The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Manipur unit on Friday alerted its national president JP Nadda to people’s anger as the state government remains unsuccessful in controlling the ethnic strife, The Times on India reported.
A letter sent by the top eight office bearers of the party sought a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi amid fresh tensions in Imphal as protests against the killing of two Meitei students resumed on Friday after a brief halt.
Protestors tried to storm the residence of Manipur Minister of Public Health Engineering and Consumer Affairs L Susindro Meitei. This came a day after an irate mob tried to storm Chief Minister N Biren Singh’s ancestral home in Imphal East’s Heingang area.
On Wednesday, state BJP President A Sharda Devi’s home had been targeted. Another mob burned down the district head office of the BJP in Thoubal.
In their letter, the BJP leaders asked Nadda to push for the revocation of Article 355 and restore the unified command to the chief minister to restore people’s confidence.
Article 355 of the Constitution deals with the duties of the Centre to protect states against external aggression and internal disturbance. Under it, the Union government can make decisions on several aspects of security if there is unrest in the state.
“Public anger and protest are now slowly turning the tide, putting the sole onus of this prolonged disturbances solely into the failure of the government in dealing with the situation,” the BJP leaders said in the letter. “We know that our government is also working unstopped day and night so as to bring back normalcy in the state.”
The letter said that acute difficulties faced by the residents in their day-to-day lives are playing a major role in dealing with the new developments.
The leaders urged Nadda to help the injured and deceased and called for immediate rehabilitation of nearly 60,000 displaced people.
Devi, who is one of the signatories of the letter, told The Indian Express that she has never witnessed “this kind of aggression and hostility” towards a ruling party.
“There have been different points during which my house has been targeted,” she added. “The first time that they [the protesters] came, they were agitated and said they were pushing for an early solution and gave me a memorandum, and I spoke to them physically.”
She said that the protestors had reached her house in Imphal several times following that. However, they were more aggressive than usual this time.
“It is true that it is taking time to come to a solution...there has to be a reason for that,” she told The Indian Express. “But I believe Manipur should not get divided and that Modi ji will not discriminate.”
Manipur has been witnessing protests since Tuesday after the government said that two Meitei students – Hijam Linthoingambi (17) and Phijam Hemjit (20) – who had gone missing in July have been murdered. They are suspected to have been killed by Kuki militants, according to the Imphal police.
On Monday, the state government said that the inquiry of the case has been transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation. It also urged citizens to exercise restraint and allow the authorities to investigate the killings.
But over 1,000 students from various city colleges and schools started a “peace march” on Wednesday, seeking justice and punishment for the killing of the youth. Over 50 students were injured as clashes broke out between the protestors and the security forces.
Since May 3, ethnic conflict between the Meitei and Kuki communities in Manipur has left over 200 dead. The state has also reported cases of rape and murder, and mobs have looted police armoury and set several homes on fire despite the heavy presence of central security forces.