ANI Photo | Rahul Gandhi to take chopper after convoy stopped by police in Manipur

Rahul Gandhi who landed in Imphal earlier on Thursday was forced to make his way back to the State capital a short while later after local police prevented his carcade from proceeding to Churachandpur, where the Congress leader was headed to meet with victims of ethnic violence.
“Seeing the ground situation, we stopped him (Rahul Gandhi) from moving forward and advised him to travel to Churachandpur via helicopter. There is the possibility of a grenade attack along the highway through which VIP Rahul Gandhi is moving. Keeping his security and safety in mind, we’ve not allowed him,” Bishnupur Superintendent of Police (SP) Heisnam Balram Singh told ANI
Gandhi is now returning to Imphal airport, from there he will go to his pre-fixed program by helicopter, a Congress party source said.
The Congress leader’s convoy was stopped at a checkpost near Bishnupur, which is about 20 kilometres from Imphal.
Police, party workers and locals staged a protest and later, police used tear gas to disperse the crowd.
“Seeing the ongoing situation in the State, we have stopped the VIPs from proceeding. They can go to places wherever they want by helicopter. If the police actions have been taken otherwise, it is not our problem,” a police official said.
K Meghachandra, Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee President has accused the Manipur government of “politicising” Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the state.
“People are standing on the roads to welcome Rahul Gandhi but Bishnupur SP, ASP, ADM and other police officials are blocking the roads. I have heard that there were instructions given by Manipur CM to block the roads. They are politicising this. They are only saying that the law and order situation is not good and are not allowing us to move ahead,” Meghachandra said.
Also, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) Incharge North East, Ajoy Kumar said that the police had given permission to Rahul Gandhi to travel by road too.
The government action is “totally unacceptable and shatters all constitutional and democratic norms,” Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said.
Kharge took to Twitter to say, “Gandhi’s convoy in Manipur has been stopped by the police near Bishnupur. He is going there to meet the people suffering in relief camps and to provide a healing touch in the strife-torn state. PM Modi has not bothered to break his silence on Manipur. He has left the state to fend for itself.”
“Now, his double-engine disastrous governments are using autocratic methods to stall a compassionate outreach by Rahul Gandhi. This is totally unacceptable and shatters all constitutional and democratic norms. Manipur needs peace, not confrontation,” Kharge said.
Gandhi who had landed in Imphal earlier today for a two-day visit was on his way to Churachandpur where he planned to meet people, displaced by the recent clashes, at the relief camps.
Earlier, Congress General Secretary K C Venugopal while speaking to ANI said that the police said that they are not in a “position” to allow the leaders to head forward.
“Rahul Gandhi’s convoy has been stopped by police near Bishnupur. Police say that they are not in a position to allow us. People are standing on both sides of the road to wave to Rahul Gandhi. We are not able to understand why they stopped us” Venugopal told ANI.
Venugopal had said that during his stay, Rahul Gandhi will engage with civil society representatives and visit relief camps in Imphal and Churachandpur, two of the worst affected places in the State due to violence.

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