Congress MLAs in Manipur revolt against home minister

Imphal, Feb 28 (IANS) At least 20 MLAs of the ruling Congress party in Manipur have taken up cudgels casting aspersions against the dubious role of Home Minister Gaikhangam in suspending five police commandos to appease the Naga Students’ Federation.

“We held an emergency meeting at my residence on Saturday night. We resolved to urge Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh to take up appropriate actions against Gaikhangam,” N. Biren, an MLA, said on Sunday.

“We are demanding a special meeting of the Congress Legislature Party on Monday to discuss the issue,” the MLA added.

The angry MLAs were in agreement on the growing suspicion that Gaikhangam has a hidden agenda in the U-turn he took in this issue.

The five police commandos who were on duty on February 14 at Mantri Pukhri near Imphal had flagged down the vehicles bringing the NSF delegates for the seed sowing festival in Ukhrul district.

The commandos were charged with harassing and snatching the mobile handsets of the delegates. Making a statement in the assembly, Gaikhangam said: “If the NSF delegates had extended cooperation nothing would have happened. They refused to get down from the vehicles. There was no beating or detention.”

Demanding action against police, the NSF imposed ban on the movement of the vehicles owned by the non-tribal Manipuris in the “Naga inhabited areas” from February 23.

Police in Senapati district of Manipur have drawn flaks since they did nothing when the NSF activists came to the district to take law in their own hands.

The 20 Congress MLAs, the All Manipur Students’ Union, other students’ organisations and civil societies have orchestrated their demand to make an explanation as to why the police commandos were suspended on February 25 despite the home minister’s statement that no excesses were committed.

Khomdram Ratan, convener in charge of Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System said: “It is a shameful surreder to the NSF by the Manipur government. The NSF delegates had come to assist the Nagaland Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang who had spewed venom among the different communities here on the occasion of the festival.

Since Saturday night, Ibobi has been fire fighting in a bid to control the 20 MLAs.

Sources said that there is no much success since these MLAs are happy with the accolades they are getting from all sections of people.

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