Portions of Congress MP Rahul Gandhi’s speech criticising the Narendra Modi government’s actions in violence-hit Manipur were on Wednesday expunged from the Lok Sabha records, The Indian Express reported.
His remarks pertaining to “Bharat Mata [Mother India]” and a reference to the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Centre were among those removed by the Lok Sabha Secretariat.
The Congress leader made these remarks in his first speech in the Lower House after being reinstated as the MP from Wayanad. He was reinstated three days after the Supreme Court stayed his conviction in a criminal defamation case.
Gandhi alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not visit the Northeastern state as he does not consider it to be part of India. “I used the word ‘Manipur’, but the truth of today is that Manipur does not exist anymore,” he added. “You have divided Manipur into two parts.”
He accused the BJP of “sprinkling kerosene everywhere and putting the country on fire”, and referred to last week’s communal violence in Haryana’s Nuh and Gurugram districts that left six persons dead.
After parts of Gandhi’s speech were expunged from the record, the Congress’ leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury described the decision as “gross injustice” and accused the government of denigrating Parliament.
He said he would meet Speaker Om Birla on Thursday and ask him restore the expunged remarks, according to The Indian Express.
On Tuesday, the Opposition INDIA alliance had initiated a debate on a no-confidence motion against the Union government, saying that it did so in order to force Modi to speak about the situation in Manipur.
At least 187 people have been killed and nearly 60,000 have been forced to flee their homes in the northeastern state since violence broke out on May 3.
The state has reported cases of rape and murder, mobs have looted police armouries and set several homes on fire despite the heavy presence of central security forces.
‘Sansad TV showed Rahul Gandhi less than 40% of the time’
Shortly after Gandhi’s speech, Congress General Secretary in-charge of Communications Jairam Ramesh on Wednesday alleged that Sansad TV, the country’s only parliamentary channel, showed the Wayanad MP for 14 minutes and 37 seconds, or less than 40% of his speech.
Ramesh pointed out that Gandhi spoke for 37 minutes during the debate on the no-confidence motion.
“What is Mr Modi afraid of?” he asked on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Amit Shah backs Manipur CM, says he is cooperating
Earlier in the day, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh was cooperating with the Centre, due to which there was no need to impose President’s Rule in the state.
The Opposition has demanding Singh’s resignation as the chief minister since large-scale violence broke out in the state.
“We sent a new chief secretary, changed the director general of police, as well as the security advisor,” Shah told the Lok Sabha. “The chief minister has been co-operating.”
Shah urged both the Meiteis and Kukis in Manipur to renounce violence and come together for talks.
“Please come to the talks table with the Government of India and let us find a way to restore Manipur to the path of progress and prosperity,” the home minister said. “Only dialogue can lead to a solution…We do not wish to change the demography. I am talking to them personally.”
Shah further asked why a video of women being sexually assaulted in Manipur came to light just a day before the Parliament session began. “The Intelligence agencies did not have it, but why did you not share it with the police if you had it earlier,” he asked the Opposition. “Whoever had the video, if they had given it to the DGP [Director General of Police] on May 4, the culprits would have been apprehended by May 5.”
The home minister also said that a Manipur High Court order of March 27 added “fuel to the fire” and caused unrest in the hill areas. He was referring to an order that asked the state government to consider petitions for the majority Meitei community’s demand for inclusion among the Scheduled Tribes and decide on them expeditiously.
“The HC suddenly heard a petition that had been pending with it for years,” Shah said. “And it did not take affidavits from the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, or the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs, or the Manipur government…The order was passed without any legal process.”