New Delhi: A delegation of 21 INDIA bloc MPs left for a two-day visit to Manipur on Saturday. The delegation aims at assessing the ground situation first-hand and making recommendations to the government and Parliament for a solution to the problems in the violence-hit state.
Three MPs from Kerala NK Premachandran (RSP), A A Rahim (CPM) and E T Mohammed Basheer (IUML), and Lakshadweep MP Mohammad Faizal (NCP) are part of the delegation.
Ahead of the visit, Congress' deputy leader in Lok Sabha Gaurav Gogoi called for an inquiry under a retired Supreme Court judge into the violence in Manipur.
Addressing a press conference here, Congress MP and whip in Rajya Sabha Naseer Hussain said the MPs from 16 parties would visit the affected areas and people both in the valley and the hills. They would also visit two relief camps in both the places and assess the situation themselves.
The Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) leader NK Premachandran said the intent of the visit is to have a first-hand information about the happenings in the state.
"The violence is still going on so we would like to have first-hand information and suggest some solutions and recommendations to the government and Parliament before the discussion comes there," he said.
"We would like to visit the relief camps regarding rehabilitation of the victims. What is the real cause of the violence, we want to find out," he said.
Sources said the opposition bloc had written to Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh, who allowed the delegation to visit the state.
The delegation would be meeting Manipur Governor Anusuiya Uikey on Sunday morning, Hussain said.
The Congress leader said the MPs have sought to use helicopters there and if allowed, they will be able to visit the far-flung areas of Churachandpur, where fresh violence has taken place.
"We have got permissions from the state government to visit the affected areas as also the relief camps. We have also got permission to meet the governor, who has allowed time to the delegation on Sunday," Hussain told reporters.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the NDA have neither the will nor the ability to resolve the Manipur violence," he said, adding that ever since the Monsoon session of Parliament started, the opposition has been continuously demanding a discussion on Manipur.
"PM Modi should come to Parliament and give a statement and prepare a roadmap for peace in Manipur," he asserted.
Members of the delegation
The delegation will include Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Gaurav Gogoi of the Congress, TMC's Sushmita Dev, JMM's Mahua Maji, DMK's Kanimozhi, NCP's Mohammad Faizal, Jayant Chaudhary of RLD, Manoj Kumar Jha of RJD, N K Premachandran of RSP and T Thirumavalavan of the VCK.
JD(U) chief Rajiv Ranjan (Lalan) Singh, Aneel Prasad Hegde (JD-U), CPI's Sandosh Kumar, CPI(M)'s A A Rahim, Samajwadi Party's Javed Ali Khan, IUML's E T Mohammed Basheer, AAP's Sushil Gupta, Arvind Sawant (Shiv Sena-Uddhav Thackeray), D Ravikumar (DMK), Phulo Devi Netam and K Suresh (Congress) will also be part of the 20-member delegation which will leave on Saturday morning and return on Sunday afternoon.
Gogoi said, "The BJP wants to give the picture that everything is fine in Manipur but it is not so with violence continuing. That is why we want that an inquiry should be conducted under a retired Supreme Court judge as to how did the state government fail, how did people got access to weapons in this quantity, what was the administration doing."
"The chief minister (N Biren Singh) himself admits that there are more than 100 FIRs. Why was the administration sleeping for two months. There should be an inquiry under a retired Supreme Court judge and all INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) MPs will go to Manipur and find out the truth and will put forward that truth before Parliament," he told PTI outside Parliament.
Congress leader Naseer Hussain alleged that massacres, violence and rapes are happening in Manipur for the last 86 days.
On Friday too, he said, 47 MPs have given notice under rule 267 demanding a discussion, but the discussion is not happening in either Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha.
"Instead of talking on Manipur, PM Modi is giving advice to the chief ministers of other states. Our demand is that the prime minister should come to the House and discuss Manipur," he said.
Hussain alleged that weapons looted from government armouries are being found in houses in Manipur and added this is a matter of national security.
The opposition bloc had been demanding that a delegation of their leaders be allowed to visit the state but till now they had been denied permission in view of the situation there.
The opposition has been demanding a statement from the prime minister in Parliament on the situation in ethnic strife-torn Manipur followed by a full-fledged discussion on it.
The northeastern state of Manipur has been engulfed in ethnic violence since May 3, in which more than 160 people have lost their lives.
(With PTI inputs.)