The third day of the no-confidence motion debate in the Lok Sabha saw Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra's rebuttal to the alleged "whataboutery" of the central government regarding the violence in Manipur.
Speaking in favour of the motion on Thursday, 10 August, Moitra said, "This no-confidence motion is to break this code of silence on Manipur, the most pressing issue of the day, where we are all supposed to 'raho chup' (keep silent)."
"This is not just a no-confidence in government motion, this is a have confidence in India motion," she added.
Prior to her address in the Lok Sabha, Moitra tweeted in reference to allegations that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had received less screen time while speaking in the House on Wednesday. "Am supposed to speak today. Am wearing a bright pink & green saree just in case shameless biased @sansad_tv focuses elsewhere during my speech," her tweet read.
Here are the key highlights from TMC MP Mahua Moitra's roughly 9-minute long speech:
Kicking off her speech with a quote from American novelist Gertrude Stein, Moitra said, "We are here to ask the question in our 'tum abhi chup raho' Republic, where the honourable prime minister tells a governor 'chup raho'. We as elected MPs in this House are routinely told 'chup raho'. This motion is to break this omertà, this code of silence on Manipur, the most pressing issue of the day where we are all supposed to 'raho chup'. And now we are told that it is the BJP's master strategy that even with this motion the honourable prime minister has not come to the House day before yesterday, he has not come yesterday, he has not yet come today."
"I don't know what is more unfortunate – that our honourable prime minister refuses to come to this House of which he is an elected member to answer us on Manipur or that he refuses to go to Manipur to reassure petrified people that peace and reconciliation are his mission," Moitra continued.
Mentioning the government's "whataboutery and false equivalences," Moitra said, "We in turn are compelled to ask, what about the violence in Haryana? I want to tell this House that Manipur is different and I will tell you why. The issue in Manipur is of a hate crime against a particular community where it is understood that police personnel of one community, possibly the same community as the chief minister, handed over women of another community to be raped and pillaged by a mob. And made every attempt to prevent those women from seeking justice."
"6,500 FIRs in three months, which state has seen this? 4,000 houses destroyed in three months, which state has seen this? 60,000 people (2 percent of the state's population) displaced, which state outside of wartime or natural calamity has seen this? 150 people dead in three months, which state has seen this? 300 places of worship destroyed, which state has seen this? An armed standoff between the Manipur state police and Assam Rifles captured on video, one controlled by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the other controlled by the state police, which state has seen this? 5,000 firearms and 6 lakh bullets looted from police stations by mobs, which state has seen this?" Moitra questioned.
"India has lost confidence in you (PM Modi). The spectacle of the prime minister of the greatest democracy bowing to religious seers of a majority in the chamber of the new Parliament fills us with shame; police manhandling and filing FIRs against champion wrestlers fills us with shame; 50 panchayats in three districts of BJP-ruled Haryana issuing letters forbidding Muslim traders entering the state fills us with shame. 'Nafrato ki jung mein ab dekho kya kya ho gaya, sabziya Hindu hui aur bakra Musalmaan ho gaya'" she remarked.
"This time we will take you on and we will win. I hear the BJP members praising their own and I quote from the Gita, "You have the right to labour only, not to the fruits of labour," she added.
Everyone asks if not Modiji, then who? After this inaction on Manipur, honourable prime minister, where you had absolute power to intervene but did not, is the cornerstone after which India will say, 'Anyone but Modi'," Moitra concluded.