'I will keep quiet when Prime Minister open his mouth...' MP Bimol Akoijam slams PM Modi's silence on Manipur crisis in Parliament

"Our Prime Minister remains silent, not even uttering a word, and the President's address failed to mention this. This silence is not normal, Inner Manipur MP Bimol Akoijam delivers fiery maiden speech in Parliament

ByIFP Bureau

Updated 3 Jul 2024, 4:58 am

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In his maiden speech on the floor of the Parliament on Monday evening, Lok Sabha MP elect Angomcha Bimol Akoijam delivered a stirring address, denouncing the absence of Manipur in the Presidential address and the silence of the Central leaders on the Manipur issue. 

We are reproducing his speech verbatim:  

Sir, Mr Chairman. I thank you for giving me this time to speak. Thank you for this time as I get up to speak on a troublesome moment in the history of India that has never happened called, ‘The Tragedy of Manipur’ which is sought to be silenced by the government.

And it is an irony that such an important matter which is sought to be silenced gets an opportunity as the midnight hour approaches and this reminds me of the fact that people in my home state; the time is 2 hours ahead of Delhi, and we have been dancing on the tune of Delhi on the time that is supposed to be approaching 12 at the moment.

People like Jahnu Baruah and others have demanded for years that North East should have a separate time zone – only then you will be able to live with dignity and a sense of well-being.

The kind of priority that I can sense is this moment that I get a chance to speak Mr Speaker sir I'm just trying to…Mr chairman I'm drawing your attention to the absence of Manipur in the President's address. This is not a simple absence – it is a reminder of a Rashtra Chetna which excludes people.

You must realise that more than 60,000 people are languishing in relief camps in wretched conditions for the last one year. If anybody has read Partition of the subcontinent which I have done – I was associated with a research project – we have interviewed more than 1,500 survivors of partition of 1947, and you are witnessing the same thing.

People are living in a wretched conditions that I cannot even mention here. 60,000 people homeless is not a joke. 200 plus people died and there has been a civil warlike situation where people are armed to the teeth and roaming around and fighting each other, defending their villages, and the Indian state is a mute spectator to this tragedy for one year.


I must remind this house that each and every square centimetre of Manipur is covered by a central Armed Forces. It is one of the most militarised areas in this country where you have more armed policemen than the civil police besides the Armed Forces of the Union.

Despite this how is that 60,000 people were rendered homeless and villages in thousands were destroyed, and yet our prime minister remained mute, not even a word, and the Presidential address did not even mention that.

And I said that this silence is not normal. It is a reminder of the fact which many scholars have said that there is a continuity between colonial and the postcolonial period.

Today, we are observing a day where we begin new criminal laws, seemingly discarding the colonial heritage. But as Ashis Nandy says, Colonialism is a state of mind; it is a psychological phenomenon – it is an outlook, the way you look at the people, the way you look at the world.

And the fact that this continuity is shown by neglecting the tragedy of a state, which is the 19th state of the Union, it is amazing to see that I get an opportunity as the midnight hour approaches to register this anguish and this hurt of the denial that this country has meted it out to its own citizens in the state of Manipur.

I must ask these questions to the House, is this silence communicating to the people of the Northeast and Manipur in particular that you don't matter in the Indian State’s scheme of things?

Major Laishram Jyotin who was awarded Ashok Chakra while grappling with suicide bomber was a Manipuri, who was awarded Ashok Chakra. You are dishonouring his own state.

Major Ngangom Joydutta who was awarded Vir Chakra while fighting for this country and doing his duty as a part of the peacekeeping force in Sri Lanka in 1987, you are dishonouring this man.

You are dishonouring the likes of the youths who hold the tricolor in international platforms the likes of Mary Kom, Sarita, Kunjarani and Mirabai Chanu. You are saying that you don't matter in this country – your state doesn't matter in this country.


You are also saying that the likes of Ratan Thiyam, the icon of the culture of this country; Aribam Syam Sharma don't matter in this country.

If you have an iota of concern for this state there would not have been a silence; there would not have been a silence in this house nor in the Presidential Address. This must be registered.

If you wanted to doubt the nationality and the nationalism of the people of that state, you must realise that these people have fought for the country; these people have brought laurels to this country.

Please remember this and that is what the silence is. And I am telling you this... (Speech disrupted by a ruling MP).

75 years after Independence, can you negate this fact, we are talking about the inclusion of the Northeast history after 75 years. That’s a classic exclusion. India was an anthropological subject not a historical subject in the eyes of the colonial forces and today, the Northeast remains outside of the history of the Indian history textbook.

That is why you treat them as the ‘Other’ and that's the silence, and the silence on the Manipur tragedy is not unique; it is the reflection of this general continuity of the colonial in the post colonial.

It is sad to see a nationalist party like the BJP will feel comfortable with their silence on the tragedy of Manipur. Keep your hands on your heart and think about the 60,000 people who are languishing in relief camps, and those mothers, those widows, think of them and then you talk about nationalism. Only then we will understand what this tragedy means.

And Mr chairman, the hurt, the anger has thrown a nobody like me to be part of this temple of democracy beating the BJP cabinet minister. Think about the pain.

If you hear an anxiety, anguish and pain in my voice, please go back and see those 60,000 people languishing in the relief camp. Don't talk about partition remembrance till you bring that...I would keep quiet the moment the Prime Minister open his mouth and the Nationalist party says that Manipur is part of India and we care for the people of that state. Only then I will accept what is nationalism in our face. Thank you, Mr Chairman.


First published:


congressparliament sessionmanipur crisisAngomcha Bimok Akoijambimol akojam

IFP Bureau

IFP Bureau

IMPHAL, Manipur


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