Jaipur: If Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants, the fire in Manipur can be doused in two or three days by the army but he wants to keep it raging, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi told a party rally in Rajasthan on Wednesday.
He alleged that the ideology of the BJP has set Manipur on fire and added, “It has been three months, it seems that Manipur is not a part of India, it is not a state at all…. People are being killed, children are being killed, women are being raped.” If the prime minister wants to douse the fire, he can get it done by the Indian Army in two or three days but he wants to keep the fire burning, Gandhi alleged.
He also referred to his speech in Lok Sabha earlier in the day and reiterated his allegation that the politics of the BJP has “murdered Bharat Mata” in Manipur.
The rally in Mangarh Dham in Rajasthan’s Banswara district, organised on the occasion of World Tribal Day, marked the beginning of the Congress campaign for the assembly polls in Rajasthan later this year.
Gandhi criticised the BJP for calling tribal people “Vanvasi” instead of Adivasi, saying that it’s an insult to them.
The country’s land used to belong to Adivasis and they were its original owners, he said, adding the BJP coined a new word, “Vanvasi”, which means the ones who live in the forest.
“We call you Adivasi, this country is yours…. They (BJP) say you are not Adivasi, you were not the first inhabitants of India, they say you are Vanvasi, which means you are not the original owners of this country and you live in the jungle. This is an insult to you. This is an insult to Bharat Mata,” he told the gathering of largely tribal people.
“You are not Vanvasi, you are Adivasi. BJP and RSS want you to stay in the forest only…(they want that) your children should not become engineers, doctors, lawyers, businessmen. They want…to take away your rights and land,” he said.
He said the BJP calls tribal people “Vanvasi, snatches their jungles and gives them to Adani”.
He recalled that his grandmother and former prime minister Indira Gandhi had told him in his childhood that the land of the country used to belong to the tribal people.
He said that Congress wants the tribals to get their rights, their dreams to be fulfilled.
The Congress wants the tribal population to get their rights and their dreams to be fulfilled, he said. Gandhi further train his gun on the BJP over the situation in Manipur.
“Wherever the BJP people go, they try to silence and suppress the voice of India…. They have divided Manipur…. The prime minister did not utter a word,” he said.
Gandhi said he and a group of opposition MPs visited relief camps in Manipur, but the prime minister did not go to the state since the violence erupted.
In an apparent reference to BJP leaders, he said, “Wherever they go, they make one fights the other…(they) will spread hatred and violence, will use wrong words about other people, it does not benefit the country.” Manipur has been engulfed in ethnic violence since May 3. More than 150 people have been killed in clashes between the majority Meiteis and the tribal Kuki community.
Appreciating the work of the Rajasthan government, Gandhi said the Chiranjeevi Health Insurance Scheme is the best in the country.
He also launched a scheme, under which free smartphones will be given to 40 lakh women in the first phase, by handing over a mobile device to a girl student.
The beneficiaries of the scheme will be given smartphones from Thursday.
He also handed over a food packet to a beneficiary of the Annapurna scheme under which free food items including chana dal, sugar, salt (one kg each), edible oil (one litre), chilli powder, coriander powder (100 gram each) and turmeric powder (50 gram) will be given to beneficiaries.
“We work to connect people. They are spreading hatred all over the country. I took out Bharat Jodo Yatra and worked to connect the country,” he said.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Congress state president Govind Singh Dotasra, former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot and other leaders also addressed the meeting.