A 21-member delegation of the Opposition alliance, I.N.D.I.A, boarded a flight to Imphal on Saturday, saying their two-day visit to violence-hit Manipur will be aimed at assessing the real situation on the ground. An exclusive ANI footage showed the members of the delegation boarding a flight to Imphal on Saturday morning.
Before departing for the Northeast state, the Opposition leaders said they will focus on taking stock of the situation on the ground and ‘not raise political issues’ during their two-day visit.
Speaking to ANI before boarding the Manipur flight, Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who is part of the 21-member delegation, said, “The PM hasn’t even made an attempt to visit Manipur as yet. Only after receiving a jolt from the Opposition did the Centre wake up to the situation.” Earlier, on Saturday, Chowdhury, who heads the Congress in his native West Bengal, said the visit was about understanding the “real situation” in Manipur.
The state has been racked ehtnic strife and violence over an order by the Manipur High Court, asking the state government to consider adding the Meitei community to the list of Scheduled Tribes. The visit follows a chorus from the Opposition members for a debate on the Manipur situation and a statement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which has resulted in repeated disruptions and adjournments in both Houses of Parliament.
“We are not going there to raise political issues but to understand the pain and plight of the people of Manipur. We have been appealing to the government to find a solution to the issues that are plaguing the state,” Chowdhury told ANI.
“It isn’t the law and order but the communal violence there that we are worried about. The issues in Manipur are affecting neighbouring states as well. The government has not fulfilled its responsibility (to restore peace and law and order). We are going to assess the real situation on the ground in Manipur,” Chowdhury added.
Gaurav Gogoi, a Congress Lok Sabha member from Assam, who tabled a motion of no confidence against the Centre over the Manipur situation, told ANI, “We wish to place the concerns and plight of the people of Manipur before the Parliament. Those who used to talk about one India have split Manipur along ethnic lines.” DMK MP Kanimozhi said the Opposition delegation has sought permission to meet the Manipur Governor during their two-day visit to the violence-hit state.
“We are going to meet the people of Manipur and tell them that we stand with them and are fighting for them. We have asked for permission to meet the Manipur Governor as well. We expect the PM to give a detailed statement in Parliament after a discussion on Manipur,” said, Kanimozhi.