Manipur: BJP MLA alleges 'complicity' of state; says PM has 'misplaced priorities'
Manipur BJP MLA Paolienlal Haokip has alleged “complicity of the state” in the ethnic violence as one of the reasons why it took time to be contained. Haokip is one of the 10 tribal legislators of the northeastern state who wrote to Chief Minister N Biren Singh in May, demanding a separate administration for the Kuki-dominated districts in the state.
“Proof of state complicity can clearly be discerned from the fact that what started out as a purely ethnic-communal violence was later on attempted to be portrayed by the chief minister as the state’s war on ‘narco terrorists’,” Mr Haokip wrote in an opinion article for India Today.
The 10 MLAs who wrote the letter in May, seven of them from the BJP, had also alleged that the violence was perpetrated by the valley-majority Meitei community and was “tacitly supported” by the BJP-run state government. The chief minister had rejected the demand for a separate administration, saying “the territorial integrity of Manipur will be protected”.
“The ‘narco terrorists’ narrative seemed to be aimed at justifying the use of state forces to aid the radicalised Meitei militia in attacking and burning down Kuki-Zo settlements in the foothills surrounding the Imphal valley, beyond which it doesn’t seem to hold much water,” Haokip wrote. Conflict over rights under the Constitution which had been simmering since the pre-statehood days was another reason for the prolonged violence, he added.
The BJP MLA minced no words and said the chief minister “is known to be hand in glove” with radical groups like Meitei Leepun and Arambai Tenggol, who he alleged were “the main executors of the ethnic cleansing of Kuki Zo community”.
In another interview with Newslaundry, the BJP MLA from Saikot in Manipur’s Churachandpur district said he believes that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has “misplaced priorities”. He and several other MLAs from Manipur have been still trying to meet with PM Modi, he added.
Haokip also went on to say that all the BJP MLAs from the hills are considering not only quitting as lawmakers but also resign from the BJP even as he expressed his angst over the prime minister’s refusal to respond to their written request for a meeting with them to discuss the ethnic strife in Manipur.