Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Manipur MP’s Powerful Speech In Parliament Creates Ripples – N.F Times

New Delhi: The debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address on July in the Lok Sabha was noteworthy for many reasons.

Congress MP A Bimol Akoijam had questioned the Narendra Modi government’s silence on Manipur, which has been hit by ethnic violence, saying it is not normal.

In a late-night speech in the Lok Sabha on Monday, he said there is a civil war-like situation in Manipur, “yet our Prime Minister has remained mute, not even a word”.

Mr. Akoijam, who was the last to speak on Monday, around 11.45 p.m., in the Lok Sabha on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address, expressed his anguish over the absence of any reference to ethnic violence-hit Manipur in President Droupadi Murmu’s address to the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament.

“It is an irony that such an important matter, which is sought to be silenced by the government, gets an opportunity as the midnight approaches,” he said.

A professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), the first-time Congress MP from Inner Manipur drew the attention of the House to the 60,000 people living in wretched conditions in relief camps in Manipur for more than a year.

“The hurt, the anger has thrown a nobody like me to be part of this temple of democracy, beating the BJP Cabinet Minister. Think about the pain. I will keep quiet the moment the Prime Minister opens his mouth, and the nationalist party says that Manipur is a part of India and we care for the people of that State,” said Mr. Akoijam who defeated Union Minister Rajkumar Ranjan Singh in the recent election. He said every inch of Manipur was covered by Central armed forces, yet 60,000 people were rendered homeless, and thousands of villages were destroyed.

He said over 200 people have died and armed individuals are roaming around, fighting each other, and defending their villages, while the Indian state has remained a mute spectator to this tragedy for one year.

“Keep your hands on your heart and think about the homeless, the mothers and the widows. Think of them and then talk about nationalism,” he said while pointing to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members.

“You are dishonouring the likes of youths who hold the Tricolour on international platforms, the likes of [boxer] Mary Kom and [weightlifter] Mirabai Chanu. You are saying you don’t matter in this country, your State doesn’t matter. If you have an iota of concern for this State, there would have been no silence in this House nor in the Presidential address. If you want to doubt the nationality and the nationalism of the people of that State, you must realise that these people have fought for this country,” Mr. Akoijam said.

BJP’s Nishikant Dubey intervened saying it was the party that made Mary Kom an MP. Ms. Kom was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 2016.

“We gave sports university to Manipur, we removed the AFSPA, my uncle who was serving the CRPF was killed in Manipur, he (referring to Mr. Akoijam) doesn’t know what a martyr means. It is due to the Congress that Manipur is in such a state,” Mr. Dubey said.

Mr. Akoijam continued his speech saying the northeast remains outside of the Indian history textbooks and that is why they are “treated as the others and that is why this silence”.

“The silence on Manipur tragedy is not unique, it is a reflection of this general continuity of colonialism. A national party like BJP will be comfortable with the silence on Manipur… If you hear the anxiety and pain in my voice please go back and see the 60,000 people languishing in relief camps, don’t talk about Partition Remembrance Day till then,” he said.

Amid PM Modi’s dig at the Opposition MPs, the loud uproar of ‘Manipur ko Nyay Do’ drowned out PM Modi’s voice in the Lok Sabha.

The Opposition has also been seeking a debate on the recent NEET 2024 examination debacle, which rocked the future of several aspirants amid rampant paper leaks and exam cancellations.

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