Modi acknowledges progress in Manipur, laments lives lost and gender crimes.

During his address on the 77th Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered a message from the Red Fort’s ramparts, emphasizing the need for peace in Manipur and reaffirming the nation’s solidarity with its people. He reflected on the improved situation in Manipur, even though he expressed sorrow over the tragic loss of lives and instances of gender-based crimes that transpired in the wake of ethnic conflict that emerged in the state in early May.

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From the historic Red Fort in Delhi, Modi began his speech by acknowledging recent events, stating, “In the past few weeks, a period of violence was witnessed in the northeastern region, particularly in Manipur. Lives were lost, and the dignity of mothers and daughters was violated. However, recent reports suggest the return of tranquility.” Modi dedicated the initial portion of his speech to address the Manipur issue.

The strife in Manipur had its roots in ethnic tensions between the Kukis, a tribal group predominantly residing in the hill districts, and the Meiteis, the dominant community in the Imphal Valley. This conflict, which began on May 3, resulted in the unfortunate deaths of more than 150 individuals and the displacement of over 50,000 people within Manipur.

Modi expressed unwavering support from the nation for the people of Manipur, urging them to sustain the recent atmosphere of peace. He believed that this peaceful environment would facilitate solutions to the challenges faced by the state. Modi further assured that both the state and central governments were collaborating closely to address and resolve the issues confronting Manipur.

The initial clashes erupted in Churachandpur town after Kuki groups protested against a proposal to grant scheduled tribe status to the Meitei community. This contention rapidly escalated, affecting the entire state due to deeply ingrained ethnic divisions. The situation compelled tens of thousands of residents to flee their homes and neighborhoods, often crossing state borders and seeking refuge in jungles.

The Manipur violence disrupted the monsoon session of the Parliament, as the Opposition sought discussions and a statement from Modi on the matter. Responding to these concerns in Parliament, Modi offered reassurances to the people of Manipur, asserting that the nation stood by them and that peace would be reestablished in the state. Addressing the Lok Sabha during a no-confidence motion, Modi emphasized, “Both the state and central governments are tirelessly working to ensure the harshest punishments for the guilty. …I want to convey to the people of Manipur, especially the women and daughters, that the entire nation supports you.”

In this comprehensive narrative, Prime Minister Modi’s statements during his Independence Day address and in Parliament underscore his concerns for Manipur’s peace and his commitment to resolving the challenges the state faces.

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