Days after US Ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti’s remarks “You don’t have to be an Indian to care when children or individuals die in this sort of violence…we stand ready to assist in any way if asked. We know it’s an Indian matter and we pray for that peace and that it may come quickly,” now European Union Parliament has also come forward on the issue.
As Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is heading to France, the EU parliament adopted a motion in respect to Manipur violence denouncing in the hardest words the ‘nationalistic rhetoric’ deployed by the leading members of the BJP.
The debate on the ethnic clashes in Manipur was included in the Parliament’s agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law during its ongoing plenary session in Strasbourg, France. The “motion for a European Parliament resolution on India, the situation in Manipur” has called for the European Union to “place human rights and democratic values at the heart of it’s engagement with India”. EU Parliament in its resolution also said that it “denounces in the strongest terms nationalistic rhetoric deployed by leading members of the Bhartiya Janata Party”
The Indian government in response to this resolution has said that it is India’s internal matter. The EU parliament responded to this saying, “minorities, civil society, human rights defenders and journalists regularly face harassment; whereas women in particular face severe challenges and violations of their rights often related to tribal and religious backgrounds, including sexual violence and harassment”
The resolution pointed out that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights had appealed to India to safeguard the rights of human rights defenders, raising concerns over shrinking space for civil society and said that the UN High Commissioner had even taken note of the accusations by human rights organisations against the BJP of “divisive ethnonationalistic policies.”
“Whereas violence in India’s Manipur state has erupted along ethnic and religious lines between the mainly Hindu Meitei community and the Christian Kuki tribe, leading to a cycle of violence with over 100 people killed, over 40,000 displaced and the destruction of property and places of worship. Whereas Manipur has previously faced secessionist insurgencies in which serious human rights abuses were committed. Whereas, in the latest round of violence human rights groups have accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led government in Manipur and nationally of implementing divisive ethnonationalistic policies which oppress in particular religious minorities,” the resolution also said.
The EU parliament called on India “to allow unhindered humanitarian aid to those effected, and for independent monitors to carry out investigations’, for political leaders to cease inflammatory statements in order to re-establish trust and play an impartial role to mediate the tensions and the initiation of mediation efforts by both the Centre as well as the state government” and also called for withdrawal of the controversial AFSPA Act.