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Manipur CM escapes life attempt

UKHRUL: Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh on Monday escaped unhurt when suspected militants opened gunfire moments after the entourage took off by helicopter at the Ukhrul helipad.

Manipur’s deputy chief minister and in-charge of Home, Gaikhangam informed this to media persons at a press conference held in Imphal Monday evening.

Amidst boycott and total shutdown in Ukhrul and surrounding areas under the aegis of Tangkhul Naga Long-- apex body of the Tangkhul community, Ibobi and his entourage landed at the helipad at around 9.30 a.m. The CM had several programmes lined up at Hunphung village and at Chingai village in Ukhrul district. Ibobi was to travel to Hunphung to inaugurate the 100 bedded Ukhrul district hospital besides a power sub-station, sources said.

However, due to stiff protest the CM and his entourage was unable to move out of the helipad. Civil Society organisations put-up a road blockade along the three km route to Hunphung from the helipad, the sources said.

Though there was enough security personnel, Gaikhangam said security forces were directed not to retaliate, to avoid large scale casualty of innocent civilians in the arera. A jawan of the 6th Manipur Rifles was injured in the firing. Protestors also torched two vehicles, a Gypsy and one Tata Sumo, belonging to the state police, parked near the helipad to escort the chief minister. Both the vehicles were completely damaged, even as the fire-tenders rushed to douse the fire.

Ibobi had no option but to cancel all the programmes and flew back to the state capital where he called an emergency cabinet meeting, the source said.

Earlier, a jawan of the Indian Reserve Battalion sustained splinter injuries in a bomb attack by suspected militants on the newly constructed hospital in the wee hours today before its scheduled inauguration, police said.

Two blasts occurred at the hospital, either from a lethod gun or rocket launcher, the official said. At remote Chingai village, Singh was scheduled to inaugurate a power sub-station, a BDO office and a bank building.

Though no insurgent groups have claimed responsibility for the attack, Manipur’s deputy chief minister and in-charge of Home, Gaikhangam vehemently condemned the incident and pointed fingers at NSCN (I-M) for carrying out the attack.

Despite strong protest, not to let the CM’s entourage enter Ukhrul, Gaikhangam told mediapersons that the entourage got the clearance from the GOC 57 Mountain division. “It is an attack to the state, the nation and its people not to the chief minister and his entourage,” Gaikhangam said.

“State government takes the incident seriously and will take the matter to the government of India,” he said, while reminding that the NSCN (I-M) was engaged in peace talk with the Centre.

“It has been now very clear that some forces are behind the screen to stall government’s efforts to bring balance development in hills and valley,” he said.

“It is the sabotage of development and welfare initiative of the government. Let the people judge whether they will go with the non-democratic forces hindering development in hills,” he added.

Meanwhile, Union minister for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER,) Dr Jitendra Singh, who is in the state capital on a two-day visit, condemned the attack.

Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president TN Haokip while condemning the incident said it was unfortunate that government’s developmental initiatives were being sabotaged. 

NPCC condemns

DIMAPUR, OCT 24 (NPN): Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) has condemned the alleged bid made on the life of Manipur chief minister, O Ibobi Singh, on October 24, 2016, who was being also accompanied by the deputy chief minister, Gaikhangam Gangmei.

In a press release, NPCC president, K Therie, said the Congress believes that whatever differences may be there could be solved through dialogue, adding that taking a life would only multiply the problems and would not solve any issue. “Surely, no one can rest in peace by taking another’s life,” Therie said. NPCC president maintained that the Ceasefire should be complete and not partial. “When we don’t have Ceasefire with our own people, there is no meaning in having Ceasefire,” he said, adding every citizen should abide by total Ceasefire.

Meanwhile, NPCC has thanked the Almighty God for providentially saving both O. Ibobi Singh and Gaikhangam Gangmei from the unseen perils.

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