India is now a ‘tum abhi chup raho republic’, Mahua Moitra attacks PM

"I don't know what is more unfortunate that the hon'ble prime minister refuses to come to this House, of which he is an elected member, to answer to us on Manipur or that he refuses to go to Manipur to reassure petrified people that peace and reconciliation are his mission," she said.

New Delhi: TMC MP Mahua Moitra launched a stinging attack on the government on Thursday, August 10, and said the opposition’s no-confidence motion was actually a “have confidence in INDIA motion” and was aimed at breaking the “omerta” on Manipur.

Participating in the debate of the no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha, Moitra said the Manipur issue is “mired in silence” in the government’s “whataboutery and false equivalences”.

“We are here to ask questions in our ‘tum abhi chup raho republic’ – where the honourable PM (Narendra Modi) tells the governor ‘chup raho’, where we as elected MPs in this House are routinely told ‘chup raho’. This motion is to break omerta, this code of silence in Manipur, the most pressing issue of the day on which we are all supposed to ‘raho chup’,” she said.

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“Even with this motion the Hon’ble prime minister did not come to the House day before yesterday or yesterday…‘Woh thodi na aapki baithkar sunege, woh aakhri din ayenge aur aap sabki dhajjiyan uda ke jayenge’ (He will not listen to you, he will come on the last day and decimate you). Fine, we are waiting, no problem,” she said.

“I don’t know what is more unfortunate that the hon’ble prime minister refuses to come to this House, of which he is an elected member, to answer to us on Manipur or that he refuses to go to Manipur to reassure petrified people that peace and reconciliation are his mission,” she said.

Moitra asserted that this is not just a no-confidence in government motion, but is a “have confidence in INDIA motion”.

“Most no-confidence motions are negative motions moved with the moderate probability of bringing down the government of the day. We know that is not even a possibility, we don’t have the numbers, we know that. Many of our friends in the treasury benches, our allies, as also BJD and YSRCP have mocked us saying you cannot bring down the government, it is doomed to fail,” the MP from Krishnanagar in West Bengal said.

“We as INDIA are perhaps the first bloc that has been forced to bring a motion not to bring down anything but to resurrect something — to resurrect India’s founding principles of equality and secularism which this government has buried six-feet under, to resurrect the right to express ourselves in the democratic framework which you label as high treason, to resurrect the right of a non-homogenous, diverse people to exist within a Union of state which your government insists of dividing in ‘us’ and ‘them’,” Moitra said.

Make no mistake, this motion is not meant to succeed in this House but the larger motion of “have confidence in INDIA motion” will succeed when the people of India have their say soon, she said.

Moitra said the treasury benches have made vitriolic comments about why only Manipur, what about the instances of rape and murder in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal.

“We (opposition) in turn have felt compelled to ask what about the violence in Haryana. I want to tell this House that Manipur is different and I will tell you why. The issue of Manipur is of a hate crime against a particular community where it is understood that the police personnel of one community, possibly the same community as of the chief minister, handed over women of another community to be raped and pillaged by a mob and made every attempt to prevent those women from seeking justice,” she alleged.

The issue is that two communities in Manipur have been pitted against each other in an “atmosphere of civil war and ethnic violence that has rarely been seen in India in the past few decades”.

She listed the impact of the three-month-long violence – “6,500 FIRs, 4,000 houses destroyed, 60,000 people displaced, 150 people dead, 300 places of worship destroyed – and asked “which state outside wartime or natural calamity has seen this”.

“An arms standoff between the Manipur state police and the Assam Rifles, captured on video, which state has seen this; 5,000 firearms and six lakh bullets looted from police stations by mobs which state has seen this, two ethnic groups armed to the teeth, a buffer zone where hill (people) cannot go to the valley and valley (people) cannot go to hill, which state has seen this,” she said.

“Stop your whataboutery, stop your false equivalences, address the problem, Hon’ble Prime Minister,” she said.

There has neither been a change in the police, in the administration, government, nor has anyone taken responsibility, Moitra said, slamming the government’s handling of the Manipur violence.

“Manipur is a tacitly approved hate crime, make no mistake this is civil war, these are crimes against humanity,” she asserted.

In Manipur, the BJP’s “majoritarian bravado” is destroying a state and tearing apart its people, the TMC MP said.

“Hon’ble Prime Minister, if you are listening I beg you on behalf of the people of Manipur, change the administration, allow all the parties to work together to mediate a truce otherwise even after your term ends, India will echo in one voice as to what went so terribly wrong in Manipur with such terrible consequences for our country,” she said.

Moitra claimed that India has lost confidence in the prime minister.

“The spectacle of the Prime Minister of greatest democracy bowing to the religious seers of a majority in the chamber of the new Parliament fills us with shame, police manhandling wrestlers and filing FIRs against champion wrestlers against a BJP accused fills us with shame, 50 panchayats in three districts of BJP-ruled Haryana issuing letters forbidding Muslim traders entering the state fills us with shame,” Moitra said.

She asserted that TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, DMK’s MK Stalin and Congress’ Rahul Gandhi are not scared.

“A 37 per cent vote share party can only prevail if the rest 63 per cent of us are scared, we are not. This time we will take you on and win,” she said.

“I hear the illustrious BJP members praising their own and I quote from the Gita ‘You have the right to labour only and not to the fruits of labour’. Everyone asks if not Modi ji than who. This inaction on Manipur, Prime Minister, where you had absolute power to intervene but did not, is a cornerstone after which India will say anyone but Modi,” she said in her over 10-minute speech.

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