New Delhi:

Union Sports and Youth Affairs minister Anurag Thakur on Sunday took a jibe at the Opposition parties of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (I.N.D.I.A.) delegation and asked why they are running away from discussion over the Manipur issue. 

“We have been ready to discuss the Manipur issue since day one. Union Home Minister Amit Shah also invited a discussion over the same. My first question is why the Opposition is running away from this. Second, I want to ask the opposition to share the experiences of their two-day visit to Manipur and take part in the discussion,” said Union Minister Thakur while speaking to reporters. 

Notably, the 21-member delegation of the grand Opposition alliance, on Saturday, arrived on a two-day visit to the state, which has seen ethnic strife and violence since May 3.

The 21-member Opposition delegation from both Houses included Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Gaurav Gogoi, K Suresh and Phulo Devi Netam of the Congress; Rajiv Ranjan Lalan Singh of the JDU; Sushmita Dev from Trinamool Congress; Kanimozhi from DMK; Sandosh Kumar of the CPI; AA Rahim from CPI(M), Manoj Kumar Jha of RJD; Javed Ali Khan of SP; Mahua Maji of JMM; PP Mohammed Faizal of NCP; Aneel Prasad Hegde of JDU, ET Mohammed Basheer of IUML; NK Premachandran of RSP; Sushil Gupta of AAP; Arvind Sawant of Shiv Sena (UBT); D Ravikumar of VCK; Thiru Thol Thirumavalavan also of VCK; and Jayant Singh of the RLD

Furthermore, Mr Thakur said, “The Congress regime turned out to be a failure when thousands of people were killed in Manipur. At that time, neither Indira ji (former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi), nor Rajiv ji (former PM Rajiv Gandhi) gave a statement on the same. How come they (the opposition) are seeking a statement from us?”

“The Union Home Minister had been in Manipur for four days. We took every possible step to restore peace in Manipur. The opposition should not spread chaos in order to remain in the limelight. It should take part in the discussion rather than do the politics”, said Minister Thakur. 

Speaking on Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary’s remarks on Manipur violence, Mr Thakur said, “Please be enlightened towards the situation of Bengal also. You have to fight elections from Bengal. I want to ask him if ‘all is well’ in Bengal. They do not have the time to listen to the plight of women in Bengal”. 

Earlier, on Sunday, Mr Chowdhary said that the state and the central governments turned a deaf ear to the plight of the people in Manipur. 

Moreover, Union Minister Thakur said, “The parliament is functioning. I want to request the opposition to come to the parliament, take part in the discussion, present their viewpoints and have the courage to hear the truth also”.

Significantly, since the beginning of the monsoon session of the parliament on July 20, the opposition MPs of the I.N.D.I.A. alliance have been seeking an elaborate discussion and a statement from Prime Minister Modi over the Manipur issue. The government, on the other hand, says that it is ready to hold a discussion over the same. 

The state has been witnessing an ethnic conflict since May 3 following the High Court’s order asking the state government to consider including the Meitei community under the category of Scheduled Tribes (ST). the majority community sought the ST status in order to purchase lands in the hilly areas.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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