Rahul Gandhi visits strife-torn Manipur, listens to people's problems

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on June 29 visited strife-torn Manipur and tried to hear the grievances of the people who were battered by the continous violence in the state.

Gandhi’s visit to the state grabbed attention nationwide as the state police tried to stop his entourage during the day.

A large number of people on June 29 stormed the district police headquarters of Bishnupur district in Manipur after Gandhi’s tour to relief camps in Bishnupur and Churachandpur districts was foiled by the district police on June 29.

Gandhi arrived in Imphal from New Delhi by a flight on a two-day visit to violence-hit Manipur to meet people displaced by the violence and leaders of civil society groups.

From Imphal airport where he landed, Gandhi along with Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president K Meghachandra and former chief minister O Ibobi Singh, and other leaders, proceeded along Tidim (Imphal-Churachandpur) road to visit relief camps.

However, his convoy was stopped by the police at Bishnupur district headquarters “from a security point of view”. In a bid to halt the convoy from further proceeding, the police blocked the road by parking their bullet proof vehicles.

As told by superintendent of police (SP), Heisnam Balram of Bishnupur district, they stopped the convoy of Rahul Gandhi considering the volatile ground situation.

Gandhi was advised to fly by a chopper to Churachandpur if he desired, the SP said.

He said that there is a high possibility of attack on Gandhi and his entourage while travelling on the highway and the police are concerned about his protection and safety.

While the people were engaging in heated exchange of words with the police, residents of the district headquarters and adjoining localities converged and demanded the police to allow Gandhi to proceed further.

Amid the tension, the police resorted to firing several rounds of tear gas shells and mock bombs to scare away the irate people.

One of the personnel of the Manipur Rifles escorting the convoy of Rahul Gandhi sustained injuries in the police action.

Strongly reacting to the police action, senior Manipur Congress leader and former chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh said that earlier, the police had given them the option to travel to Churachandpur either by road or helicopter, and they had chosen the road route.

He said if the government earlier denied the tour by road then they would have chosen to go by a helicopter.

MPCC president K Meghachandra alleged that chief minister N Biren Singh had ordered the police to halt Rahul Gandhi’s convoy as he could not tolerate the warm welcome extended by the people to the visiting AICC leader.

After returning from Bishnupur, Rahul Gandhi took a helicopter to continue his tour. He landed at Churachandpur district headquarters by a helicopter in the afternoon.

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