Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh arrived in Manipur on Friday and headed straight to the border town of Moreh to inspect the proposed Integrated Check Post at the Indo-Myanmar border. The construction of the ICP has been on hold since Myanmar claimed that the land on which it is being developed belongs to them. The border fencing of the international border has also been on hold due to a similar border dispute. Speaking to the Indian Express, Singh said, “there are no disputes between the two countries.”
“Myanmar and India share a warm friendship and there are no disputes. As far as the border fencing is concerned the matter will be resolved soon,” he said admitting that he did not meet any of the Burmese officials stationed in the area on Friday.
Singh has also announced that two battalions will be set up for “all those militants in Manipur who want to surrender.” Speaking to BJP workers at the BJP office on Friday, Rajnath Singh said, “I appeal to all the insurgents in Manipur today to leave their path of violence. This is a healthy democracy and there is no place for violence in it. We have just be in power for eight months. Give us five years to work. If you still feel that nothing has been achieved then by all means carry on your agitation. Violence is not the only means by which you can protest. You can engage in agitations, hunger strikes – there are other ways. But give us an opportunity first. But I must warn you that this government will not tolerate any form of violence whatsoever.” He was briefed about the active insurgent camps now based across the border in Myanmar.
“I have come here to review the law and order situation and have met the Chief Minister and other state ministers with regards to this,” he added.
Singh said that the membership in the party and the support for the BJP has been growing in the North East. “I am astounded by the number of people who have turned up today. We have also swept the Assam municipal elections for the first time ever. We hope to form a BJP government in the next assembly elections,” he said. Manipur goes to polls in 2017.
Accompanying him was MOS Home Kiren Rijiju who said that never before had so many union cabinet ministers visited the North East and with such frequency. The Home Minister’s visit follows Nirmala Sitaraman’s visit, she also visited the border town of Moreh.
Rijiju said that the frequent visits to different north eastern states by the BJP ministers was on the directions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has mandated that each Union Minister visit the north east every two months to get a clear picture of the ground reality here.
Health Minister Dr Harshvardhan is to arrive in the state on February 16 on a similar visit.
Meanwhile clashes took place last night between the residents of Moreh and the commandos of the Manipur Police after security had been heightened. The clashes took place near Gate Number 2, the Indo-Myanmar friendship bridge which the commandos were patrolling when some locals threw stones at the commandos. The commandos picked up a youth and took him in custody leading to a strong reaction from the Kuki tribe who came out and started stone pelting the police. The police retaliated with blank rounds and tear gas. No one was hurt in the skirmish. The international market located between the two countries – Namphalong however remained closed.
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