Don’t target elected representatives, Manipur CM appeals to people

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Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh and Minister Awangbow Newmai (at right) addressing a press conference in Imphal on May 26, 2023.

Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh and Minister Awangbow Newmai (at right) addressing a press conference in Imphal on May 26, 2023. | Photo Credit: ANI

GUWAHATI

Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh on May 26 implored the people not to target anyone, including elected representatives. 

His appeal followed two incidents of mob fury against lawmakers in the strife-torn State.  In the first on Wednesday, a mob vandalised the house of State PWD Minister Konthoujam Govindas in Bishnupur district in protest against the government’s alleged failure to protect people from suspected extremists belonging to the Kuki community. 

On Thursday night, another mob in the State’s capital Imphal tried to storm the house of Union Minister of State for External Affairs R.K. Ranjan Singh. The attack was thwarted by security personnel deployed at his residence. 

“I appeal to all not to do any kind of violence on the elected members or anybody anywhere. We, the MLAs, are elected by the people. We are for the people. It is our commitment to do what people want,” the Chief Minister said. 

He requested the people to come to him or any of his colleagues for anything. “We are here 24x7 for people to share their grievances,” he said. 

The Chief Minister said the gravity of the situation in Manipur made Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai and BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra reach Imphal on Thursday.  “They are meeting various civil society organisations in order to bring peace and normalcy,” he added. 

‘Return firearms’

He said the issues in Manipur were very complicated and could be settled only through constitutional provisions and discussions. “We must not let any division crop up in these difficult times,” he said, appealing to those who looted firearms from the police to return them. 

The Chief Minister warned the arms snatchers that paramilitary forces and police commandos would soon launch a combing operation to retrieve the weapons.  Altogether 1,041 weapons and 7,460 live cartridges were looted by miscreants from a Manipur police armoury after violence broke out on May 3. The security forces managed to recover 214 of these weapons and 4,273 bullets. 

Some 34,000 personnel of the Army and paramilitary forces have been deployed in Manipur since the intervening night of May 3 and 4. The personnel are concentrating on 38 vulnerable locations in areas separating the Imphal Valley from the hills around, the Chief Minister said.

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