Mizo National Front MP K Vanlalvena’s microphone was switched off in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday when he sought to assert that it was wrong to call “tribal people in Manipur Myanmarese”, The Indian Express reported.
Vanlalvena, the sole Rajya Sabha MP from Mizoram, was responding to a speech by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday in which he referred to migration from Myanmar in the context of the violence in Manipur.
The Mizo National Front is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance.
On Thursday, the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha had demanded a discussion on the situation in Manipur under Rule 167 (discussion on a matter of public interest). However, Rajya Sabha Chairperson and Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar adjourned the proceedings and directed that Vanlalvena’s speech should not go on record.
The Opposition supported the Mizo National Front MP, and some of them went to the Well of the House while shouting slogans.
Vanlalvena had said in the Rajya Sabha: “I am a tribal MP. The Honorable Home Minister said that the tribal people in Manipur are Myanmarese. We are not Myanmarese. We are Indian. We have been living here before the British administration.”
Vanlalvena, however, told The Indian Express that he was opposed to the NDA only with respect to the violence in Manipur. “As far as the no-confidence motion is concerned, the MNF supports this no-confidence motion,” he said. “But let me be clear, we support the no-confidence motion only on the issue of Manipur. Outside of that, we continue to be part of the NDA and continue to support the Centre.”
During a discussion on Manipur on Wednesday, Shah had said that after the 2021 military coup in Myanmar, an organisation named the Kuki Democratic Front had begun to put up a fight against the military leadership. The home minister had claimed that the conflict in Myanmar had led to many Kukis crossing over from Myanmar into Manipur for their safety.
Shah claimed that this influx led to anxieties among the majority Meitei population.
The Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum, however, said it was wrong to blame “helpless and deprived” refugees, The Hindu reported.
The Kuki National Organisation (Burma) also said in a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla that there was no Kuki outfit in the country called the Kuki Democratic Front, contrary to what Shah claimed.
It said that the Kuki National Army (Burma) is the only Kuki organisation fighting the Myanmarese military.