Congress MP Rahul Gandhi has said that the BJP government at the Centre has “murdered” the ides of India in Manipur. Lashing out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Manipur violence issue, Rahul Gandhi said that the PM was cracking jokes and laughing even while replying to the no-confidence motion brought in by the opposition in the Lok Sabha.
Rahul alleged further that the Prime Minister spoke about Manipur for only two minutes out of his 2 hours and 13 minutes speech in Parliament.
While addressing a gathering in his constituency Wayanad, Gandhi said, “”There are thousands of people in Manipur who have suffered this. Someone’s house has been burnt down, someone’s sister has been raped, and someone’s brother and parents have been killed. It is as if somebody threw kerosene across Manipur and set it on fire…There is blood everywhere, there is murder everywhere, rape everywhere. That is the situation in Manipur and the Prime Minister spoke for 2 hours and 13 minutes in Parliament but he spoke on Manipur for 2 minutes. He laughed, joked. His cabinet laughed, joked…”
After his Parliament membership was reinstated following a Supreme Court order, this was Rahul’s maiden visit to Wayanad. He asked Modi directly, “You have destroyed thousands of families. You have allowed the rape of thousands of women. You have allowed the murder of thousands of people. And as Prime Minister of the country, you are laughing?”
Raising the stakes of his direct attack on the Prime Minister, Gandhi said he cannot be called a ‘nationalist’ as he has ‘murdered’ the very idea of India.
“Why have you not tried to stop the violence? What have you been doing for the last four months? Why have you not been there? Because you are not a nationalist. Anybody who murders the idea of India cannot be a nationalist,” he said.
Asserting that the Indian Army is capable enough to bring normalcy to Manipur, the Congress leader further alleged that the government does not want to stop the violence in the first place. “The Indian Army can stop this nonsense, drama in two days, but the PM wants Manipur to burn and does not want to extinguish the fire,” Rahul said.
Rahul said that during his 19 years of political life, he had never come across such a situation; he said this while recounting the harrowing experiences on his recent visit to Manipur.
“Somebody’s family members have been murdered; somebody’s house has been burnt. It is as if somebody threw kerosene on Manipur and set it on fire. I’ve been in politics for 19 years, and I’ve never experienced what I experienced in Manipur,” he said.
On 3 May 2023, ethnic violence erupted in Manipur between the Meitei people, a majority that lives in the Imphal Valley, and the Kuki tribal community from the surrounding hills. As of 29 July, 181 people have been killed in the violence. More than 300 have been wounded, and approximately 54,488 displaced.
On 14 April 2023, acting on a writ petition by the Meitei Tribe Union that demands the Scheduled Tribe status for the valley-based Meitei community, the Manipur High Court ordered the state government to send a recommendation to the central government, a decision later criticised by the Supreme Court.
To protest the High Court order, the All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur called for a peaceful protest to be conducted on 3 May. After one of these rallies, clashes between Kuki and Meitei groups began near the border between the Churachandpur district and Bishnupur district, followed by house burning. For example, the Kuki people, who predominantly reside in the hill regions surrounding the capital valley, have been viewed as being the target of the present state government’s treatment of indigenous land rights concerns. A majority of the Kuki people are Christian. There have been evictions in Kuki communities as a result of efforts to survey forests, which were ostensibly made to stop the cultivation of poppies.