Congress MP Rahul Gandhi on Monday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Manipur and meet the victims of the ethnic violence that began in the state in May last year.

The Opposition leader visited the northeastern state for the third time since the conflict between the dominant Meitei and tribal Kuki communities flared up. The ensuing violence has killed at least 225 persons and displaced 60,000 residents who are living in relief camps.

“The prime minister should have visited the state long back,” Gandhi said. “It is important that he visits Manipur. I request him to come to Manipur and try and understand what is happening here. His visit will give confidence to the people of Manipur.”

The Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha said that his party would support all possible interventions to improve the situation in the BJP-ruled state.

Gandhi had first visited the Manipur in June last year. In January, he launched the party’s Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, or India Justice and Unity March, from the state’s capital Imphal.

While the Opposition has been urging Modi to visit Manipur, the prime minister had last week said that the state would reject those trying to “add fuel to the fire”.

On July 3, in his first remarks on the situation in the Monsoon Session of Parliament, Modi said that over 11,000 first information reports had been registered and over 500 persons arrested in connection with the clashes.

“Incidents of violence are continuously reducing in Manipur,” Modi said. “Today, schools, colleges, offices and other institutions are open in the state.”

The prime minister added that the Centre and state government were in talks with stakeholders to restore peace in the state. Union home minister Amit Shah had also visited the state, he added.

Meitei group memo to Gandhi

The Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity on Monday issued a memorandum to Gandhi urging the Opposition leader to “highlight the truth of the crisis” and take certain steps to solve it.

“The truth and the real problem of Manipur today is the visible absence of the state authority and withholding of the use of the legitimate forces against the Chin-Kuki Narco-terrorist who are continuously attacking civilians inhabiting in the foothills in collusion with the heavily armed Kuki militants,” the committee – a collective of six groups representing Meitei interests – alleged.

The committee also accused Modi of wrongly portraying the violence in state as a case of ethnic conflict between the two groups.

“Further, he also hinted stereotypically that such conflict is normal or natural habit of the state and because of these habits, the state was put under president's rule for ten times,” the committee said. “He was hinting that communal riots are innate to the Manipuri people.”

The memorandum urged Gandhi to “immediately contain the armed terrorists by activating the central security forces”. It also asked him to to urge the Centre to give necessary budgetary support to compensate the state’s heavy losses incurred during the crisis.

Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum memo to Gandhi

The Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum also submitted a memorandum to the Congress MP on Monday alleging that the BJP government in Manipur is “hostile” to them and only supports a certain community.

“We are facing numerous challenges from the state BJP government, which is utilising both its official machinery and non-state players inside the Meitei community,” the tribal body said. “Our existence as a political entity is at stake.”

The forum also alleged that Kuki-Zo homes and properties are still being set on fire and destroyed.

“To date, almost 7,000 homes have been demolished, nearly 200 Kuki-Zo have lost their lives, over 360 place of worship were destroyed and about 20,000 have been homeless,” the memorandum alleged.

The forum called for an immediate political solution to break the cycle of “violence and atrocities in Manipur”.

“Clearly, the Kuki-Zo minority will never again be able to live a dignified and safe life in Manipur, given the extent of bloodshed and the radicalisation by the majority society,” it said.