A day after attack on Union minister's home in Manipur, BJP office vandalised | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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A day after attack on Union minister's home in Manipur, BJP office vandalised; Clashes continue

By, Guwahati
Jun 18, 2023 04:52 AM IST

Vandals targeted BJP offices in Singjamei and Thongju, also in Imphal East. While the attempt in Singmajei was foiled, there was damage to BJP’s Thongju office.

Two more people were injured in clashes between security forces and miscreants in Imphal late on Friday night, with attacks on the residences of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders and party offices, as the Manipur administration struggled to put a lid on the ethnic violence that has roiled the state for well over a month. The attacks came a day after an irate mob set fire to the Imphal residence of Union minister of state for external affairs RK Ranjan Singh, the second time it was attacked in less than a month.

Tyres set on fire by miscreants in Imphal East district, Manipur, on Friday night. (PTI)
Tyres set on fire by miscreants in Imphal East district, Manipur, on Friday night. (PTI)

Also Read | Manipur violence: Assaulted, houses torched - how politicians are targeted amid ethnic clashes

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Senior police officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that mobs in Imphal tried to attack the residence of Manipur BJP president A Sharda Devi in Porompat, but were repelled by personnel of the army, paramilitary forces and Rapid Action Force. Vandals targeted the BJP offices in Singjamei and Thongju, also in Imphal East. While the attempt in Singmajei was foiled, there was damage to the BJP’s Thongju office.

Also Read | ‘Urgent attention’: Ex-Indian Army chief on retired officer's ‘like in Syria’ tweet over Manipur

“There was also an attempt to loot arms from the Iringbam police station in Imphal West on Friday night that was also prevented by security forces. In all of these incidents, two people have been injured in Imphal,” a senior police officer said.

On Friday, Union minister RK Ranjan Singh, shocked by the arson in his home, had admitted to a “total failure of law and order in Manipur”.

“The existing (state) government hasn’t been able to maintain peace despite the central government sending a lot of protection,” Ranjan said. In the violence on Thursday night, two protesters and one Rapid Action Force personnel were injured.

Also Read | As violence spirals in Manipur, Congress jabs BJP: ‘Obvious that Modi is not…’

Meanwhile, a sedition case has been registered against a state politician for writing an opinion piece in an Imphal-based newspaper accusing the Assam Rifles of being responsible for the present crisis.The case against Jagat Thoudam, an adviser to a political outfit called Indigenous Peoples Front of Manipur (IPFM), on charges of sedition and promoting enmity between different groups was lodged on June 12 in Imphal West district by Inspector General, Assam Rifles (South).

From the beginning of May, Manipur has been in the throes of ethnic clashes, triggered by an order by the Manipur high court that had recommended to the government that the Meiteis, the dominant community in Manipur with 53% of the population, be included in the scheduled tribe list. This caused protests among the tribal population, particularly the Kukis, and tensions led to clashes that were first concentrated in Meitei dominated Imphal Valley and districts in the hills like Churachandpur that have a heavy tribal population, but soon spread across the state.

In three violent days between May 3 and 6, there was a wave of attacks and arson with people fleeing from their homes, and the army called in to control the situation. Since then, however, in a sign of the simmering tension within, sporadic violence has continued, with 115 dead, over 310 injured, and over 40,000 displaced from their homes.

A feature of the violence that has besieged the state, symbolic of the complete breakdown of law and order, is a series of attacks on the homes of politicians. On Wednesday, the official residence of Nemcha Kipgen, a cabinet minister in the N Biren Singh government in Manipur was burned down by unidentified miscreants. Kipgen, the BJP MLA from Kangpokpi, is the industry minister of the state and the only woman in the Manipur cabinet.

On May 4, BJP MLA Vungzagin Valte was injured in an attack by a mob in Imphal, and is currently undergoing treatment in Delhi. On May 24, BJP MLA and cabinet minister Govindas Konthoujam’s house was vandalised by a mob in Imphal and a day later another mob tried to attack the residence of another state minister, T Biswajit Singh, in Imphal.

On May 28, miscreants vandalised the home of BJP MLA K Raghumani Singh in Lamphel in Imphal West and on June 9, two motorcycle-borne youths hurled a grenade on the residence of BJP MLA Soraisam Kebi.

Separately, the Manipur government is planning to resume normal classes for all schools in the state from June 21, L Nandakumar Singh, director, state government’s department of education (schools), said on Saturday.

“Normal classes for all the schools in the state will resume from the June 21,2023. In this regard, all Zonal Education Officers under the department of education — Schools, Manipur are hereby directed to take up necessary actions accordingly,” said an order issued by the department.

Schools were shut on May 4 in view of the law and order situation in the state, and summer vacations were announced from May 4 to May 30 by the state’s education minister Thounaojam Basantakumar Singh. The government then extended the break till June 19.

Manipur has around 1,110 schools, according to the Board of Secondary Education, Manipur. Of these, the central armed police personnel have occupied around 100 schools, officials said.

Meanwhile, leaders of 10 like-minded political parties — Congress, JD(U), CPI, CPI(M), Trinamool Congress, AAP, All India Forward Bloc, Shiv Sena (UBT), NCP and Revolutionary Socialist Party — held a joint press conference in Delhi, and said that they were waiting for an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi since the last week.

Congress MLA and former assembly speaker Th Lokeshwar, who represents Khundrakpam assembly, said, “We are still hopeful that (PM) he will meet us before his visit abroad.” Prime Minister Modi is scheduled to leave for an official visit to the US on June 21. He will later travel to Egypt.

“The violence in the state of Manipur shows no signs of stopping. Innocent people are being killed, essential commodities are unavailable, and there is no internet, resulting in widespread suffering. We, leaders of 10 like-minded political parties, have arrived in Delhi to secure an appointment with PM Modi, BUT he appears unconcerned about the issues plaguing Manipur,” the Congress’s Manipur unit president Meghachandra K said.

There were no reactions from the BJP on the latest incidents of violence.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Utpal is a Senior Assistant Editor based in Guwahati. He covers seven states of North-East India and heads the editorial team for the region. He was previously based in Kathmandu, Dehradun and Delhi with Hindustan Times.

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