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2.5 Months of Manipur Violence: The PM Speaketh… Finally!

Modi’s remarks, however, sound more like a law & order concern to check ‘crimes against women’, than an appeal for peace in the politically charged violence in the state.
PM Modi in parliament

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the media on the first day of the Monsoon Session of Parliament in New Delhi, Thursday, July 20, 2023. Union Ministers Pralhad Joshi, Jitendra Singh, Arjun Ram Meghwal and V Muraleedharan are also seen. (PTI Photo/Vijay Verma)

New Delhi: It took Parliament’s Monsoon Session and a horrifying viral video to make Prime Minister Narendra Modi finally break his ‘maun vrat’ (vow of silence) on the violence that has been rocking Manipur, where his party, the BJP, has been in power. But his remarks seemed more focussed on law & order to check “crimes against women” rather than on the need for a political solution to bring peace in the state.

On Wednesday, the horrifying video started doing the rounds, sparking widespread outrage on social media. 

And on Thursday, even as the newly-energised Opposition alliance was bracing up to take on the government on Manipur and various other issues, Modi broke his silence:

"Today, when I am standing by this temple of democracy my heart is full of pain and anger," he told reporters in his remarks at Parliament complex before the start of Monsoon session.

"I want to assure the countrymen that no guilty will be spared. Law will act with its full might and firmness... What has happened to these daughters of Manipur can never be forgiven," he said, making no mention of the raging ethnic violence between the majority Meitei group that lives in the plains, and the minority tribal Kuki community that resides in the hills.

Interestingly, the timing of the PM’s remarks more or less coincided with the scathing observation by the country’s highest court – the Supreme Court – which termed the Manipur videos of May 4 (the violence broke out on May 3) showing naked women being violated by a mob, as “the grossest of Constitutional and human rights violation."

In fact, the Chief Justice of India, D Y Chandrachud, said that the video was of May 4 “but that makes no difference.”

The CJI asked the ‘double engine” – the state and the Central governments – to act fast. "We will give a little time to the government to act, otherwise we will take action if nothing is happening on the ground," he added.

Meanwhile, the Opposition has moved adjournment motions in both Houses – which were adjourned after uproar.

Rajya Sabha proceedings were adjourned till 2 PM opposition members created uproar demanding a discussion on the Manipur violence issue under Rule 267.

Several opposition members, including Kharge, have given notices under Rule 267 while demanding a discussion on Manipur violence.

Incidentally, despite repeated jibes by the Opposition parties, his own party leaders in Manipur, as well as civil society, Modi has chosen to remain silent on the violence rocking Manipur for over two months.  While Home Minister Amit Shah visited the state, Modi has neither mentioned Manipur violence or gone anywhere near it, even as he took off on foreign jaunts recently, raising more eyebrows.

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