Home Minister Amit Shah tore into the opposition today in the Lok Sabha during a discussion on the Manipur crisis, asserting that he has been working hard on bringing peace in Manipur and has been monitoring the situation closely since violence broke out in early May.
The Home Minister recalled how Prime Minister Narendra Modi dialled him at 4 am and 6.30 am on two consecutive days when reports of violence in Manipur came.
Mr Shah’s counter-attack came amid the opposition’s repeated demands for PM Modi to speak on the Manipur ethnic clashes between the hill-majority Kuki tribe and the valley-majority Meiteis.
“I want to tell the whole country, the Prime Minister called me at 4 in the night and also at 6.30 the next morning. And they (opposition) are saying Modi ji doesn’t bother at all,” Mr Shah said.
“For three days, continuously, we worked round the clock. We held 16 video conferences, sent 36,000 CAPF (central cops) personnel immediately, used air force planes, changed the Chief Secretary and DGP (police chief), sent an adviser from Surat; centre sent Chief Secretary and DGP too. All this was done on May 4 itself,” Mr Shah told the Lok Sabha today, detailing the steps taken by the centre within 24 hours since violence started during a Kuki rally in Churachandpur district, 65 km from the state capital Imphal.
He rejected the opposition’s call for imposition of President’s rule in BJP-ruled Manipur under Article 356 of the Constitution as playing politics over violence.
“They (opposition) keep saying why we didn’t apply (Article) 356? (Article) 356 is applied when during turmoil the state government doesn’t cooperate. We changed the DGP, the state accepted the centre’s decision. We changed the Chief Secretary, the state accepted the decision,” Mr Shah said.
Responding to the opposition’s query why Chief Minister N Biren Singh has not been replaced, the Home Minister said, “The Chief Minister is replaced only when the CM doesn’t cooperate. This CM is cooperating.”
Mr Shah had visited Manipur for three days in June. He met people from both communities and looked into relief arrangements for thousands of internally displaced people.
Kuki groups have been demanding the resignation of Mr Singh. In June, the centre’s proposed peace talks with all communities in Manipur failed due to Mr Singh’s participation in the dialogue team. The Kukis did not agree to the talks as Mr Singh would be present, after which Manipur’s umbrella civil society group COCOMI also decided not to participate in the planned talks.
Over 170 have been killed and thousands have been internally displaced.
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