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How a BJP leader’s love affair shut down Manipur capital Imphal for 12 hours

BJP MLA Heikham Dingo Singh allegedly dumped the woman after promising marriage.

india Updated: Jun 14, 2017 10:32 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Imphal/Guwahati
File photo of a temporary roadblock on the outskirts of Imphal in December last year during an ongoing economic blockade in Manipur. (AFP )

In blockade-prone Manipur, even love gone sour can result in a wildcat shutdown.

A part of Thangmeiband, a locality in Manipur capital Imphal, shut down for 12 hours last weekend because a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator allegedly ditched a local woman after promising to marry her.

Heikham Dingo Singh represents Sekmai, an assembly constituency that has lent its name to a local brew. The 38-year-old MLA is a bachelor.

Clubs and women’s organisations of Thangmeiband accused Singh of abandoning the woman after wooing her for seven years. The girl said her marriage with Singh was fixed in 2013 but had to be put off temporarily after a death in her family.

Singh allegedly began seeing less of her as politics became his first love. The girl said he cut her off after becoming an MLA in March.

Last week, a group of women accompanied the girl to Singh’s house in Sekmai, about 20km from Imphal. But their counterparts in Sekmai allegedly shooed them away.

The Thangmeiband locality bandh followed. Local organisations in Sekmai responded by protesting the bid to “tarnish” Singh’s image. Singh could not be contacted.

BJP legislators and state party leaders chose not to comment on a “personal matter blown out of proportion”.

But the girl’s supporters are not in a mood to relent. “We want to bring the two lovers together,” Phuritsabam Bina of Thangmeiband Apunba Meira Paibi, a locality women’s group, told an Imphal-based daily.

Manipur, a militancy-ravaged state, has a history of statewide shutdowns and economic blockades that choke the highways – the state’s lifelines – for months on end.

The Thangmeiband bandh was to have given way to another – a 48-hour Manipur shutdown called by candidates who appeared for a recruitment examination to the state police force last year.

But the candidates called it off after the BJP-led coalition government reminded them of a May 30 cabinet decision that made bandhs illegal and punishable.

Recently, a district in neighbouring Mizoram borrowed Manipur’s idea by imposing a blockade on an arterial highway to protest the government’s decision to transfer the lone surgeon out.

The blockade of National Highway 306 in Kolasib district was imposed on June 6 and lifted five days later after the government, facing a commodities crisis because of the highway blockade, revoked the surgeon’s transfer.

First Published: Jun 13, 2017 16:54 IST