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Disarmanent Pre-Condition For Talks, Home Minister Should Lead All-Party Delegation To Manipur: Sitaram Yechury

Sitaram Yechury led a four-member Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) delegation to strife-torm Manipur on a three-day visit.

Visual of widespread violence in ethnic clashes-hit Manipur
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Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury on Sunday said disrmament should be the pre-condition for peace talks beween the Meitei and tribal communities in Manipur and Union Home Minister Amit Shah should lead an all-party delegation to the state. 

Yechury, who led a four-member CPI (M) delegation to Manipur on a three-day visit, also said that dialogue and discussion are the only ways through which all the problems in India have been resolved so far and the same should happen in Manipur. 

Manipur has been in the grips of ethnic violence since May 3 when clashes erupted between the state's Meitei and tribal communities after a tribal rally in opposition to the proposed scheduled tribe (ST) status to the Meitis. Over 160 people have so far been killed and around 60,000 were reproted to have been displaced earlier. A deep sense of mistrust has emerged between the two communities and the state has been largely divided into Meitei and tribal pockets. In the monthslong violence, houses have been burnt, government buildings have been attacked, police weapons have been looted, and political establishemnts have been targeted along with religious places.

Speaking to media at the Manipur Press Club, Yechury on Sunday said the 'double engine' government of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) should double its efforts in resolving the conflict. 

"Disarmament should be a pre-condition for the talks. Talks have to begin with ceasefire, and then it should proceed on the issues," said Yechury, as per PTI. 

Manipur is infested with a number of ethnic militant groups. In addition to these ethnic militant groups, large number of police weapons have been looted since the beginning of violence from which the two warring communities have armed themselves. The Times of India reported that mobs in May looted 4,617 of different types of automatic and semi-automatic weapons and more than 6 lakh rounds of ammunition from Manipur Rifles.

Yechuri further said, "There has to be some sort of dialogue and discussion, and that is where the governments —both Centre and state— have the primary responsibility. If it's a double-engine government, then please make double-energy efforts to try and bring everybody together to a table. We have done this in the past. It is the only way all problems that India has faced in last 75 years have been resolved."

Yechury also urged the Centre to send a parliamentary delegation to the state, reported PTI, adding that he further alleed that the governments at the Centre and in the state are either incompetent or complacent, pointing to the continuing violence since May 3.

"We have told the Centre repeatedly — send a delegation of all political parties in Parliament led by Union Home Minister Amit Shah to Manipur," said Yechuri, also urging the government to hold meetings with opposition parties in the state, as per PTI.

Yechury also said there were no basic amenities at the relief camps where the people affected by the violence were staying. Earlier on Friday, the CPI (M) delegation visited the relief camps at Moirang and Churachandpur and slammed the "complicit callousness" BJP governments at Centre and in state. The delegation met Manipur Governor Anusuiya Uikey on Saturday and raised the issue with her. 

Before leaving for Manipur, Yechury had demanded the sacking of Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh. Besides Yechury, the CPI (M) delegation comprises Central Committee members Jitendra Chaudhury, Suprakash Talukdar, and Deblina Hembram. 

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The Opposition has criticised the Centre's response to the Manipur crises and has slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for being silent on the issue. It was only after over two months that Modi spoke on Manipur publicly right before the beginning of the Monsoon Session of the Parliament. Modi spoke after a video of two tribal women being paraded naked and groped surfaced online, which led to nationwide outrage. 

In June, the CPI (M) joined Congress and eight other Opposition parties blame the "politics of divide and rule in Manipur" of the BJP and called CM Singh the "architect" of the crises

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