Amit Shah’s Peace Pitch In Manipur Dodges Controversial Law AFSPA

Amit Shah campaigned for the Manipur elections.


The simmering tension over the controversial military law AFSPA did not feature in Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s campaign on Wednesday for elections starting next week in Manipur, as he promised to hold peace talks with the state’s Kuki militant groups and bring peace in the next five years.

As the problem of Bodo militancy was solved in neighbouring Assam, no Kuki youth will have to carry arms anymore, Mr Shah said in an election rally in Manipur’s Churachandpur district, remaining completely silent on the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) which gives the military sweeping powers over much of the northeast and has been in focus since a botched encounter in Nagaland left 14 locals and one soldier dead in December.

Militant outfits such as Kuki National Organisation and United People’s Front were demanding a separate state for the Kuki tribe in Manipur. The government has signed a Suspension of Operation (SoO) with them.

“Have confidence in us, we will talk to all Kuki organisations, and a new life will be given to all Kuki youths to enable them to join the development of the nation, of the hills and of Manipur under PM Modi,” Mr Shah said.

“We have brought them (Bodo rebels) to the path of development and today, no Bodo youths have weapons in their hands. Instead, they have motorcycle keys, keys to industries and laptops,” Mr Shah claimed.

The same has been done in Karbi areas and more than 9,500 people associated with militancy in the North East have surrendered and joined the mainstream, the BJP leader said in the poll rally.

Urging the people to bring the BJP back in power for the second time in a row in Manipur, Shah claimed that Chief Minister N Biren Singh in the last five years has freed the state from bandhs and blockades and is leading the state to the path of peace and development.

He attacked the Congress claiming that the state was known for militancy, drugs and arms trafficking, blockades and corruption during its rule.

Under the BJP, all these have been substituted with development, connectivity, infrastructure, sports and industries, Mr Shah said, claiming that the state had been “transformed” over the past five years.

“During the time of the Congress, there were three Is – Instability, Insurgency and Inequality. During the BJP rule, the Is are Innovation, Infrastructure and Integration,” the Union Minister said.

He claimed that the Congress wanted the people of the hills and the valley to fight against each other to suit its politics, whereas the BJP has led both to the path of development.

Mr Shah said Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to make Manipur the best sports hub in the country, free the youths from drugs and arms and make them Olympic gold medal winners.

The National Sports University is being set up in the state, while a decision has been made to establish one Khelo India centre in each of the 16 districts of the state to tap local talents and provide them with a platform, Mr Shah said.

He said an ‘Olympic Park’ spread over 10 acres will be built to provide training facilities to state-level players so that they become international athletes.

He said that in the last five years, the BJP government has worked hard to bring an end to violence in Manipur and make it an ideal state and in the next five years, it will be the best state in the whole region.

The assembly elections in the state will be held in two phases on February 28 and March 5 with the counting of votes on March 10.


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