After his envoy was stopped by police today while travelling to Manipur’s district Churachandpur, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi returned to the state’s capital, Imphal.
Earlier today, Rahul Gandhi arrived in Imphal and was travelling to Churachandpur, where he intended to meet individuals who had been displaced by the ethnic fighting at relief camps.
Since the ethnic conflict began in May of this year, over 300 relief camps are now home to almost 50,000 people throughout the state.
According to the police, a security issue caused Rahul Gandhi’s convoy to be stopped at Bishnupur, 20 kilometers from Imphal. The Congress leader has been advised by officials to take a helicopter to Churachandpur rather than drive there.
A police official said, they had a fear of repetition of similar events and hence, as a precaution, they have advised the convoy to wait at Bishnupur.
After a Tribal Solidarity March which was organised all over the hill districts on May 3 to oppose the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status, fighting broke out in Manipur.
Tension over the displacement of Kuki villagers from reserve forest land had caused a number of smaller agitations before to the violence in Manipur.
Conflicts between the Meiteis, who reside in and around Imphal Valley, the state capital, and the Kuki tribe, who have taken up residence in the hills, have claimed the lives of over 100 people.
Meanwhile, the All Manipur Students Union released a statement ahead of Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Manipur criticising the state’s previous governments. The union claimed the Congress had a significant role to play in the current sectarian situation in Manipur, which was brought on by political blunders made by the state’s previous governments. Four Gram Panchayats and one Zila Parishad constituency, which were a part of the Imphal West district, were eliminated by the Congress party from the Manipur Panchayati Raj system in 2012 and given to the Kangopi district’s autonomous district council, the statement said.
Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Manipur was questioned by some BJP supporters as he is no longer an MP, and BJP’s Amit Malviya questioned why Rahul Gandhi never went to Manipur between 2015 and 2017 when there was ethnic unrest.
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