European Parliament Adopts Strongly-Worded Resolution On Manipur Violence, India Says ‘Unacceptable Interference’

Some of the motions tabled in the EU Parliament by six parliamentary groups, criticised the Modi government’s handling of the two-month-long violence in Manipur - a move that New Delhi termed as an unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of India.

Fresh Violence in Manipur

More than two months have passed since ethnic violence first gripped the northeastern state of Manipur and yet, incidents of killing, arson and burning of houses continue to be reported. Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi landed in Paris for a two-day visit on Thursday, the European Parliament adopted a motion on the ongoing ethnic violence in Manipur, denouncing “in the strongest terms nationalistic rhetoric deployed by leading members of the BJP party” – a move that New Delhi termed as an “unacceptable interference” in the internal affairs of India. 

Ethnic clashes between the majority Meiteis and minority Kuki tribal communities erupted on May 3, after the state’s BJP government was ordered by the high court to take a decision on granting a Scheduled Tribe status to the Meiteis within four weeks. Since then, more than 150 people have been killed, several thousand injured and more than 54,000 driven from their homes.

Some of the motions tabled in the EU Parliament by six parliamentary groups, criticised the Modi government’s handling of the two-month-long violence in the state. "There have been concerns about politically motivated, divisive policies promoting Hindu majoritarianism, and about an increase in activity by militant groups," the joint resolution stated. It further condemned the state government's decision to impose curfew and curtail internet access which "severely hinders information-gathering and reporting by the media and civil society groups." 

Other resolutions referred to the broader misuse of Indian laws like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), UAPA terror law and the Foreign Contributions Regulatory Act (FCRA) by authorities in the country. India however, described the resolution as a “reflection of colonial mindset”. External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said such interference in India's internal affairs is "unacceptable". Indian authorities at all levels, including the judiciary, are seized of the situation in Manipur and are taking steps to maintain peace and harmony and law and order, he further said.

This is not the first time India has faced criticism from western institutions and activists. 

Modi’s first state visit to Washington DC recently was also cast under a shadow after former US President Barack Obama reiterated the need to protect the rights of Muslims in Hindu-majority India. Several Democrat members of the US Congress even boycotted Modi’s speech and urged President Biden to address concerns over growing religious intolerance, shrinking political space and curbing of freedom of press in India.

The move at the European parliament comes days after the US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti offered US assistance in dealing with the situation in Manipur, saying that this was not a “strategic” issue but a “human one”, and that “one doesn’t have to be an Indian” to feel concern about the loss of life in the state.

While Home Minister Amit Shah has visited the affected areas and conducted an all-party meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been criticised by the opposition for not making any statement on the situation or visiting the state since the violence began.