The European Parliament has called on India to make the “utmost effort” to promptly halt ongoing ethnic and religious violence in its northeastern state of Manipur.
Calling on all sides to exercise restraint and urging political leaders to cease making inflammatory statements, re-establish trust and play an impartial role in mediating the tensions, the EU legislative body passed a resolution on Thursday which also denounced “any nationalistic rhetoric” and called on the central government to repeal the “unlawful Armed Forces Special Powers Act,” which grants security forces immunity from judicial proceedings.
It also called on the EU and its member states “to systematically and publicly raise human rights concerns with India at the highest level, particularly regarding freedom of expression and religion and the shrinking space for civil society.”
New Delhi has objected to the resolution.
Violence broke out in the state in May following a court ruling that directed the state government to submit recommendations for the inclusion of the Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribe category, which enraged the state’s tribal population.
The Meitei people are the predominant ethnic group of Manipur and are mostly Hindu.
Over 140 people have died in the ethnic violence since May 3, while thousands have been displaced in the state.
The EU resolution also called on the authorities to allow independent investigations into the violence, to tackle impunity, and to end an internet shutdown.
Reacting to the resolution, India’s Foreign Ministry said such “interference” in India’s internal affairs is “unacceptable” and “reflects a colonial mindset.”
“Indian authorities at all levels, including the judiciary, are seized of the situation in Manipur and are taking steps to maintain peace and harmony and law and order,” said External Affairs Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi.
“The European Parliament would be well advised to utilize its time more productively on its internal issues,” he added.