‘One more Mann ki Baat, but silent on Manipur’: Congress’ jibe at Modi’s radio show

Wrecked remains of houses and shops seen following fresh violence that occurred in several areas of Manipur, on 12 June 2023ANI

As the monthly radio programme of Prime Minister Narendra Modi completed its 102nd episode on Sunday, Congress hit out at the PM for not speaking on the ongoing violence in Manipur in the last episode aired today.

Congress general secretary in charge of communications Jairam Ramesh while taking to Twitter came down heaving on PM Modi and said that he patted himself on the back for India’s great capabilities in disaster management, but was “maun” (silent) on Manipur violence.

“So one more Mann ki Baat but Maun on Manipur. The PM patted himself on the back for India’s great capabilities in disaster management. What about the entirely man-made (actually self-inflicted) humanitarian disaster that is confronting Manipur. Still no appeal for peace from him,” said in a tweet.

He further said, “There is a non-auditable PM-CARES Fund but does the PM even care for Manipur is the real question.”

Violence gripped Manipur on 3 May after clashes erupted during a rally organised by the All Tribals Students Union (ATSU) to protest the demand for the inclusion of Meiteis in the Scheduled Tribe (ST) list.

The monthly radio programme of the Prime Minister was aired at 11:00 am.

Meanwhile, PM Modi’s monthly radio programme recently completed its 100th episode which was aired on 26 April live across the country.

The 100th edition of the ‘Mann ki Baat’ programme made its global broadcast on 30 April. The programme was also broadcasted live at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

The programme, which started on 3 October, 2014, has become a key pillar of the government’s citizen-outreach programme addressing multiple social groups such as women, youth, and farmers and has spurred community action.

In today’s programme, PM lauded India’s increasing capability to deal with natural disasters.

Stating that the strength of disaster management that India has developed over the years has become an “example”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday hailed the people of Kutch for facing Cyclone Biparjoy with “full courage and preparedness.”

Congress senior leader Jairam Ramesh along with Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee members addresses the media during a press conference regarding the Manipur violence, at the party HQ in New Delhi on 17 June 2023

Cyclone Biparjoy, which originated in the Arabian Sea and swept across the west coast of India, made landfall on Thursday night around 10 km north of the Jakhau Port in Kutch, Gujarat.

“The strength of disaster management that India has developed over the years is becoming an example today. Cyclone Biparjoy wreaked so much havoc in Kutch, but the people of Kutch faced it with full courage and preparedness,” said PM Modi during the 102nd episode of his monthly radio address ‘Mann Ki Baat’.

The PM, however, targeted Congress rule in the past and said the 1975 Emergency, imposed by the then Indira Gandhi-led Central government was a “ dark period” in Indian history adding that millions opposed it with all their might.

“India is the mother of democracy. We consider our democratic ideals as paramount, we consider our Constitution as Supreme... therefore, we can never forget June the 25th. This is the very day when Emergency was imposed on our country. It was a dark period in the history of India. Lakhs of people opposed the emergency with full might. Many books have been written on these atrocities; the punishment meted out by the police and administration. The supporters of democracy were tortured so much during that time that even today, their mind shudders,” PM Modi said.

Army conducts flag march in Imphal Valley

The Indian Army conducted a flag march in the violence-affected area in Imphal Valley.

Meanwhile, authorities in Imphal East district on Saturday decided to relax curfew hours from 5:00 am to 5:00 pm on Sunday, (18 June) in order to facilitate the general public to purchase essential items including medicines and food items.

As per the circular issued by the district magistrate, Imphal East, Khumanthem Diana Devi, “Total public curfew under Section 144 CrPC, 1973 prohibiting the movement of any person outside their respective residences imposed in Imphal East District vide this Office Order dated 3rd May 2023 is hereby relaxed from 5:00 am to 5:00 pm on 18th June 2023 except for the area for which the schedule is given below in order to facilitate the general public to purchase essential items including medicines and food supplies”.

Indian Army soldiers recover 22 automated weapons in the last 24 hours during the Joint Combing Operations across the state, in Manipur on 10 June 2023

The areas where the curfew will be relaxed include the Hatta crossing to the RDS crossing, the Imphal River from Sanjenthong to Minuthong, Minuthong to Hatta crossing, and RDS crossing to Sanjenthong.

Curfew has been imposed under section 144 in Manipur after clashes broke out between Kuki and the Meitei communities on 3 May. The violence that followed has claimed over 100 lives and displaced thousands.

On Friday, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) office in Manipur’s Thongju was vandalised by a mob, officials said.

Nine people were killed while more than 10 were injured in fresh violence in Manipur on Wednesday.

The state government has further extended the shutdown on the internet in the state up to 20 June.

On Wednesday, miscreants tried to burn down the official residence of Manipur minister Nemcha Kipgen in Imphal West. His home was partly burnt.

Violence gripped Manipur on 3 May after clashes erupted during a rally organised by the All Tribals Students Union (ATSU) to protest the demand for the inclusion of Meiteis in the Scheduled Tribe (ST) list.

Manipur CM asks Mizoram’s counterpart for assistance to establish peace

Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh has asked Mizoram CM Zoramthanga’s assistance in resolving the issue of the state which is witnessing ethnic clashes since last month, the latter said on Sunday.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma meets Manipur CM N Biren Singh on the backdrop of the ongoing Manipur situation, in Imphal on 10 June 2023

Taking to Twitter, Mizoram CM said that his government bemoans the ongoing violence in Manipur and it has taken certain steps and measures to abate it.

“Furthermore, the request is to take means and measures for the Mizoram Meitei to settle peacefully. I assured Manipur CM stating that Govt of Mizoram bemoans the ongoing violence and that it has taken certain steps and measures to abate it,” Mizoram CM Zoramthanga said in a tweet.

He further said that the Manipur government is “supportive” of the steps taken by the Manipur government.

“I also apprised the Chief Minister of Manipur that we, the people of Mizoram are empathetic towards the Meitei and that the government and the NGOs have taken measures for peace and security. Therefore, for the Meitei who are residing in Mizoram, they have nothing to fear as long as they are in Mizoram. We shall go on to promote safety and security for them,” Mizoram CM added.

RSS urges govt, people to restore peace in state

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on Sunday urged the Manipur government, the local administration and the people of the Northeast state, racked by ethnic violence, to make a common cause in restoring peace at the earliest and overcome the “trust deficit”, which, it claimed, was the root cause for the prevailing situation.

An official release, quoting RSS general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale, stated, “The continuous violence that has been going on in Manipur for the last 45 days is extremely worrisome. The violence and uncertainty that started in Manipur after the protest rally organised in Churachandpur on 3 May, 2023, at the time of Lai Haraoba festival is to be condemned.”

“It is very unfortunate that the spate of unrest and violence that erupted afterwards among those who have been living a peaceful life with mutual harmony and cooperation for centuries has not yet stopped,” it added.

The release stated further that the RSS stands with the people, who have been displaced amid the festering violence, and believes that a solution to any problem could be arrived at through “mutual discussions”.

“The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh stands with the displaced persons and other victims of the Manipur crisis, numbering more than 50,000, during this period of terrible grief. RSS is of the considered opinion that there is no place for violence and hatred in a democratic setup, and also believes that the solution of any problem is possible only through mutual dialogue and expression of brotherhood in a peaceful atmosphere,” the release stated.

Security personnel stand guard during a protest over the killing of nine civilians, at Konung Mamang in Imphal on 15 June 2023

“RSS appeals to everyone to overcome the deficit of trust among each other, which is the cause of the present crisis. It requires comprehensive efforts from both communities. It can be resolved by addressing the sense of insecurity and helplessness among the Meiteis and the genuine concerns of the Kuki community simultaneously,” it added.

“The Sangh appeals to the government, including local administration, police, military, and central agencies, to take every possible step to immediately stop this painful violence, ensure the seamless supply of relief materials among the displaced, and take necessary actions to maintain peace and harmony,” the RSS stated further.

The Sangh, which is seen as the ideological parent of the BJP, also called on civil society, political outfits and the common people to put in an effort and ensure the “safety of human life” in Manipur.

“RSS also appeals to the entire civil society, political groups in Manipur, and common people to take every possible initiative to put an end to the present chaotic and violent situation and also ensure the safety of human life and permanent peace in the state of Manipur,” it added.