New Delhi– Union Home Minister Amit Shah, while addressing the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, refuted the widespread misconception that the government is unwilling to engage in discussions regarding Manipur. He emphasized that the ongoing situation in Manipur, characterized by violent incidents, should not be exploited for political gains.
Acknowledging the disturbing spate of violence in Manipur, Shah revealed that 152 lives have been lost thus far. However, he cautioned against turning this tragic scenario into a political battleground.
During the no-confidence motion debate in the Lok Sabha, Shah expressed his willingness to engage in discussions regarding Manipur. However, he lamented that the opposition was hindering constructive dialogue on the matter.
VIDEO | “From day one, I was ready for discussion (on Manipur) but they didn’t want a discussion, they only wanted to protest. Had they been unsatisfied with my discussion, then they could have asked the PM to speak,” says Union Home minister Amit Shah in Lok Sabha.… pic.twitter.com/xAwaqIp6Ze— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) August 9, 2023
Shah pointed out, “Shameful incidents have happened in Manipur. But it is even more shameful that some people are politicizing it. Before the commencement of the session, I had written in letters that we are ready for discussion and there should be no shortage of time. I am ready for discussion from day one but they don’t want that to happen and they only want to protest. If he does not agree with my statement, he should have sought a statement from the Prime Minister.”
Highlighting the government’s continuous vigilance, Shah stated, “No one has slept blindly in the control room of the Ministry of Home Affairs. 107 people were killed in May and four people have died in August.”
Amit Shah outlined the intricate dynamics contributing to the unrest in Manipur, particularly the changes in power dynamics in Myanmar. He elaborated, “In Myanmar, there is Kuki Democratic Front, it started the movement. The military rule there started strictness. The border of Myanmar is a free border, Kuki brothers started coming there from the free border. Thousands of Kuki tribals started coming. They started settling in the forest. Anxiety started in the rest of Manipur.”
Responding to these challenges, Shah detailed his government’s efforts to secure the Myanmar border through fencing. He revealed, “10 kilometers of fencing has been done. The work of 60 kilometers is going on. So that infiltration can be stopped.”
Shah also delved into the demographic complexities within Manipur, explaining the tension between the Meiteis residing in the valleys and the Kukis living in the mountains. He emphasized that there has been a push to alter the population dynamics through the issuance of identity cards to refugees.
Furthermore, Shah highlighted a decision by the Manipur High Court that exacerbated the situation. He criticized the court for not considering the affidavits from the Tribal Department of the Government of India and the Ministry of Home Affairs before declaring Matai caste as tribal status, a move he deemed to be in violation of due process.
Concluding his address, Amit Shah urged for a comprehensive understanding of the complex racial and political dynamics at play in Manipur, emphasizing the need for unity and dialogue in addressing the ongoing challenges faced by the region.