Days after the Manipur crisis failed to find a place in the President’s address to Parliament, newly elected Inner Manipur MP A Bimol Akoijam late Monday came all guns blazing against the BJP-led NDA government for “ignoring” the strife-torn state.

“Is this silence communicating to the people of the Northeast and particularly Manipur that you do not matter in the Indian State’s scheme of things?” Akoijam said, addressing the Lok Sabha around midnight, after a day marked by disruptions over Leader of the Opposition Rahul Gandhi’s speech.

Drawing the members’ attention to the absence of the Manipur crisis in President Droupadi Murmu’s address to Parliament on June 27, the Inner Manipur MP said: “This is not a simple absence. It is a reminder of theRashtra Chetana (national consciousness)’ which excludes people. You must realize that more than 60,000 people are languishing in relief camps in wretched conditions for the last one year… 60,000 people homeless is not a joke. Over 200 people have died. There has been a civil war-like situation where people, armed to the teeth, are roaming around and fighting each other, defending their villages and the Indian State is a mute spectator to this tragedy for one year.”

Akoijam also said he was “amazed” at being allotted a slot close to midnight for his address, when there was hardly anyone present in the House, including from the Congress ranks.

Reminding that “every square centimeter of the state is covered by Central forces”, Akoijam questioned how 60,000 people had been rendered homeless and thousands of villages destroyed despite this. “Yet our Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) remains mute. Not even a word. The Presidential address did not mention that (crisis). It is a reminder of what many scholars have said: there is a continuity between the colonial and post-colonial period,” he said.

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Referring to renowned political psychologist Ashis Nandy, Akoijam said colonialism is “a state of mind, it is a psychological phenomenon”. “Today, we are observing a day where we implement new criminal laws, seemingly to discard colonial heritage… This continuity (of colonialism) is shown by neglecting the tragedy of a state which is the 19th state of the Union,” he said.

Slamming the BJP’s nationalism, the MP said it was “sad to see a nationalist party like the BJP being comfortable with the silence on Manipur’s tragedy”. “Keep your hands on your heart and think about the homeless, the mothers and the widows. Think of them and then talk about nationalism,” he said.

“The hurt, the anger has thrown a nobody like me to be part of this temple of democracy, beating the BJP cabinet minister. Think about the pain… I will keep quiet the moment the Prime Minister opens his mouth and the nationalist party says that Manipur is a part of India and we care for the people of that state,” said Akoijam, wrapping up his speech.

A professor at JNU, Akoijam made his political debut in the recent Lok Sabha polls, defeating BJP state minister Th Basanta Singh. On multiple occasions since the Manipur violence began, enraged mobs have attacked and torched BJP leaders’ homes to express their discontent over the government’s handling of the situation, including attacks on the Imphal home of Akoijam’s predecessor, former BJP Inner Manipur MP Rajkumar Ranjan Singh.

The Congress won both the Lok Sabha seats from the state this time, with the BJP facing criticism from all quarters for the unending violence. Recently, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat termed the crisis in the state a pressing issue and called for a dialogue on it. Last week, a group of NDA MPs were in Delhi to press the central leadership for a resolution on the issue. Sources said several MLAs expressed dissatisfaction with the handling of the crisis, and conveyed the pressure they were feeling from the public.

During his speech in the Lok Sabha Monday, Rahul Gandhi accused the Center of pushing Manipur into “a civil war”, with its politics and policies. “For the Prime Minister, there is no state of Manipur. We urged him to give a message, to go there. But no, you cannot get a reply (from the Prime Minister),” he said.

The Ethnic violence in Manipur between the state’s Meitei and Kuki-Zo communities began 14 months ago, and so far over 221 people have lost their lives and over a thousand have been injured. Prime Minister Modi has been criticized for not visiting the state so far, even during the elections.