Insurgency issue in Manipur can be solved, says Rahul Gandhi, wants focus to be on talks

Written by PTI | Guwahati | Updated: Feb 26 2014, 23:56pm hrs
Evading a direct reply on withdrawal of AFSPA from Manipur, Rahul Gandhi today said that the insurgency problem there like in Assam could be solved through discussions, devolution of power and love.

"I am inspired by Mahatma Gandhi that any conflict can be resolved through discussions, love and peace. So that is my answer," Congress Vice-PresidentGandhi said,sidestepping a specific response on being asked if the Armed Forces Special Powers Act(AFSPA) would be withdrawn from Manipur where it has been held responsible for stirring up social disharmonies affecting women and students.

"I am really confident that the problem in Manipur like the problem in Assam can be resolved and will be resolved soon," he said during an interaction with students at the Don Bosco University here.

"You cannot solve problems without discussing them and by using force against these people. They must have the power to do what they want to chart out their own destiny and fulfil their dreams. So more power to the youngsters and the people," he said.

"I think a lot of the conflicts that take place in our country occurred because we have not given enough power to the people. If you came to Assam 20 years ago Assam was very much in conflict. The conflict has disappeared over the last 20 years," he said.

"How did this conflict go away Because they actually included people in discussion. We embraced people, brought people in and discussed with them what their problems are," Gandhi said.

"There are two competing ideas when it comes to governance. One idea says governance should be done in a centralised manner by one person. Another idea says that governance should be done by giving as much power to the people as possible," he said.

On ethnic groups in Assam demanding separate autonomous councils threatening to divide the state, Gandhi said, "There are fights when questions are not answered.

"If talks are held answers are received. Even if not acceptable, one feels that at least my question has been responded to," he said.