NEW DELHI- Opposition members of the parliamentary standing committee walked out of a meeting on Thursday after their demand to discuss the situation in Manipur was denied by the panel chief.
Trinamool Congress’s Derek O’Brien, and Congress’ Digvijaya Singh and Pradip Bhattacharya were among those who walked out. The opposition leaders submitted letters to panel chairman Brijlal, saying as committee members they cannot ignore the situation in Manipur. Earlier too, O’Brien and Singh had written to Brijlal urging him to hold a meeting to discuss the situation in Manipur.
The members had gathered for a meeting with state governments of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana on the subject ‘Prison – Conditions, Infrastructure and Reforms’.”
The chairperson had informed both MPs separately the inability to hold meetings urgently on the Manipur situation, as three meetings on prison reforms have been scheduled for July. A total of seven members, including the chairman, attended the meeting.
Nearly 120 people have died and more than 3,000 injured in the ethnic violence in Manipur since May 3.
Opposition parties have criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence over the issue and blamed “the divide and rule politics of the BJP government at the Centre and in the state for having failed to contain the violence in Manipur”. In a letter dated June 19, the opposition stated that despite Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to the state, “peace is hard to come by”.
The Congress demanded that Prime Minister Modi hold an all-party meeting as the first one was convened under Home Minister Amit Shah.
Addressing a press conference at the AICC headquarters, Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi said the primary responsibility of any state government is law and order and to protect the life of its citizens. “I think the governments both in the state and at the Centre have failed to do that,” he alleged.