Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh, under fire over his handling of ethnic violence in the state for almost two months, was on the verge of resigning today but changed his mind under public pressure, a senior minister claimed. Biren Singh started out for the Governor’s House but turned around after a huge show of support outside his Imphal residence, the minister said.
Hundreds of women gathered near Mr Singh’s residence and formed a human chain, saying that they do not want him to resign. A copy of his resignation letter was torn up when two ministers came out of his residence with it.
Meanwhile, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, who is also in the northeastern state on a two-day visit, will meet ‘like-minded’ party leaders, United Naga Council (UNC) leaders, and members of civil society organisations in his Imphal hotel today, Manipur Congress president Keisham Meghachandra was quoted by news agency ANI as saying.
When asked about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence on Manipur by reporters, Rahul Gandhi said that he would not comment on political issues here
“I have not come here to make any political comment. I will not comment here on these issues. I only want peace to return here at the earliest,” he said.
Mr Gandhi said that he was left heartbroken when he met with people affected due to violence in Manipur.
In his latest Instagram post, the former Congress MP said, “It’s heartbreaking to see and listen to the plight of those who have lost loved ones and homes due to the violence in Manipur. There is a cry for help in the face of every brother, sister and child I meet.”
Appealing for peace in the conflict-hit state, Rahul Gandhi added, “The most important thing Manipur needs now is Peace – to secure the lives and livelihoods of our people. All our efforts must unite towards that goal.”
Three people, including a police constable, were killed in Manipur in the last two days after fresh violence erupted in the state.
The Indian Army had reported a clash in the tense Kangpokpi district of Manipur saying that armed rioters opened fire in the village of Haraothel. In response, the army said, it mobilised troops stationed nearby to prevent the situation from escalating.
According to an army statement, “unconfirmed reports” indicated some casualties after the clash including Head Constable Lenglam Dimngel who was shot dead when the armed mob attacked.
According to the Manipur Police, 17 arms, 12 ammunition and 10 bombs were recovered from various parts of the state over the last 24 hours. On Wednesday, eight arms, two ammunitions and two bombs were recovered from Kakching district by the joint team.