Fresh killing in Manipur, Congress asks Modi to break silence
"Why has the PM not said anything whatsoever about Manipur since the 100th episode of Mann ki Baat? What happened to Manipur ki Baat?" the Congress asked.
GUWAHATI: A civilian was killed in an incident of gunfire in Manipur on Monday even as the Congress asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to break his silence on the unrest and visit the state.
The Indigenous Tribal Leaders' Forum (ITLF) said a 22-year-old man had lost his life when "Meitei separatist groups" attacked the Loklakphai village in Kuki-majority Churachandpur district at around 2:30 pm.
Another incident of firing was reported from Khamenlok area under Saikul subdivision in Kangpokpi, also a Kuki-majority district. No immediate reports of casualties were received.
The incidents are taking place in foothill areas. The Kukis are in a large majority in some hill districts while the Meiteis, the state's largest community, are settled in the Imphal Valley.
The Congress slammed Modi for his continued silence on Manipur situation.
"Why has the PM not said anything whatsoever about Manipur since the 100th episode of Mann ki Baat? What happened to Manipur ki Baat? Why has the Union Home Minister's appeal for 15 days of peace on the 30th May, 2023 completely failed?" the Congress asked in a statement issued jointly by its leaders Jairam Ramesh, Mukul Wasnik and Bhakta Charan Das.
The party asked the PM to visit Manipur at the earliest and make all efforts for restoring people's trust in the administration and bringing normalcy.
The Congress demanded that an all-party national delegation be allowed to go to Manipur so it can visit the affected areas and meet the stakeholders.
A four-member delegation of leaders from Kuki National Organisation (KNO) and United People's Front (UPF) met Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in Guwahati on Sunday night. KNO and UPF are a conglomerate of various Kuki insurgent groups which signed the suspension of operation agreement with Manipur and central governments.
KNO spokesperson Dr Seilen Haokip told The New Indian Express they discussed peace, adding, "We always favour the cessation of hostility."
Assigned by the Centre to broker peace, Sarma had visited Manipur two days ago and met his counterpart N Biren Singh, cabinet ministers, BJP leaders and representatives of some civil society organisations. He is expected to visit some Kuki areas within the next few days.
Meanwhile, the Centre suffered a setback as the influential Meitei organisation Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) refused to be a part of the peace committee.
Ningombam Jitendra, chief coordinator of COCOMI, was appointed as a member of the peace panel but he refused to be a part of it protesting the Centre's "inaction" against the "Kuki narco-terrorists".
With the CM included in the panel, members from the Kuki community have already decided to boycott in protest.
"The Chief Minister, as an alleged perpetrator, cannot be considered impartial in matters concerning the Kuki-Zo community and cannot be accepted as a member of the peace committee," the ITLF said in a statement.
The organisation said the Kukis' only hope of survival lay in a political solution vis-à-vis their total separation from Manipur government and Meitei people.
"The Hills and the (Imphal) Valley have been partitioned and the only thing left now is separation in the administration. Peace will prevail only when the separation is in effect," the ITLF said.
Governor Anusuiya Uikey visited three relief camps in Churachandpur district on Monday and took stock of the situation.