No scope for politics over Manipur issue after PM Modi’s statement: MoS Jitendra Singh

Jammu: Union minister Jitendra Singh on Sunday said there should be no politics over the ‘shameful’ incident in Manipur and asked opposition parties to give up their “singular agenda” of finding faults in anything related to the BJP-led government.

He also took a dig at TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over her reported remarks on the 1999 Pulwama terror attack, and said “leaders toeing the Pakistani line on the incident are harming their reputation among the masses who know the reality”.

“There is no reason for doing politics over this (Manipur incident) after having heard the prime minister on the first day in Parliament that the entire nation hangs its head in shame and nobody will be allowed to go scot-free. There is nothing much to add as Narendra Modi’s statement makes his government’s intent clear,” Singh told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.

More than 160 people have lost their lives and several have been injured since ethnic violence broke out in Manipur on May 3, when a “Tribal Solidarity March” was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status. Tension further mounted last week after a video purportedly shot on May 4 surfaced online, showing two women from one of the warring communities being paraded naked by a group of men from the other side.

Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal valley, while tribals, including Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40 per cent and reside mostly in the hill districts. Singh, the Minister of State for Prime Minister’s Office, alleged that the Opposition has always been doing selective condemnations of killings and other human rights violations.

“It is because all the opposition parties have always followed singular agenda of finding faults with anything related to the Narendra Modi government. And in their keenness to condemn and find faults, they go to the extent of finding fault with mother India,” he said.

On the Congress-led opposition unity efforts ahead of the 2024 general elections, the minister said their joining hands itself means that they are feeling weak and are coming together to find out how best to live up to the challenges posed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) under Modi.

Asked about the reported remarks of TMC supremo Banerjee that the Pulwama attack was “stage-managed”, he said the statement is the echo of what Pakistan is saying.

“They say it was stage-managed, something that would be like talking on behalf of Pakistan… In matters of national interest, it has been a tradition, convention and practice over the past 75 years of independence that all political parties should rise above politics as far as the Pulwama incident is concerned,” Singh added.