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Manipur Was Burning, Our Leaders Were Busy Tweeting About Karnataka Elections

Manipur was burning but for our netas, Karnataka assembly election campaigning seemed more important.

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Video Producer: Mayank Chawla

Video Editor: Prajjwal Kumar, Abhishek Sharma

“If a room in your house is on fire, will you sleep in a different room? If dead bodies are decaying in a room in your house, will you pray in a different room?”

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In violence-hit Manipur, over 60 people have been killed in incidents of arson and firing. The incidents of displacement and people escaping violence were reported. But for our netas, Karnataka assembly election campaigns seemed more important.

Instead of condoling the violence in Manipur, our netas were tweeting about the Karnataka elections. And we are forced to ask, Janab, Aise Kaise? 

The Quint studied tweets of political leaders on violence in Manipur and Karnataka elections. 

Leaders like PM Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. 

PM Modi has tweeted 102 times about Karnataka elections, but zero times for Manipur violence. There have 48 tweets about things other than Karnataka elections and Manipur. 

As for Rahul Gandhi, he tweeted about Karnataka elections at least 10 times, but only one tweet about Manipur. 

There have been 63 tweets about Karnataka elections by Home Minister Amit Shah and 38 tweets about other things but not one for Manipur. 

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Did Manipur Violence Escalate in a Day?

Manipur’s majority community, the Meiteis, have been demanding status of Scheduled Tribe for a very long time. A petition was also submitted in Manipur High Court. 

In March 2023, the Manipur High Court directed the state to consider inclusion of Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribe list. Since then, the tensions between tribal communities have escalated. The Manipur government has failed to gauge the intensity of the escalations. 

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Wasn’t This an Important Issue for ‘Double-engine’ Govt?

Manipur has a population if 30-35 lakh, divided into Meiteis, Nagas, and Kukis. The Meiteis are mostly Hindus and Kukis and Nagas are Christians. 

Meiteis are 50 percent of Manipur’s population. In Manipur legislative assembly consisting of 60 seats, Meiteis have 40 seats. They even have a stronghold over the political developments in the state. The state is also divided in two parts — the valley and hills. Manipur’s 16 districts are spread across 10 percent of the valley which houses 53 percent population from the Meitei community. 

And 90 percent of the hill area, which houses 42 percent of Nagas and Kukis and other communities. 

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The Meiteis community has maintained a census based on refugee status with the cut-off date of 1970 and the implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

According to them, illegal migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh are taking refuge in the area. The Meiteis have also questioned the right of Kukis to buy land in the valley. According to Section 371C of the Indian Constitution, the tribal communities living in the hills have a special privilege. The tribal communities are angry at the Meitei community because they fear “eviction from the forests”. 

Another reason is the government’s eviction drive in Manipur’s Churchandpur. Due to the stronghold in politics, the Meiteis already enjoy reservations under the EWS, OBC, SC categories. 

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Why was a solution to these issue of Meiteis and tribal communities not sought earlier? Who is giving the valley vs hill debate a religious colour? Why was violence allowed to flare up in sensitive areas of Manipur? Who is responsible for the death of over 60 people? Why did the political leaders chose to focus on Karnataka when a state was burning in the country? 

“Remember, the

death of a child,

death of a woman,

shooting of a man,

is not the downfall of the government,

but the whole nation.”

- Sarveshwar Dayal Saxena, Poet

And that is why we are forced to ask, Janab, Aise Kaise?

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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