The Congress on Tuesday submitted a memorandum to President Droupadi Murmu, blaming the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Union government’s divisive policy for the violence in Manipur.
Union ministers who used to visit the state frequently have maintained utter silence since the violence broke out earlier this month,Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge said in the memorandum. He said that the silence from the ministers have made Manipur residents feel that their lives and property do not matter.
“It is tragic that the BJP’s politics of divide and rule has created this huge crisis,” the memorandum stated.
The northeastern state has witnessed ethnic clashes between Meiteis and Kukis since May 3 that have left at least 81 persons dead and displaced over 35,000.
Congress General Secretary (Communications) Jairam Ramesh wrote in a tweet, sharing the memorandum, that the BJP was in power in Manipur even when large scale violence had broken out in the state 22 years ago. In 2001, violent protests had broken out in Manipur after the Centre had decided to extend its four-year-old truce with separatist Naga group.
On Tuesday, the Congress also made 12 demands for Manipur, including giving sustained effort to control violence, controlling and confining all militant groups, rehabilitating all displaced persons, providing compensation for loss of life and property as well as setting up a high-level inquiry commission.
Violence had first broken out on May 3 after thousands participated in a protest march organised by the All Tribal Students’ Union of Manipur to oppose the demand of the majority Meitei community to be included in the Scheduled Tribe category.
The protestors included the Kukis, one of the larger tribal communities in Manipur. For months now, they have been at loggerheads with the state government, and, in particular, Chief Minister N Biren Singh, who the community claims harbours Meitei “majoritarian” sentiments.
During the violence, homes of state legislators and ministers homes have been attacked, making the situation more precarious.
On May 24, a mob had vandalised the home of state minister Govindas Konthoujam in the Ningthoukhong Bazaar area of Bishnupur. The same day a man succumbed to bullet injuries while he was being taken to a hospital in Bishnupur district.
Two days later, a mob, largely led by members of the Meitei community, had attacked the home of Union Minister of State for External Affairs and Education RK Ranjan Singh to express their anger against the violence that took place a day ago. The Union minister also belongs to the Meitei community.