NEW DELHI: An all-party meeting convened by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday had a detailed discussion on the situation in Manipur during which several Opposition parties sought an all-party delegation visit to the northeastern state but the government remained non-committal, sources said.
While the Congress demanded immediate sacking of Chief Minister N Biren Singh, the Samajwadi Party and a few others sought imposition of President’s rule in the state that has witnessed sporadic violence in since May 3.
However, the government asserted it was doing its best to bring back normalcy there, sources said.
Home Minister Amit Shah said all efforts are being made to restore peace in Manipur on instructions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP’s Manipur in-charge Sambit Patra told reporters after the meeting.
The home minister also told the meeting that since the violence began in the state, there has “not been a single day” when he did not speak to PM Modi on the situation or the prime minister did not give instructions, Patra said.
Leaders of various political parties, including the BJP, Congress, Trinamool Congress, DMK, AIADMK, Aam Aadmi Party and the Left, attended the meeting which was convened by the home minister to discuss the prevailing situation in the state.
Nearly 120 people have lost their lives and over 3,000 are injured since the ethnic violence broke out in the state on May 3.
Those who attended the meeting included BJP president J P Nadda, former Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh (Congress), Derek O’Brien (TMC), Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma (NPP), Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang (Sikkim Krantikari Morcha), Birendra Prasad Baishya (Asom Gana Parishad), M Thambi Durai (AIADMK), Tiruchi Siva (DMK), Pinaki Misra (BJD), Sanjay Singh (AAP), Manoj Jha (RJD) and Priyanka Chaturvedi (Shiv Sena).
“After the meeting of our leaders in Patna, within 24 hours the Opposition spoke in one united voice for Manipur, the Northeast and India,” O’Brien told reporters after the three-hour-long meeting held at the Parliament House complex.
The Trinamool Congress demanded an all-party delegation be sent to the violence-hit state within a week as it questioned the government’s handling of the situation, wondering if the government was “trying to turn Manipur into Kashmir”.
Ibobi Singh later told reporters that peace was not possible under the present state government headed Chief Minister N Biren Singh. He demanded Singh’s immediate replacement.
Ibobi Singh said it was unfortunate that he was not allowed more time to put across his points towards the end of the meeting.
Asked whether the home minister presented a roadmap for peace, he replied in the negative.
“The Congress and some other parties also demanded that an all-party delegation be sent to Manipur and we hope that the prime minister will hold a similar meeting after his return from foreign trip,” he said.
The request for a visit by an all-party delegation was raised by most of the parties but the government remained non-committal, sources said.
RJD MP Manoj Jha said the the entire opposition said in the meeting that the people have no trust on the person heading the state government and “you cannot have peace if that person is in-charge”.
“It was absolutely an open discussion. The entire opposition said that there is complete mis-trust in the political leadership of Manipur. The entire opposition went into the extent of saying that the there is no trust in the person heading the administration in Manipur,” he said.
SP’s Ram Gopal Yadav and one-two other leaders sought imposition of President’s rule, alleging the “state government has failed” to maintain peace and the “administration has collapsed”, the sources said.
Tiruchi Siva of the DMK said the opposition requested that an all-party delegation has to be sent to Manipur.
“It is not a law and order breakdown to be controlled by police and army or Assam Rifles. It is a failure of the governance in the state and the union government,” he said.
Siva said the home minister responded by saying the government has deployed more police and the opposition should trust him as he is looking after it.
The home minister asserted he will restore peace, Siva said, adding the opposition also expressed concern over Prime Minister Narendra Modi not expressing concern so far over the situation in the state.
Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi said all parties expressed concern over the Manipur situation and sought immediate government action to bring back normalcy.
Union ministers Pralhad Joshi, Nityanand Rai and Ajay Kumar Mishra, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, and Director of Intelligence Bureau Tapan Deka also attended the meeting.
Violent clashes broke out in Manipur after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts on May 3 to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
Shah had visited the state for four days last month and met a cross sections of people in his efforts to bring back peace in the northeastern state.
Opposition parties have been criticising the government for its handling of the situation as violence has not stopped even after 50 days.
Source: Press Trust of India