Union Minister Kiren Rijiju rushed to Manipur on Friday to deal with the situation in the aftermath of the over 50-day economic blockade in the state. His visit followed the state government’s accusation that the Centre was dragging its feet on resolving the impasse with the United Naga Council (UNC) that has led to the situation.
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Rijiju accused the Congress-led state government of politicising the issue ahead of the state polls due in February. He said the Centre will ensure that the blockade is lifted soon.
“From today, the state government can’t escape from its responsibility. Nobody will be allowed to add to the sufferings of the people. The central government too is not shying away from its responsibility,” he said.
Rijiju accused the state government of mishandling the situation. “In a letter that Home Minister Rajnath Singh wrote to the CM of Manipur yesterday, he very clearly said that the state has not been able to contain the situation.’’
Rijiju cited India’s federal system while responding to CM Okram Ibobi Singh’s accusation of inaction. “For the past 52 days, the Government of India has been monitoring the situation in Manipur,’’ he said. “…India has a federal structure and that the law and order subject is under the purview of the state entirely. We have a democratically elected government in Manipur, which completely holds within its power to resolve the crisis…’’
Rijiju said the Centre was there for the state if it needs assistance. “There is not one instance where a state has asked us for assistance and it has not been provided.’’ He insisted that he had not come here with any political agenda. “I have only rushed here to ensure that the blockade is lifted immediately and the situation is remedied,’’ he said. “Whatever the political differences are, the people of the state must not suffer.’’
Rijiju said the state has requested for more forces. “We will be sending seven companies of paramilitary forces as soon as possible.’’ He said Manipur has adequate forces to control the crisis. “There are 184 companies already here which carry out border patrolling as well as look after internal security. If the state wants them to intervene, it needs to direct these forces.’’
He promised action if there were violations of the ceasefire with insurgent group NSCN-IM.