People gather in Imphal violating curfew, demand early solution to Manipur crisis

Imphal, May 26 : Violating curfew, thousands of people attempted to assemble in front of the residence of Minister of State for External Affairs and Education Rajkumar Ranjan Singh in Imphal but the security forces prevented them from doing so, officials said on Friday. Police said that a mob, comprising men and women, demanding early solution of the ethnic conflict between Meitei and Kuki communities, tried to gather in front of the residence of Singh on Thursday night but police prevented them from doing so. The Minister of State -- who earlier in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that Kuki leaders, including their 10 MLAs, have demanded a separate political administration (equivalent to separate state) for the tribals under tremendous pressure from various quarters including the militants -- on Friday left Imphal for New Delhi. Demanding continuance of the deployment of Army and Paramilitary forces in Manipur until restoration of peace and complete normalcy, the MoS had said that the trust deficit is at its nadir. Security was beefed up around the residences of Ministers, MLAs, MPs and BJP leaders in Manipur. The people, who assembled on Thursday night in Imphal, shouted slogans against the Ministers and BJP leaders and questioned the silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi when over 70 people were killed, over 300 injured, 1,700 houses burnt after the ethnic violence began on May 3. "Central Ministers, BJP leaders came frequently prior to last year's assembly elections. But they are now least concerned about the ongoing ethnic crisis in Manipur," an elderly woman told mediapersons. Earlier on Wednesday, the house of Manipur PWD, Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Konthoujam Govindas in Bishnupur district was vandalised by mob. However, the minister and his family members were not present at the house when around 100 agitated people, mostly women, ransacked the house in Ningthoukhong Bazar area of Bishnupur district and damaged the gate, windows, a few furniture, electronic gadgets and vehicles parked at his residence. The mob claimed: "The state government has not yet taken sufficient and appropriate steps to protect locals from armed militants belonging to another community." Meanwhile, curfew was relaxed for a few hours on Friday in most parts of the state to enable people to procure essentials and to perform urgent works. Internet remained suspended since May 3. Over 4,000 people were still in various relief camps in different districts. /IANS


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