Bishwajit spells out BJP's stand against blockade politics
Source: The Sangai Express
Imphal, January 02 2017:
BJP Manipur Pradesh general secretary (organisation) and MLA Thongam Bishwajit has categorically stated that the BJP has a concrete stand on the indefinite economic blockade being imposed by the United Naga Council (UNC) on the National Highways leading to Manipur.
He also appealed to all the people to study whether it is Congress or BJP which works closer to NSCN-IM.
In a special interview given to AIR Imphal and broadcast today, Bishwajit stated that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued an official directive on December 12 which clearly stated that the indefinite blockade is illegal and should be lifted immediately.
No such directive was ever issued when Congress party was in power at the Centre.
MHA Internal Security Special Secretary Mahesh Kumar Single was sent to Imphal for two days to take stock of the impact of the economic blockade.
Chief of Army Staff Dalbir Singh Suhag too was also sent to the State.
Moreover, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju too came to the State.
The Central Government never acted like this when Congress was at the helm of affairs at New Delhi, Bishwajit said.
All these measures taken up by the Central Government clearly demonstrate BJP's position on economic blockades.
Although the economic blockade came into force from November 1, the State Government wrote to the Centre seeking intervention only on November 11.The State Government ought to come out with a convincing explanation for their inordinate delay in informing the Centre about the blockade.
As per the 7th Schedule of the Indian Constitution, law and order is a State subject and the Centre cannot interfere in law and order matters.
Nonetheless, a team of BJP Manipur Pradesh led by president Ksh Bhabananda went to Delhi and urged Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to intervene into the crisis.
Subsequently, a large number of paramilitary forces were sent to the State and they assisted in bringing more than 1000 loaded vehicles after December 26, said the BJP MLA.
When Congress party was in power both at Imphal and New Delhi, there was a record breaking economic blockade which lasted for more than 100 days, leaders of the State Government never asked the Central Government to persuade NSCN-IM and get the economic blockade lifted.
But now when BJP is in power, Congress leaders of the State have been shouting that the Central Government should get the economic blockade lifted.
This is nothing but political propaganda aimed at misleading the masses and score political mileage, he asserted.
During his visit to Imphal, Kiren Rijiju clarified that neither he nor Rajnath Singh nor any official of the Ministry of Home Affairs ever asked the State Government to release the two arrested UNC leaders, contrary to Chief Minister O Ibobi's claim.
The State has not yet responded to this clarification.
When Congress party was in power at the Centre, weapons seized from NSCN-IM cadres slain in encounter at Chandel were returned to the militant outfit at the instruction of the Centre's Congress Government.
Again NSCN-IM cadres apprehended with weapons at Senapati were escorted up to Mao and freed.
However, since BJP came to power at the Centre, the Central Government has so far not asked the State Government to release any arrested NSCN-IM cadre.
NSCN-IM was openly recruiting new cadres in some hill areas of Manipur including Tamenglong district which is the home district of the State's Home Minister.
The outfit could have never made new recruitments unless it had a tacit understanding with the State Government.
Protection of Manipur's territorial integrity was enlisted in the UPA-I's Common Minimum Programme and it was removed later, Bishwajit said.
A former president of the MPCC signed a document which endorsed integration of Naga inhabited areas and the same document was submitted to the President of India.
And the same Congress leader signed another document with the Naga Integration Council pledging support to Naga integration.
Given these facts, it is Congress party's position, not BJP's which is doubtful regarding the territorial integrity of Manipur, said the BJP MLA.
Although the previous BJP-led NDA Government signed the Bangkok Agreement with NSCN-IM without territorial limits, the same Government removed the phrase 'without territorial limits' in respect for the sentiments of Manipuri people.
Again, the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee during his visit to Kohima in December 2013 categorically stated that the demand for integration of Naga inhabited areas could not be pursued without the consent of the neighbouring States, Bishwajit added.