New Delhi : The Congress on Thursday dubbed the violence in Manipur ‘pre-planned’ and demanded immediate imposition of President’s Rule in the state.
The Congress also compared the valley-based organisations Arambai Tenggol and Meitei Leepun in Manipur to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bajrang Dal.
Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters here, Congress leader Bhakta Charan Das said: “The condition in Manipur is visible to the country and world and I have been working in Manipur for the last three years. There are two areas — hill area and the valley area.”
He said that “the hill area is vast and people have many complaints. They have demanded development”.
He pointed out that for decades all the communities have been living peacefully and no clashes had taken place in the past.
“However, the two long-standing demands precipitated the current crisis. First, more autonomy to HAC and the 6 ADCS for the hill areas. Second is ST status for the Meiteis. The BJP government, both in the state and the Centre, betrayed the people of all communities of Manipur,” Das said.
Dubbing the incident of violence as heart wrenching and serious, he said: “No democratic process was initiated either by the Centre or the state government to fulfil these demands. Instead conflict was triggered through undemocratic actions by the state government, including sudden evacuation of villages from 38 forest areas, the spread of violence by BJP functionaries at protest sites and provocation from the Chief Minister with his arrogant utterances.”
Das, who is also the in-charge of Manipur, said: “It seems that violence was pre-planned as no one from the Centre is monitoring the issue.”
Highlighting the reason for violence, the Congress leader said that the during the rallies by the All Tribal Students’ Union of Manipur in all hill districts of the state on May 3, which was largely peaceful in the beginning as a memorandum was given to the District Collector at the end of the protest.
“But when it was underway in Churachandpur district, former BJP youth president Barish Sharma, with a mob, had participated in the rally. Why was he there at the rally? Who asked him to go there? He created problems by arguing with the students,” he alleged.
He said that under Sharma’s leadership, the Anglo-Kuki war centenary gate in Churachandpur was damaged which agitated the Kuki tribe present there and the violence was aggravated.
Comparing the two Manipur organisations Arambai Tenggol and Meitei Leepun with the RSS and the Bajrang Dal, Das said: “It is during this time that two special forces like RSS and Bajrang Dal were created. One is Arambai Tenggol and the other is Meitei Leepun. They were in black clothes and moved around in a group of hundreds on bikes with guns. They entered police stations and police training centres and looted the armory.”
He said that they also burned churches, looted villagers, and created fear among the people.
Questioning the silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Congress leader said: “Why the Prime Minister had not appealed for peace in the area?”
He also questioned the absence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah in the state following the violence.
“We want President’s rule in Manipur to ensure law and order in the state and bring more accountability,” Das added.