New Delhi: Top Congress leaders on Tuesday met President Droupadi Murmu and sought her intervention in helping bring normalcy in violence-hit Manipur, and called for the constitution of a high-level inquiry commission headed by a serving or retired Supreme Court judge to probe the incident.
A delegation of Congress leaders led by party chief Mallikarjun Kharge met the president and handed over a memorandum to her seeking her urgent intervention and handed over a 12-point charter of demands to be taken immediately to help bring peace and normlacy in the north-eastern state.
"Though there were several lapses in the management of the situation at the early stages of violence, leading to the present imbroglio. Now it is not the time to point fingers, but to act. If the suggestions above are implemented in earnest, peace can perhaps be restored once again. The Congress party is a responsible political party and is ever ready to lend support to any initiative to restore peace, normalcy and harmony in the state of Manipur," the Congress memorandum to the president said.
"A high-level inquiry commission should be constituted headed by a serving or retired Supreme Court judge," it also said.
They also called for firm and sustained efforts must be made to control violence in every part of the state for the immediate restoration of peace, harmony, and normalcy, and urged the president to ask the central government to immediately take all possible measures to control and confine all militant groups (including those under SoO) and ensure that all armed civilian groups be stopped forthwith by taking appropriate action.
The state government must immediately take over the management and maintenance of all relief camps and provide proper health and sanitation facilities for all, the party suggested in its memorandum.
The letter and spirit of the existing Constitutional provisions related to the state of Manipur must be protected, and the trust between communities should be restored through reconciliation and dialogue, it also said.
"It is with a deep sense of loss and hurt that we humbly submitted a memorandum to the President of India, for her kind intervention so that the extraordinary situation confronting Manipur can be redressed and normalcy can be brought in urgently," Kharge said on Twitter after the meeting.
"As a responsible political party, the Indian National Congress is ever ready to lend support to any initiative to restore peace, normalcy and harmony in Manipur. We humbly submit the following 12 demands for immediate action. Only then there will be peace in the state," the Congress president said.
Among those who were part of the Congress delegation that met the President besides Kharge were former chief minister Ibobi Singh, Congress leader Mukul Wasnik, former deputy chief minister Gaikhangam and PCC president Keisham Meghachandra Singh, besides AICC in-charge for Manipur Bhakt Charan Das.
"The letter and spirit of the existing Constitutional provisions related to the state of Manipur must be protected, and the trust between communities should be restored through reconciliation and dialogue," the memorandum also said.
Later, addressing a press conference, AIC general secretary Jairam Ramesh said the current situation in Manipur is a result of the divisive politics of the BJP which is clearly responsible.
"It is the intelligence failure, the administrative failure and the political failure in Manipur," Ramesh told reporters, accusing the BJP for its divisive politics which is responsible for the current situation in the north eastern state.
He said the current crisis is the result of BJP's "neeyat and neetiyon" (intent and policies) and alleged that there was a lack of will on the part of the state and central government to resolve it.
"This is the second time in the last 22 years. Manipur burned in the June of 2001 when Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji was the prime minister, Manipur is burning in 2023 when Mr Narendra Modi is the prime minister. There is something in the politics and ideology of the BJP, there is something in the way the BJP manages the diversity of Manipur and other states that is not conducive to social harmony in the long run," Ramesh said.
He said several innocent people have lost their lives, hundreds of houses burns and thousands of people have been displaced from their homes, but the state government and the central government have remained silent so far.
He added that the Congress leaders in the state are flying back to Imphal and have sought a meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah for seeking immediate restoration of peace and normalcy there.
"It’s the RSS/BJP’s politics of divide and rule that is responsible for the current crisis in Manipur. The last time Manipur burned was 22 years ago when BJP was ruling in the Centre. This time things have turned from bad to worse," he also tweeted.
Ramesh said today morning a delegation led by Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge submitted a memorandum to Hon’ble President of India on the ongoing ethnic clash in Manipur and made 12 demands.
He said 15 months ago the BJP received a big mandate in Manipur due to the help of militant groups there.
"Why did you compromise with them to win elections. The current crisis in Manipur is the result of the divisive policies of the BJP," he asked.
Ibobi Singh asked why prime minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have remained silent so far and what their intentions were not resolving the crisis and bringing immediate peace.
"What is the law and order responsibility of the government as killings and burnings are continuing. Is Manipur under India. Why is the prime minister silent? Why is Amit Shah silent? They have remained a silent spectator," the former chief minister alleged.
Alleging that violence could have been stopped on the very first day but it was allowed to continue till now, he said, "the prime minister's silence shows there is some deep conspiracy".
"Do you want to divide the state or hand over to others. Why is there such an approach," he asked.
The Congress demanded that the villages near the foothills of both communities must be covered with adequate security so that armed militants do not intrude and disturb peace.
"The Union government should take steps for the rehabilitation of all displaced persons at their original place or in safer areas with suitable security arrangements. Payment of dignified and reasonable compensation for loss of life, property, and all other things concerned to all the victims and affected persons. There is a need for immediate identification of those who have lost their lives and handing their bodies over to the bereaved families for the last rites," the party also demanded, adding that a special drive must be carried out to trace many numbers of missing people.