Sibal on Manipur violence: Coronavirus affects body, communal virus affects politics

Sibal distinguishes between the impact of the coronavirus, which affects only the human body, and the communal virus, which affects the body politic, resulting in enduring scars despite its transient political benefits.

Kapil Sibal,
Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal I File Photo

Amidst the recent outbreak of violence in Manipur, Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal expressed his views on Tuesday (May 23), highlighting the contrasting nature of the coronavirus and what he referred to as the “communal virus.”

According to Sibal, the coronavirus solely impacts the human body, whereas the communal virus affects the body politic, leaving lasting scars despite its temporary political gains.

Two houses were torched by a mob in Imphal East district after four armed men, including a former MLA, forced people to shut their shops on Monday, police officials said.

Also Read: Manipur remains tense but calm as fresh violence reported

In a tweet, Sibal said, “Manipur burning again. Earlier clashes led to: 70 dead, 200 injured. Coronavirus only affects the human body, communal virus affects the body politic.”

“If it (communal virus) spreads, the consequences are unimaginable. Its political dividends are temporary, its scars are permanent!” said Sibal, who was a Union minister during UPA 1 and 2 and had quit the Congress in May last year. He was elected to the Rajya Sabha as an Independent member with the Samajwadi Party’s support.

Sibal recently floated a non-electoral platform Insaaf aimed at fighting injustice.

The Opposition has been hitting out at the BJP governments at the Centre and in the state for the violence in Manipur.

In fresh violence in Manipur, no casualty was reported due to the arson.

Around 10,000 Army and Assam Rifles jawans are currently deployed in the state.

Also Read: Manipur: Fresh violence erupts, houses torched; people forced to shut shops

Earlier, clashes had broken out in Manipur after a Tribal Solidarity March was organized in the hill districts on May 3 to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

The violence in Manipur was preceded by tension over the eviction of Kuki villagers from reserve forest land, which had led to a series of smaller agitations.

Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley. Tribals — Nagas and Kukis — constitute another 40 per cent of the population and reside in the hill districts.

The ethnic clashes claimed over 70 lives and some 10,000 army and paramilitary personnel had to be deployed to restore normalcy in the northeastern state.

(With agency inputs)