In Manipur, Rahul Gandhiappeals for peace; meets governor, victims at relief camps

Imphal: We have seen devastation and absolute despair in Manipur, says Venugopal

BY | Saturday, 1 July, 2023

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday appealed for peace in Manipur, saying “violence is no solution” as he met Governor Anusuiya Uikey, members of civil society groups and victims of violence lodged in relief camps on the concluding day of his visit to the restive state.

He also urged the government to improve “basic amenities” at the camps.

Gandhi described the events in Manipur as a tragedy which is “painful” for the state and the country.

“Peace is the way forward and everybody should now talk about peace and start moving towards it. I am here and will help in any way I can to bring peace to this state,” he told reporters outside Raj Bhavan after meeting Uikey.

“I share the pain of the people of Manipur. It is a horrible tragedy. It is extremely sad and painful for all the people of Manipur and the people of India as well,” he said.

Talking about his visit to relief camps in Imphal, Churachandpur and Moirang, he said, “One of the things I would say to the government is that the basic amenities at the camps need to be improved. Food needs to be improved. Medicines need to be supplied. Such complaints have come from the camps.”

In a tweet later, he said: “Nothing will be achieved with violence – An appeal for the need to move towards peace is made to the people of the state. I am ready to offer any help to help unite Manipur and for peace.”

Congress general secretary, organisation, K C Venugopal, who accompanied Gandhi during his Manipur visit also tweeted, saying, “We have seen devastation and absolute despair in Manipur. The people are living in totally pathetic conditions in relief camps and have lost all hope.”

“Led by Sh. Rahul Gandhi ji, we met the Hon’ble Governor to apprise her of the situation in the relief camps and urged her to take immediate steps to restore peace and normalcy in the state,” he said while sharing pictures with Uikey.

Congress leaders said the governor assured that steps are being taken to restore peace in the ethnic strife-hit state.

Earlier during the day, Gandhi met members of Manipur civil society organisations here and listened to their problems.

Among those he met included the Coordination Committee on Manipur Integrity (CoCoMI), representatives of United Naga Council, the apex body of Naga community in Manipur, the Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee, and prominent personalities including JNU professor Bimol A.

He also visited two relief camps at Moirang in Bishnupur district, party officials said.

Gandhi, who reached Moirang by a chopper from Imphal, met a number of affected people and listened to their plight.

Party sources said both the camps that Rahul Gandhi visited shelter around 1,000 people.

Gandhi was accompanied by former Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh, party general secretary (organisation) KC Venugopal, PCC president Keisham Meghachandra Singh and former MP Ajoy Kumar.

He visited the INA war memorial and placed a floral tribute to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and the freedom fighters who raised the tricolour here in 1944.

“We visited Moirang and went to two relief camps. After meeting the people of the relief camps, we visited the Netaji memorial where Rahul Gandhi paid floral tributes,” Kumar said.

AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, in a tweet in Hindi, said, “Standing with the countrymen in times of trouble is true patriotism. With the message of love, peace and mutual love, the entire Congress party and all the people of the country stand with the sisters and brothers of Manipur.”

Another party general secretary Jairam Ramesh questioned the silence of the prime minister on Manipur and said Gandhi went to Manipur to listen to the people and understand the pain they are going through during this ongoing conflict.

“He has consistently appealed for peace and harmony in the state carrying forward his message all through the Bharat Jodo Yatra. He also met with Manipur’s Governor Anusuiya Uikey to apprise her of the shortage of necessary resources at relief camps.

“Meanwhile Prachar Mantri remains mute on this colossal human tragedy,” Ramesh said.

“The Prime Minister has the time and inclination to ride on the Metro to attend the centenary celebrations of the University that gave him a MA in Entire Political Science’, which clearly did not teach him how to be sensitive to situations like the one prevailing in Manipur,” he said in another tweet.

On Thursday, he had visited relief camps in Churachandpur, one of the worst affected towns in the ethnic rioting, which has plagued the northeastern state for the last two months.

High drama ensued during the trip, as his convoy of cars was stopped at Bishnupur by the local police, fearing the carcade may face attacks.

Gandhi eventually turned back and flew down to Churachandpur by a helicopter.

The Congress leader was on a two-day visit to Manipur to “bring a healing touch” to local communities.

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