Expressing concern over the current situation in violence-hit Manipur, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday alleged that the BJP government is not providing a clear picture of the death toll in the northeastern state where shoot-at-sight orders are in force.
She also lashed out at the BJP government at the Centre for not sending a single representative to Manipur to review the situation.
Neither Prime Minister Narendra Modi nor Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke anything about what has happened to that BJP-ruled state, the Trinamool Congress supremo said.
“I am quite tense with the situation in Manipur. We are not getting a clear picture of the number of deaths in shoot-at-sight (order) as the state government is not giving any information. I am really shocked,” Ms Banerjee said.
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh, however, said later that 60 people have lost their lives in the ethnic riots.
Manipur violence is a man-made problem, Ms Banerjee claimed.
Attacking the BJP-led central government, she alleged that Amit Shah is so busy with the Karnataka assembly elections that could not get one day to visit Manipur, though they have helicopters and planes of the defence forces.
“Manipur is burning. But no one is talking about it. Elections may come and go, but people’s lives come first. BJP is not as busy with Manipur as it is with polls. He (Amit Shah) could have spared a day and gone to Manipur. He could have come to Bengal later,” she stated.
Mr Shah is scheduled to visit West Bengal on Tuesday on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Nobel Laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore.
Ms Banerjee also said that 25 people including 18 students from the state, who were stranded in Manipur, were brought back on Monday morning.
These students were pursuing BSc, MSc and PhD courses at the Central Agricultural University in Imphal, she said, adding that the cost of the travel was borne by the state government.
Ms Banerjee said that 68 students from West Bengal are still stuck in Manipur and several people from states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Rajasthan are being provided with transit accommodation by her government.
Violent clashes broke out in the northeastern state after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the 10 hill districts on May 3 to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status, leading to the deaths of at least 54 people.
Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal valley. Tribals — Nagas and Kukis — constitute another 40 per cent of the population and live in the hill districts.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)