Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi took more time to react to crises in Manipur more than a decade ago than Prime Minister Narendra Modi now, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma indicated through a series of tweets on Saturday.
Mr. Modi has been criticised for taking 79 days to react to the ethnic violence in Manipur after a video of a mob parading two Kuki women naked and allegedly gang-raping them surfaced a couple of days ago.
Taking to the microblogging site on Saturday, Mr. Sarma slammed Congress for “suddenly displaying immense interest in Manipur” and said it was important to rewind and look at Mr. Singh’s own response to similar crises in the northeastern State.
“The (Congress) party’s duplicity is simply alarming. During UPA’s tenure, Manipur became the blockade capital of the country,” he wrote.
He reminded that during Congress rule from 2010 to 2017, Manipur experienced highway blockades ranging from 30 days to up to 139 days a year. Petrol and LPG prices went up to ₹240 a litre and ₹1,900 per cylinder during each of these blockades, translating into a complete humanitarian crisis, he said.
Manipur saw one of the worst blockades in 2011, lasting more than 120 days. “In 2011, the then Prime Minister and UPA chairperson didn’t even utter a word for those 123 days when Manipur was burning,” he wrote.
Mr. Singh, he added, was busy bailing out private companies at that time.
In another tweet, the Chief Minister said more than 991 civilians and security personnel were killed in Manipur during 2004-2014 when Congress was ruling the nation and the State. “Since May 2014 till date, this tragic statistic has reduced by 80%,” he claimed.
“The pain arising from multi-ethnic conflicts in Manipur has its genesis in faulty policies of Congress governments during the formative years of the State. Repairing the fault lines created by 7 decades of misgovernance will take time,” Mr. Sarma said.
He claimed there has been a tremendous healing of Manipur’s social fabric since 2014 and the process of resolving decades-old ethnic conflicts will be completed under the leadership of Mr. Modi.