IMPHAL/KOLKATA, 25 May: The house of Manipur PWD Minister Konthoujam Govindas in Bishnupur district was vandalised on Wednesday by a group of people claiming that the government in the strife-torn state is not doing enough to protect locals from militants belonging to another community, officials said.
The minister, who is a BJP leader and his family members, however, were not present at the house when the mob, comprising mostly women, attacked the house in Ningthoukhong area and damaged a portion of a gate, windows, a few furniture and electronic gadgets.
This is the first time that a minister’s house was attacked during the ongoing ethnic violence between Meitei and Kuki community people in the state that started three weeks ago and claimed more than 70 lives. The Army and paramilitary forces have been deployed to control the situation in the state.
“The locals were angry. They alleged that Chief Minister N Biren Singh, Govindas and other BJP MLAs have been silent over the ongoing violence and not doing enough to protect them from armed militants,” an official said.
There were reports that militants on late Tuesday night torched the houses of some villagers in Toronglaobi in Bishnupur district. The authorities had then reduced the curfew relaxation hours, officials said.
Meanwhile, Eastern Army Commander, Lt Gen RP Kalita, undertook a three-day visit to strife-torn Manipur till Wednesday to assess and review the ground security situation, a defence official said in Kolkata.
The GOC-in-C of the eastern Army command held meetings with local stakeholders, including members of all communities and several civil society organisations, the official said.
In his meetings with the stakeholders, the eastern Army commander advised “suspension of hostilities by all sections of society.”
During the visit from 22 to 24 May, Lt Gen Kalita visited Kangpokpi, Matripukhri, Churachandpur, Bishnupur, Yaingangpokpi and Moreh, where he was updated on the security situation by local commanders.
He also held interactions with Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh and senior government officials to discuss the ongoing situation and measures to boost unison among all agencies for setting in normalcy as early as possible, he said.
Kalita urged the people of Manipur to maintain tranquillity and harmony and to carry out constructive dialogue to ensure lasting peace in the region.
The Army has recovered five shotguns, five improvised local grenades and three cartons of shotgun ammunition from a car in Senapati district.
“Three persons were apprehended and handed over to the police along with the recovered items,” the force said on Wednesday.
One killed in fresh violence
One person was killed and another injured in a fresh violence between suspected militants and a group of people in an area bordering Bishnupur and Churachandpur districts, the police said on Thursday.
Toijam Chandramoni (30) was shot dead during the violence on Wednesday, and Leichombam Abungnao (22) was injured when suspected militants opened fire at a group of people, mostly comprising those who were displaced during the recent ethnic clashes in Churachandpur and took shelter in a relief camp in Moirang in Bishnupur, a police officer said.
Following the torching of houses in Toronglaobi, “the villagers and those living in the Moirang camp were angry. As these people came to know that militants could torch a school located in an area near Thamnapokpi in Bishnupur and Kanganthei in Churachandpur, they went to the locality.
“Once, they reached the spot, militants opened fire at them, leaving two persons injured. One of the two succumbed to his injuries when he was taken to a hospital,” the senior police officer said.
Following the violence, the authorities clamped curfew for 24 hours in the area and reduced the curfew relaxation hours in several other districts. (PTI)