In a gesture of apparent desperation, a 10-party Opposition delegation in Manipur, led by Congress Legislature Party leader and former chief minister O Ibobi Singh, met with Governor Anusuiya Uikey on Friday. The delegation, comprising parties such as Congress, JDU, CPM, CPI, Shiv Sena (UBT), RSP, NCP, Trinamul Congress, and the AIFB, expressed their concerns over the ongoing conflict in the state, notably sidestepping any mention of the state government headed by the BJP.
The memorandum submitted by the delegation underscored their belief in Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the “only hope” for establishing peace in Manipur. The delegation urged Governor Uikey to arrange a meeting of all political parties with Prime Minister Modi at the earliest to seek a solution to the conflict, which has claimed at least 181 lives and displaced over 67,000 individuals since May 3.
The memorandum, while drawing attention to the plight of the people of the state and how the peace committee constituted by the Union government “has not done any visible work” to restore peace and harmony in Manipur, said “only” the Centre can offer a “viable solution” to end the conflict, “considering the complexities” involved.
The Opposition’s appeal to Prime Minister Modi comes in the wake of the Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum’s threat to establish a “self-governed separate administration” in areas dominated by Kuki-Zo tribes.
The Raj Bhavan issued a statement saying governor Uikey has assured the delegation that “every possible step for initiating dialogue process will be taken up and she will pursue the Prime Minister for initiating talks with all political parties in the state,” The Telegraph reported.
The Governor assured the team that she would act fast by pursuing the Prime Minister and Central leaders for initiation of peace talks, Raj Bhavan Manipur said on X (Twitter).
The meeting at the Raj Bhavan in Imphal lasted about 45 minutes, following which the parties submitted the two-page memorandum to the governor, The Telegraph reported.
Manipur has been grappling with recurrent bouts of violence since May, with over 180 casualties reported. The clashes stem from a range of grievances, including disputes over giving Scheduled Tribe status to Meiteis and alleged attempts to relocate tribals living in protected forest areas. The ethnically diverse state is home to Meiteis, Nagas, and Kukis, each constituting a significant portion of the population residing in different regions of Manipur.
Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal valley, while tribals, which include Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40 per cent and reside mainly in the hill districts.