European Parliament Passes Resolution on Manipur Crisis on Eve of Modi Visit; Karnataka Budget Sticks Price Tags On Poll Guarantees
Pak blasphemy laws turned on minorities, sharp rise in attacks on Christians in 2023, India backs UN resolution moved by Pakistan, with Anil Ambani bankrupt, what of his role in the Rafale deal?
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Snapshot of the day
July 13, 2023
PM Modi’s foreign travels are no longer unqualified triumphs, though the air is thick with talk of carrier-borne Rafale-Ms, Scorpene submarines and jet engines for combat aircraft. His state visit to Washington was met with frank unease in many quarters in the US, especially in the diaspora. On the eve of his visit to France, where he will be chief guest at Bastille Day tomorrow, there was similar discomfort about his arm’s-length relationship with liberté, égalité, fraternité (Christophe Jaffrelot explained the details in an interview). And it got worse: on July 13, the European Parliament passed a resolution on the situation in Manipur in its ongoing plenary session that called on Indian authorities to take “all necessary” measures to stop the violence in Manipur and protect religious minorities, especially Christians.
Watch the discussion:
India’s Ministry of External Affairs yesterday told the European parliamentarians where they got off, because the matter is “totally and absolutely internal to India”, reports Vrinda Gopinath. They didn’t get off. German Christian Democrat Sven Simon led the discussion with a statement which framed the Meitei-Kuki social conflict as the oppression of Christians. “We wouldn’t want to point fingers at anyone from here,” he said, or tell the Modi government its constitutional duty “to maintain religious freedoms also for Christians in Manipur [but] … persecutions of Christians are real, and it is our duty to make sure that they stop.”
Back home, PM Modi is not the hriday samrat in Manipur, either. A peace meeting in Imphal West involving hundreds of people from various communities proposed the establishment of a violence-free zone, reports the Imphal Free Press. It also raised concerns about Paris-bound PM Modi’s failure to visit Manipur in over two months of violence, and gave him a deadline of 10 days to do so. If he misses it, Modi will no longer be regarded as PM by the people of Manipur. “Failure to meet this stipulated timeframe would be considered tantamount to inciting violence, similar to Aung San Suu Kyi’s actions against the Rohingyas in Burma,” the meeting resolved.
Yesterday, to show solidarity with the suffering of the Zo tribe in Manipur, protesters in Mizoram burned effigies of PM Narendra Modi and Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh, along with that of the alleged killer of David Thiek, during a protest organised by the Zo Reunification Organisation (ZORO) at Aizawl. The organisation had organised a rally in the last week of May, in which they passed several resolutions including measures to be taken for the reunification of ethnic Zo tribes to bring them under one administration through peaceful means. Rini Ralte, secretary of the Zo Reunification Organisation Refugee, told EastMojo: “We are coming together to express our anger towards the central government for their silence.”
In a public statement, Amnesty International says it is “alarmed” at the ethnic violence in Manipur and questions the “ability of the Indian authorities to protect human rights in the region.” It asked the government to work with civil society groups and all ethnic groups to restore peace. The statement includes victims’ testimonies and highlights India’s commitments to international law. It says that the “Manipur state government issued a ‘shoot at sight’ order to all district magistrates in the state ‘in extreme cases after all forms of persuasion, warning and reasonable force have been exhausted’ and the ‘situation could not be controlled’… Under international law and standards, law enforcement officials may only resort to such force when strictly unavoidable to protect against imminent threat of death or serious injury, which the order failed to clearly lay out, effectively permitting the deliberate and arbitrary killing of individuals who do not pose such a threat.”
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Thirty-one Manipur MLAs have asked Union Home Minister Amit Shah to replace 9 Assam Rifles, 22 Assam Rifles and 37 Assam Rifles with other central forces that are more inclined to promote unity in the state. Security authorities said that claims linking Myanmar nationals to the present violence in Manipur were false.
Agricultural activities have reportedly started in some vulnerable areas of Imphal East district, under the security cover of the Manipur Police and central forces, Imphal Free Press reports. However, several people have protested against the deployment of central forces in farming areas, said another report.
In the aftermath of the Quran-burning incident in Sweden that sparked widespread condemnation, India backed a resolution adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on countering religious hatred constituting incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence. The resolution was presented by Pakistan. The 28-12 vote, with seven abstentions, was backed by many developing countries in Africa, as well as China and India, and Middle Eastern countries. Pakistan Ambassador Khalil Hashmi insisted the measure “does not seek to curtail the right to free speech,” but tries to strike a “prudent balance” between it and “special duties and responsibilities”. India said that its tolerance is based on its “civilizational ethos”, with guarantees inscribed in the Constitution. “India’s civilizational emphasis on Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, that is ‘the World is one family’, provides the basis for the elimination of all kinds of religious hatred, discrimination and intolerance directed against followers of all religions. It is high time that all member States join hands to build a culture of equal respect for all religions and their peaceful coexistence,” said the Indian representative.
Anil Ambani had declared himself to be bankrupt in court in the UK. (Indeed, his companies are on sale and a couple of days ago, Gautam Adani expressed an interest in buying his coal-fired power plants.) Anil Ambani’s company was the offset partner in the Rafale deal forged by PM Modi with the Macron government in France. Now, the PM is again en route to Paris and further deals are foretold, including the naval version of the Rafale. Where does the terminally broke Anil Ambani leave the Rafale deals, asks BBC Hindi.
Lifelong writer in exile and perhaps the most influential literary figure whom the Nobel Prize Committee overlooked, Milan Kundera has died aged 94. He will be remembered for his weighty work, like in The Unbearable Lightness of Being, which won him a global readership. But equally, in an era of doing geopolitics in deadly earnest, he appreciated that humour is essential to being human.