‘Why is it that no other institutions are attacked? Why are only educational institutions run by Christians attacked?’
Hibi Eden, who represents Ernakulam in the Lok Sabha, recently visited relief camps in Manipur and also churches that were destroyed in the violence.
“People of the state — MPs, MLAs, the political parties — everybody has lost faith in the chief minister. Still, they are holding onto him,” the Congress MP from Kerala, tells Rediff.com‘s Shobha Warrier in the concluding part of a two-part interview.
- Part 1 of the Interview: ‘All of them were worried how they would survive’
Did you get the feeling that the majority Hindu community is opposed to the minority Christian community in Manipur during your visit?
Absolutely. My question is simple: Why is it that only Christian institutions are attacked?
Why is it that no other institutions are attacked? Why are only educational institutions run by Christians attacked?
We are not talking politics or religion. Let’s bring peace to the valley and the hills.
Why is it that the central government is not doing anything?
Why is the prime minister not even meeting BJP representatives from Manipur?
Why do you think the prime minister is silent about the violence in Manipur?
He has to answer the question.
When Manipur was burning, he was appreciating everybody across the country. But there was not a word on Manipur. He was totally silent on Manipur.
There is a clear agenda for this state and central governments of the BJP, and they have a critical role in what’s happening in Manipur.
That’s why they are not trying to bring back peace and order.
They have not even made a political statement regarding this. They have not made any efforts for peace talks.
People of the state — MPs, MLAs, the political parties — everybody has lost faith in the chief minister. Still, they are holding onto him.
When 4,000 arms and ammunitions were looted, why did the state police turn a blind eye? Why was no case filed?
Is there an intelligence department in the state? After one village gets burnt, people know which is the next target. But the state doesn’t know.
I am not saying this, but the local people, the party say the same thing — that both the state and central governments are supporting and providing arms and ammunition.
All those we have spoken to including BJP MLAs have expressed their anguish. They are not happy with what the chief minister is doing.
They are in Delhi to meet the prime minister, the tribal minister, the home minister, but they are not able to meet anybody.
The Kukis are asking for a separate hill council. Do you think that’s a solution to the problem?
It is not at all a solution to the problem.
Unfortunately, if they want something from the administration, they have to come to the valley, which I don’t think they like.
In Manipur, if one tribal loses a house, it is lost forever, unlike for example in Kerala, if a person loses his house in a calamity, the government compensates his loss.
In Manipur, there is nobody to question if someone takes away the land of a tribal.
The reason why they are asking for Separation Only Solution (SOS), Greater Nagaland, Greater Mizoram, etc is because they are not getting justice.
They are not able to go to the valley for their day-to-day work. They feel neglected by the state. That’s why they are asking for a separate administration.
Experts warn that dividing a state on ethnic lines is a bad precedent…
Yes, you should never divide a state. But the state should be capable of maintaining law and order situation in the state.
What is the solution to this problem?
The state and central forces should act. They should take measures to bring law and order and peace in the valley and the hills.
First of all, the government should be impartial. They should have the political will and courage to act.
Even when an attack happens in the presence of the military forces, they don’t do anything.
Do you fear the violence spreading to other north eastern states?
An elected government should take decisions that would protect the identity of the state.
This is not the first time I have gone to Manipur. As a student leader, I have gone to Manipur University to organise student meetings, for them to interact with Rahul Gandhi.
It was such a beautiful and peace-loving state with its women empowered.
Those women are today carrying sticks and searching our vehicles!
- Manipur’s Tragedy
Feature Presentation: Rajesh Alva/Rediff.com
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