Indian Overseas Cong voices concern over situation in Manipur: Sam Pitroda

Washington: US-based senior Congress leader Sam Pitroda has expressed serious concern over the “alarming situation” in Manipur and called for an immediate end to violence in the northeastern state.

Violent clashes broke out in the northeastern state after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the 10 hill districts on May 3 to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Monday said that 60 people were killed, 231 injured and 1,700 houses including religious places burnt in the ethnic violence that rocked the northeastern state for the past few days.

“IOC (Indian Overseas Congress) leadership is concerned about the alarming situation in Manipur where our Christian community has suddenly suffered due to the burning of 25 churches and 500 homes,” Pitroda said in a statement on Monday in his capacity as chairman of the Indian Overseas Congress (IOC).

This must stop immediately. Peace must prevail to assure the safety, security, and well-being of all the people in the area, he said.

”Our sympathies are with the people of Manipur and the families and friends of the people affected by this violence and tragedy,” Pitroda said.

Addressing a press conference in Imphal, the Manipur chief minister said: “These are very very unfortunate incidents. I appeal to people to bring peace together at the earliest.

Singh said that 1,700 houses including temples and churches have been burnt down during the violence.

The chief minister said that Rs 2 lakh will be paid to those whose houses were destroyed and the government will rebuild them.

Expressing the strongest condemnation of all forms of violence, George Abraham, vice-chair of the Indian Overseas Congress, USA alleged that it is the repeat of the same BJP strategy of exploiting differences and targeting minority communities to gain political advantage. In a statement, IOC USA said that Manipur borders Myanmar and is home to a diverse range of ethnic groups, including Meiteis, who are a numerical majority in the state and are predominantly Hindu, and various tribal communities, who are largely Christian.