Former Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi on Saturday said that the BJP-led government under Chief Minister N Biren Singh is deflecting attention from the core issue of the seven-month long violence in the state.
Speaking to the media in a press conference held at Congress Bhawan, Ibobi emphasised that people anticipated a swift resolution to the violence for a return to normalcy. However, he criticised the government for discussing issues like ‘saving the youth,’ ‘territorial integrity,’ ‘war on drugs,’ ‘illegal immigrants,’ and ‘protecting forests,’ which he argued have been ongoing concerns for many years.
Expressing scepticism, Ibobi suggested that the N Biren Singh-led Manipur government has not earnestly expedited efforts in the war on drugs. The former CM pointed out, “Despite various drug seizures in Manipur, there are lingering doubts about the government’s commitment to addressing the issue. A notable incident involved the arrest of Autonomous District Council chairman Lhukhosei Zou in Tengnoupal, linked to the seizure of drugs worth 20 crore,” he said.
Despite urging the government to hand over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation, it remained unaddressed, casting doubt on the government’s sincerity in tackling the drug problem in Manipur. This raises questions about their true commitment to combating the drug issue, he added.
Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee president Meghachandra Keisham criticised the government’s performance under the ‘double-engine’ administration, stating, “Despite claims of development, the people of Manipur are in pain, and pleas from different quarters fall on deaf ears. Over 50,000 individuals in relief camps endure the consequences of the current situation, all while having the audacity to blame the Congress party. If only there were a cure for shamelessness, perhaps we would witness genuine peace in Manipur.”
In a reference to recent political rhetoric in Delhi, Keisham remarked, “BJP leaders, after their visit to Delhi, continued their blame game at the inauguration of Sanaleibak daily and at an event at Rupmahal Theatre. They conveniently pointed fingers at the Opposition party, which currently holds no power. While the government boasts about development, it’s crucial for the public to heed the voices of civil society organisations, experienced leaders, intellectuals, and scholars who have expressed concerns about Manipur. It is high time for meaningful discussions among the public.”