.
Manipur police are currently investigating the assault cases and have also made several arrests in connection with a viral video displaying two women being tortured. This act has sparked outrage and condemnation, prompting promises of strict action from Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh, including the consideration of capital punishment for the perpetrators.
The opposition bloc’s upcoming visit aims to shed light on the situation and encourage dialogue and resolution. It also conveys a message of solidarity to the people of Manipur amidst these trying times, reinforcing the opposition’s commitment to restoring peace in the state.

Summary

  • Escalating Violence: Ethnic violence erupted in Manipur on May 3, primarily between the Kuki and Meitei communities. The conflict was triggered by the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status, leading to a ‘Tribal Solidarity March.’ Over 160 people have lost their lives in the unrest since it began.
  • Visit by Opposition MPs: A delegation of 20 MPs from the opposition bloc INDIA will visit Manipur to assess the ground situation. Their goal is to gather first-hand information, understand the root causes of the violence, and suggest potential solutions to the government and Parliament.
  • Investigation into Assault Cases: Manipur Police are investigating several assault cases, including the horrific incident of two women being paraded naked and sexually assaulted. The process of recording the victims’ statements and identifying eyewitnesses has begun.
  • Intervention of the Central Government: Calls have been made for a statement from the Prime Minister in Parliament on the situation in Manipur, followed by a full-fledged discussion.
  • BJP’s Reaction: The BJP has criticised the planned visit by the opposition MPs, warning them not to exacerbate the situation. The party has also accused the opposition of avoiding a debate in Parliament and attempting to exploit the situation for political gain.
  • Conflict with Militants: The ongoing ethnic violence has also seen confrontations between security forces and militants. Two security personnel were injured in a gunfight with militants in Bishnupur district.
  • Impact on Civilians: The conflict has led to widespread property damage and loss of lives. The situation has resulted in increased tension in the region and disruptions to everyday life.
  • Demand for Inquiry: Gaurav Gogoi, Congress’ deputy leader in Lok Sabha, has called for an inquiry under a retired Supreme Court judge into the violence in Manipur. This inquiry will aim to uncover the state government’s failings and the factors that led to such a large-scale conflict.